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

Dec 10

Identities on a Spectrum: “Winter People”

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky; there wasn’t a cast photo available. Mondragon was left out of the reel altogether. Strange.  

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
By Laura Neill
Directed by Avital Shira
Fight choreography by Jessica Scout Malone
Dramaturgy by Cayenne Douglass and Jordyn Stoessel

December 6-16, 2018
BPT
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Winter People and playwright Laura Neill aren’t taking any of your establishment bullshit. This play challenges how we view play production. It takes great risk with even greater success. It is well written and should be viewed by as many developing and established artists as possible. It breaks rules and shows us why these traditional rules are should be broken. Continue reading

Dec 07

An Inalienable Right for Some: “1776”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Photography

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Co-directed by Austin Pendleton and Kelli Edwards
Music direction by Todd C. Gordon
Choreography by Kelli Edwards

Nov. 30 – Dec. 30, 2018
Mainstage Theater
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: systemic racism, sexism, bracingly tight pleather pants

(Watertown, MA) 1776 is a quirky, innuendo-laced musical about Boston’s part in the US’s bid for independence. New Rep gives us a fun production that is more timely than it is educational. This musical might be based on historical facts but this production brings new momentum to current events. Continue reading

Dec 04

“Twelfth Night” Thrums with Life

L to R: Sarah Gazdowicz (OIivia), Charlotte Kinder (Viola); Photo Credit: Sharman Altshuler

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat

Nov 25 – Dec 29, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Moonbox Productions on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) There are productions of Shakespeare that are focused on reciting the text rather than acting it out. I understand the temptation. Maybe it’s the rhythm, maybe it’s the Bard’s reputation as, well, THE BARD, but sometimes theater groups seem to engage with Shakespeare’s comedy as a text to worship rather than a story to tell, even with a comedy like Twelfth Night. I’m happy to say Moonbox Production not only engages with the high emotions, cartoonish confusion, and whacky consequences of the comical cross-dressing romance but celebrates the story and its jokes with delight. Continue reading

Dec 03

Castaway Caught in Colonialist Fantasy in “Shipwrecked!”

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by Donald Margulies
Original music composed and performed by Dan Rodriguez and the repertory cast
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat

Nov 25 – Dec 29
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Moonbox Productions on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Halfway through Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, when Louis de Rougemont (Kevin Cirone)–a real person who claimed to have been stranded in the Pacific in his 1899 serial-turned-book–lives on an unspecified island in a carefree existence with an unspecified, idealized indigenous people who variously refer to him as “chief” or “god,” I thought I’d be writing a very different review. But the lively depiction of a “man-eating octopus” and “flying wombats” early in the show should have tipped me off. This is a narrative that pokes holes in itself, a comedy-drama, a man using a survivor’s unlikely colonialist narrative to build his self-worth, and a story about the stories we tell ourselves to feel better. Continue reading

Dec 01

Salty Peanuts: “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage”

Image found via Facebook

Presented by Boch Center Schubert Theatre
Story by Charles M. Schultz
Music by Vince Guaraldi
Adapted by Eric Schaeffer

Dec. 1-2, 2018
265 Tremont, Boston, MA 02116
CB on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) The CBS television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which premiered in 1965, has long been a holiday favorite of mine. Before I understood its sophisticate themes or even its dialogue, the adorable cartoons, slow jazz, and children’s voices were instinctively and irresistibly soothing. Decades later, Charlie Brown’s dark horse demeanor and romantic ideals still hold up as a paragon of optimism in a world that makes it so easy become disenchanted and give up our hopes and dreams.

Continue reading