Nov 14

Misstep: “42nd Street”

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by HARRY WARREN
Lyrics by AL DUBIN
Book by MICHAEL STEWART & MARK BRAMBLE
Based on the Novel by BRADFORD ROPES
Original Direction and Dances by GOWER CHAMPION

October 31st – November 12th, 2017
North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) In the mood for regressive theater that features outstanding tap dancing? If you can stomach a musical with a thin plot that celebrates a time when there was no such thing as sexual harassment, then 42nd Street: The Musical is your show! You will have to try hard to find a script that is as nostalgic for the pre-Harvey Weinstein show business era as this one. It’s a revival of a revival of a 1980 play based on a 1933 movie which was designed to help people remember a time before the Great Depression. Continue reading

Nov 08

The Writing Is On The Wall: “New and Dangerous Ideas”

Sarah Leach, Phoenyx Williams, and Christopher Johnson in the world premiere of “New and Dangerous Ideas” by Christopher Johnson at The Wilbury Theatre Group. Photo by James Lastowski.

Presented by Wilbury Theatre Group
Written by Christopher Johnson
Directed by Josh Short

November 2nd through 18th, 2017
Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Ct
Providence, Rhode Island  02909
WTG on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Providence, Rhode Island)  Lately I’ve been listening to JAY’s most recent album 4:44 when I’m driving, and one of my favorite tracks is “Smile,” partly because of the following lyric:  A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson / Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin’.  JAY’s album – released in response to Beyoncé’s Lemonade – is a reflection of the current state of Black American manhood, and right now you can hear that same lyric echoed by Black men throughout all the creative spheres.  The two men starring in New and Dangerous Ideas were certainly grappling with the lessons that we all can learn from the losses of rampant racism. Continue reading

Nov 07

We Want More of “OUT’hood FEST!”

Presented by The Theater Offensive
Performers: Eddie Maisonet, Erin Ebony, Danny Harris Sr., Cheyenne Harvey, and J.D. Stokely

October 30, 2017
Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley Street, Boston, MA 02119
Roxbury, Massachusetts

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Roxbury, MA) OUT’hood FEST is a festival designed to by and for the voices and works of local LGBTQ POC. The night I attended was specifically a “taster” of this talent, the culmination of The Theater Offensive’s pilot program, the OUT’hood Residency. This program supports the creation of artwork by, for, and/or about LGBTQ people of color who are local to Boston. If what I saw this year was any indication, this festival will invigorate some of the most versatile artists of the Boston community. Storytellers Eddie Maisonet, Erin Ebony, Danny Harris Sr., Cheyenne Harvey, and J.D. Stokely certainly shined, and I look forward to finding more of their work. Continue reading

Nov 06

It Starts in the Home: “3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show”

Wesley T. Jones, Vienna Carroll, Michael Bryan; Photo credits: David Marshall

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Conceived and written by James Scruggs
Directed by Mark Rayment

Nov. 3-11, 2017
Nicholas Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show reclaims appropriated Black culture so to spit racism into the faces of oppressors. It’s beautiful and horrifying. Potential audience members please be aware that 3/Fifths’ contains nudity, graphic violence, and the unvarnished, unadulterated truth of what it is to be a Black man in America. Gunshots and police video are used because violence is our legacy and our future. 3/Fifths’ is a mirror showing us who we already are. Continue reading

Nov 03

Art within Cultural Context: “Kiss”

Kiss presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Guillermo Calderón
Directed by David Dower

October 26 – November 19, 2017
Emerson Paramount Center՚s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Holly Goss

(Boston, MA) Kiss is a play within a play that tells the story of a zealous young theatre group՚s gross misinterpretation of a Syrian play called Kiss. These naive and fresh-faced actors, come up against a nasty dose of realism when they learn what Kiss really means. However the play falls apart when the cast try to diligently apply their new knowledge, to re-perform this seemingly simple love story and reveal the true horror of the war lurking underneath. This second performance falls flat and fails to deliver the big twist the audience anticipate. Kiss tackles a breadth of themes, the war in Syria, the importance of cultural context, the purpose of art. However, the writing is ultimately overly ambitious and is unable to get to the heart of these important questions. Continue reading

Oct 30

“Robyn is Happy” Deals in Devastating Discomfort

The Hub Theatre Company of Boston presents “Robyn is Happy” through Nov. 11 at the First Church Boston. PHOTO COURTESY HUB THEATRE OF BOSTON

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Michael Elyanow
Directed by Kelly Smith

October 27 – November 11th
First Church Boston
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Company of Boston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

 (Boston, MA) Robyn (the confident, hilarious Amie Lytle) has been acting unpredictably since her divorce, alienating her friends of twenty-seven years, the neurotic Trudy (warmly portrayed by Lauren Elias) and sensible Hannah (Christine Dickinson, who delivers a powerful performance). Their friendship is tested as each character redraws their personal boundaries. The actresses hand in fantastic performances, but Robyn is Happy shifts from human melodrama to whacky unreality without pumping the breaks. My problem is largely with finding in what level reality the story is set. Continue reading

Oct 30

“GoreFest XV” and Its Demons

Presented by ImprovBoston
Book by Nate Lopez
Lyrics and score by Jake Cassman
Directed by Nate Lopez
Produced by Josh Garneau

October 19 – 31, 2017
ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street
Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02140
ImprovBoston on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, Massachusetts)  The cast of the horror show Gorefest XV: Horror House stars clichés such as Rich Guy, Girl Next Door, Mom Girl, Devil Girl, Overachiever Girl, Gay Guy, and Laura Dern.  They were hilariously accurate stereotypes, even Laura Dern as Laura Dern.  For example, Overachiever Girl became sulky when she placed second in a contest.  And Laura Dern screamed “Take this Academy,” as she stabbed herself with a trophy, falling to a fake death, on a stage smothered in puddles of fake blood.   Continue reading

Oct 30

Moby Dick, Disassembled in [or, the whale]

Photo courtesy of imaginary beasts’ Facebook page.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by Juli Crocket
Directed by Matthew Woods
Musical Composition by Kangaroo Rat Music (Anna Bell & Tim Desrosiers)
Movement Coaching by Molly Kimmerling and Amy Meyer

October 14-November 4, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
[or, the whale] on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “No one remembers an Ahab with two legs,” SHE (Raya Malcolm) tells the third member of the Ahab chorus, Danny Mourino, before sweeping him through a door that exudes a blue, haunting light. This disassembled retelling of Moby Dick is similarly haunting, stylish, and similarly full of light, specifically light slapstick, cheerful music, and a cast of tumblers on a colorful, creepy set complete with giant whale ribs. It’s delightful and strange, and I would expect nothing less from imaginary beasts. Continue reading

Oct 25

“The Werewolf”: Supernatural Melodrama is Split Open to Reveal Howling Good Time

Photo credit: Sara Haugland; a werewolf, extra fluffy.

Presented by WholeTone Opera 
Based on Le Loup-Garou by Louise Bertin
Fresh Libretto by Teri Kowiak & J. Deschene
New Music by Molly Preston

October 20—31st
The Rockwell in Davis Sq, Somerville
255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
The Werewolf on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Davis Square, Somerville, MA) The Werewolf fooled me. Genuinely fooled me. I don’t know if that was its intention, but it did. It begins wholly in the realm of operatic convention. Alice (Jeila Irdmusa/Katie O’Reilly) wanders through the dark woods, possibly beset by something terrible. She meets her sisters, played by Nathalie Andrade, Elizabeth Clutts, Brooke Dircks, and Rebecca Wright, and they frolic. Then she encounters a handsome young man (played fantastically by Andy Troska through out the play) and they, well, also frolic, though in a much more suggestive way. Then we jump forward to Alice and her sisters preparing for her wedding, where Bertrand (Nick Stevens) reveals a werewolf (or loup-garou) is on the loose and the charming, flamboyant Vincent (Von Bringhurst/Nora Maynard) is referred to as a man of “unusual tastes,” everyone starts kissing each other, and the ethereal aura of the beginning collapses into a riotous comedy of errors with supernatural elements and a prominent queer subplot. Continue reading

Oct 24

Malicious Intent to Thrill: CIRQUE OF THE DEAD

Presented by Boston Circus Guild
Directed by Creature aka Karin Webb

October 26 – October 31, 2017
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Cirque of the Dead on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

CONTENT WARNING: Gory, sexy, bloody, violent, and meant to thrill.

(Cambridge, MA) Local comedian and artist Wes Hazzard is the MC and game master for an evening of aerial stunts and scantily clad performances. In between explicit clips from horror films and faux murders, Hazzard charms the audience with jokes and 1990’s references. He, and the ska-rythums of the fantastic Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, grounds the twisted, dark menagerie in charisma. Continue reading