Sep 11

Too Much of a Good Thing is Just Wonderful: Why Have One Thing “Or,” the Other When You Can Have It All?

Photo by Chelsea Ruscio.

Presented by Maiden Phoenix and Simple Machine
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Adrienne Boris
September 8 – September 23, 2017

Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnismmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
OR the play on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) I sometimes think going to a play is a bit like going to a party where you know nobody at all, save for the person you bring with you. Sometimes, the party can leave you feeling adrift and awkward in your own skin. Other times, you meet some funny, clever people you never expected to meet. They are delighted to include you, for an hour or so (or an eighty minute run time without intermission), in the intimate secrets of their lives and draw you close with the honesty only complete strangers would dare to share with you. The sweet, hilarious, and deliciously bawdy “Or,” is such a party. I recommend attending as soon as possible in order to enjoy the yarn spun between Kaylyn Bancroft (Nell Gwynne/Lady Davenant/Maria/A Jailer), Michael Poignand (as slimily charming King Charles II and charmingly slimy William Scott, divided by a common language with different annunciation) and Anna Waldron (Aphra Behn). Continue reading

Nov 15

As The Screw Turns: Simple Machine’s “Turn of the Screw”

Photo Credit: Kyler Taustin Photography


Presented by Simple Machine
By Jeffrey Hatcher; Adapted from the novella by Henry James

November 8-23, 2013
The Taylor House Bed and Breakfast
50 Burroughs St. Boston MA 02130

The Gibson House Museum
137 Beacon St. Boston MA
Simple Machine on Facebook

Good News! The run has been extended.
Saturday, November 23 at 4:30 PM, The Taylor House Bed & Breakfast
Sunday, November 24 at 7:30 PM, The Gibson House Museum

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) Alright, so, here’s my deal: I wouldn’t say that Henry James is my nemesis mostly because I’m not ready to commit to him that deeply (a nemesis/hero relationship is, after all, a long, complex, and fraught one with ups, downs, and side-plots).  But I will say this: Henry James is at least on the super team of literary villains who have plagued my academic career. Continue reading

Apr 01

rogerandtom: Pardon My Fourth Wall


Stephen Radochia and Anna Waldron, Photo by Diane Libby.

rogerandtom by Julien Schwab, Simple Machine Theatre, Davis Square Theatre, 3/30/12-4/7/12, (one spoiler–marked)

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Somerville, MA) Julien Schwab takes the idea of a play within a play to a new level.  Exploring drama and its tools, rogerandtom pulls, tears, twists, and turns its melodramatic plot cleverly until its end. Continue reading

Jan 25

FEN: In Between Living and Breathing

Fen by Caryl Churchill, Whistler in the Dark, The Factory Theatre, 1/20/12-2/4/12, (in repertory with A Number by Caryl Churchill),

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) A lone girl sits amongst the dirt and potatoes of this agrarian society trying to chase away birds until she can try no more.  Striving for more than mere existence in a world controlled by tradition and an inflexible economy often seems futile in the Fenland.  Whistler In The Dark compels the audience to exist and hope with the characters for something more.

As the women in the play sing various choruses to songs, one is struck by the pure beauty in these women in this desolate place.  One also struggles with the evisceration of these women as they give their lives and their souls to the land.  With the assistance of Danny Bryck and an enormous amount of concentration, the actors speak with the flawless dialect of the British countryside.  Each cast member plays multiple characters in this dark landscape.  The main plot revolves around Val (Aimee Rose Ranger) who is trapped between her obligation to take care of her children and a desire for a better life in London with her lover.  She takes no solace in the vices of the other local folk such as valium, religion, dreams, or masochism as she is constantly pulled in both directions.  The one direction that she would want to go in, to London and a new life seems millions of miles away.

Continue reading