Jan 28

A Nourishing Treat: “Slow Food”

Joel Van Liew, Brian Beacock, Daina Griffith. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Wendy MacLeod
Directed by Sean Daniels

January 9 – February 3, 2018
50 E Merrimack St, Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) You know a play hooks you when you start to get uncomfortable from the opening moment. As the lights go up in Slow Food,, we see two diners, Peter and Irene (Joel Van Liew and Daina Michelle Griffith) looking wane in a Greek restaurant as they begrudgingly sip glasses of water and wait. By the time the waiter, Stephen (Brian Beacock), appears, it is hard not to hate him. Continue reading

Jan 28

ImprovBoston Presents: KEVIN MCDONALD, Sketch Writing Classes on Feb. 2 & 3, 2019

Sketch Writing w/Kevin McDonald:
SAT, Feb. 2, 10AM-6PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

The Sketch Writing Workshop gives you the chance to put your work in the hands of sketch comedy royalty. In addition to gaining firsthand knowledge of how Kevin approaches writing sketches, you’ll get the opportunity to gain some personal and direct feedback from Kevin on a sketch that you’ll create…from a single premise! Bring with you a premise for a sketch, such as: ” A person with toasters for hands” or “A person who is $10 short of being a millionaire” and Kevin will guide you in turning that idea into a fully formed sketch.  Whether you’re a brand new sketch writer or a seasoned pro, this is the perfect workshop for anyone looking to gain experience in writing sketch comedy!  

Sketch Thru Improv: The Kids in the Hall Method w/Kevin McDonald 
SUN, Feb. 3, 10AM-5:30PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

In this one day intensive workshop, Kevin McDonald takes you through the journey of how the Kids in the Hall would create sketches by using improvisation. After Kevin shares his views and experience on how to create comedy sketches, he will lead the students to discover comedic premises through improv games and scenes. Those scenes will then be replayed and dissected, eventually becoming a fully written, original sketch! This is a fantastic class for anyone looking to gain insight into how to turn your brilliant improv scenes into something more than one and done!   Continue reading

Jan 28

Here’s Your Coffee Ma’am: “Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow”

True love with dog. Photo by Alex Sandberg.

Presented by imaginary beasts & Charlestown Working Theater
Written by The Ensemble
Story conceived by Matthew Woods
Directed by Matthew Woods

Jan. 19 – Feb. 10, 2019
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill St
Charlestown, MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Charlestown, MA) Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow is about best friends and the lengths we go to love them. imaginary beasts treats us with another homegrown panto in the English tradition but with an American fringe flourish. Special effects are minimal but the appeal is high. The plot may wander but the panto’s generosity of spirit more than makes up for the meandering. Continue reading

Jan 24

“Heartland,” where the ache lies.

L-R: Shawn K. Jain as Nazrullah and Ken Baltin as Harold; Photography by Christopher McKenzie.

A national new play network rolling world premier
Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Written by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 12—February 9, 2019
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) Powerfully written and gorgeously staged, New Rep’s production of Heartland is a true masterpiece. Gabriel Jason Dean deftly transforms his experiences of person tragedy into a poignant and profound meditation of the American body politic, particularly our interventionalist foreign policies in the Middle East. Continue reading

Jan 21

Excuses Are Not Explanations:”Haroun and the Sea of Stories”

Photo by Clive Grainger.

Presented by Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Composed by Charles Wuorinen
Libretto by James Fenton
Conducted and stage direction by Gil Rose, Artistic Director

January 19, 2019
Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory
Boston, MA
BMOP on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories is based on Iranian author Salman Rushdie’s magical realism novel of the same title. This cast has an awful lot of white people in it for an allegorical opera set in the subcontinent of imaginary India. What an opera set in India about fictional Indians and their nonhuman, non-colonizer friends demands is actual Indians. Asian erasure is unacceptable in an art form bursting at the seams with underpaid, overeager POC* artists. Such casting means that disappointed POC audience members leave at intermission just like the lovely couple next to me quietly did on Saturday night. Opera is killing itself by failing to include the very people it seeks to serve with such casting decisions.    Continue reading

Jan 14

Living is Dirty Business: “Miss You Like Hell”

Krystal Hernandez and Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda – Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by Company One Theatre and American Repertory Theatre
Book & lyrics by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Music & lyrics by Erin McKeown
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Music direction by David Coleman
Movement direction by Mayra Hernandez
Dramaturgy by Noe Montez

Jan. 10 – 27, 2019
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
C1 on Facebook
A.R.T. on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Miss You Like Hell is a very special show that approaches the indigenous, female experience from an approachable angle. It is easy to enjoy this production (more so than its individual parts). It’s main characters are expressed as trustworthy humans who are deserving of our compassion because they need it, not because they’ve earned it. Audiences from all backgrounds should see this production. We need free-flowing compassion more than ever. Continue reading

Jan 08

Awkwardness is Part of the Process: “Small Mouth Sounds”

All photos by Nile Scott Studios. The cast. Digesting.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Bess Wohl
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 4 – Feb. 2, 2019
Boston Center for the Arts
The Calderwood Pavilion Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

This critique has been updated from its previous posting. The update includes corrections and clarifications. (1/31/19 KD)

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: penis, simulated pot smoking, heavy moaning

It’s January and chances are that you (or your acquaintances) are experiencing an influx of athletic practitioners in your studio of choice. For example, at my own neighborhood ashtanga yoga studio, January 1 meant that the floor became overwhelmed with novices and their wholesome, divot-free mats. Small Mouth Sounds(SMS) captures that awkward group consciousness of baby-yogis talking first “did I make a huge mistake?” steps towards enlightenment. An enlightened mind is not obtained overnight. The journey is schadenfreude for the audience. Continue reading

Jan 02

“Two Mile Hollow,” Or White People, We Need to Talk About Colorism

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Written by Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Dec 21, 2018 – Jan 20, 2019
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Chelsea, MA) Thanksgiving day. Generic WASP family, The Donnelly’s, converges on Two Mile Hollow, a family beach house. Younger son, Joshua, and daughter, Mary, are expecting drama with mother Blythe, but none are expecting older son Christopher to bring his “assistant,” Charlotte, especially not an “assistant”…OF COLOR. On this stormy night, secrets are spilled, social hierarchies are upended, and only one may leave with their self-esteem unscathed. Continue reading

Dec 27

Geeks Read Books: TCG Selections, December 2018

Book reviews by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY/Somerville, MA) On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review newly published plays. Miss You Like Hell is a musical about an mother/daughter road trip. Mary Jane is a loving insight into compassionate primary caregivers. Uncle Vanya is a piece of classic dramatic literature that places the significance of the #metoo movement within an historical context.  Continue reading

Dec 10

Ethos of Old World fables: “A Story Beyond”

Presented by Liars & Believers
Written by Jason Slavick and Rachel Wiese
Music and Lyrics by Nathan Leigh
Directed by Jason Slavick and Faye Dupras

Dec 6 – Dec 22, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Liars & Believers on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu 

(Boston, MA) A Story Beyond is a reimagined fable inspired by various European folklores. This new musical tells the story of a young girl, Maya, who makes a dangerous and fantastical journey to figure out how to save her village from a dark cloud that threatens to turn everyone she loves into lead. Maya’s story is told through puppets, shadow puppets, mask theatre, and a two-person band. Other folk tales are interwoven with the main plot like a Spokane. Continue reading