Oct 21

Rage Against the Love Machine: ROMEO AND JULIET

http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/sites/default/files/gallery/Stratton_McCrady_201310010235.jpg?download=1

Stratton McCrady Photography 2013

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Co-directed by Bobbie Steinbach and Allyn Burrows

October 2nd – November 3rd, 2013
The Strand Theatre
Dorchester (Boston), MA
Actor’s Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) We are so insane for love that we co-opt works of art that vilify love and turn them into romantic propaganda.  It happens with every generation.  I grew up with The Police song “Every Breath You Take” as the best love song of 1983, even though it was clearly about a stalker

Romeo and Juliet has become a stand-in for romance, so much so that Bugs Bunny and Pepe LePew could do the balcony scene and 4-year-olds would get the joke.  But while any college freshman with a dye job can enjoy the irony that this iconically romantic story could easily be considered a black comedy, few theatre companies can stage “R + J” productions that can cut through the “Will U Be Mine” ethos we smear on the play. Continue reading

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Jun 22

A Shrieking Mess: BLACK COMEDY

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress?

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress? – Kitty

presented by Happy Medium Theatre
by Peter Shaffer
Co-Directed by Lizette M. Morris and Michael Underhill

@ The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 14th – June 22nd, 2013
Happy Medium Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) There is the top, there is going over the top and then there is trampling on the top and spitting on its grave. You have to hand it to the talented Happy Medium cast that performs Black Comedy; they commit to an outrageously loud and brash style that infuses a punk sensibility to a tired and silly British farce. Each actor delivers their lines with such gusto that it’s like being in a room with a guitarist who cranks the amp up to 11. Unfortunately, this loud performance quickly grates, and it’s impossible to emotionally invest in the offensive, obnoxious and one-dimensional characters. The unfunny end product may waste the energetic performances by some talented actors, but at least there’s no danger of falling asleep. Continue reading

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Sep 24

Redemption in the Motherf**cker with the Hat

Photo Credit: SpeakEasy Stage Company

by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by David R. Gammons

presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
539 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
SpeakEasy Stage Company Facebook Page
September 14 – October 13, 2012

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Speakeasy Stage’s The Motherf**ker with the Hat is a dark comedy that never quite tips over into bleak. Its main characters are addicts, recovering and otherwise, but they either have a sense of humor about it or have learned to accept their shortcomings. Fresh out of jail, Jackie (Jaime Carrillo) tries to break the tight circuit of repeating behaviors that has him locked into a pattern of loving, drinking, and messing up. Continue reading

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Aug 13

The Pillowman Offers Dark, Bitter Comedy and Meditation on Art

Flat Earth Theatre Presents The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh

Photo Credit: Flat Earth Theatre

The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

August 10, 11 2012 @ 8PM
Sunday, August 12, 2012 @ 2PM
Thursday, August 16, 2012 @ 8PM – Pay-What-You-Can
Friday, August 17, 18 2012 @ 8PM
Flat Earth Theatre Company               The Pillowman Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

Under a totalitarian government, writer Katurian (Cameron Beaty Gosselin) and his brother, Michal (Chris Chiampa) are unfortunate enough to be arrested by the corrupt police force of their unnamed country. Exactly why they have been taken into the custody of Detective Tuoplski (Juliet Bowler) and the violent Officer Ariel (James Bocock) is teased out minute by painful minute. In this bitter tragicomedy, playwright Martin McDonagh asks tough questions about the responsibility of art and crime. Continue reading

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Apr 02

Smudge: Parental Nightmare Thinly Disguised with Sci-Fi

Alison Meirowitz and Mr. Limbs, photo credit Apollinaire Theatre Company

Smudge by Rachel Axler, Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, 3/23/12-4/21/12, http://www.apollinairetheatre.com/productions/productions.html, in repertory with Cut by Crystal Skillman.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Chelsea, MA) New parents Colby (Allison Meirowitz) and Nick (Chris LaVoie) find themselves with a newborn of monstrous description.  Multi-colored feeding tubes pour upward out of her bassinet and occasional beeps indicate a life support system, but said child is never seen.  We’re only told she has one eye and a body that narrows to a single limb.  Characters imply the baby may not even be human, but regardless of what she is, the newborn certainly isn’t what was expected. Continue reading

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Mar 15

The Play About The Baby – Or Is It?

Lynn R. Guerra (Girl), Janelle Mills (Woman), Bob Mussett (Man), Zachary Eisenstat (Boy). Photo Credit: Alison Naturale

The Play About The Baby by Edward Albee, Exquisite Corps Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 3/7/12-3/31/12, http://www.exquisitecorps.org/.  Contains nudity.

(Boston, MA) Innocence and responsibility intertwine with reality and absurdity in Exquisite Corps Theatre’s production of The Play About The Baby.  A young couple, known only as boy and girl, explore their relationship as they bring new life into the world.  Through wicked twists and turns the couple spend their time trying to be intimate while they are constantly interrupted, first by the baby and then by a man and woman who act as a cross between social anthropologists and time-share sales people (although no time-shares were sold in the making of this play). Continue reading

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Jan 14

GOD OF CARNAGE: All Hail The Glorious Executioners!

Johanna Day, Brooks Ashmanskas, Stephen Bogardus, and Christy Pusz in Yasmina Reza’s GOD OF CARNAGE. January 5 – February 6 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, Huntington Theatre Company, 1/6/12-2/5/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10226&src=t.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Yasmina Reza grabs the audience by the jugular and does not let go for an hour and a half.   The evening at the Novak’s house in God of Carnage could easily have a voice-over that says “when people stop being polite… and start getting real.”  However, unlike The Real World, Yasmina Reza brings a much more believable situation to its drama than any tv reality show.  By taking a situation that anyone can relate to and heightening it to the absurd degree, God of Carnage holds a mirror up to our inner demons and leaves us laughing through the pain.  Under the direction of Daniel Goldstein, with a talented cast, and a cleverly constructed set, Huntington Theatre Company’s production of God of Carnage is a “must-see” show of the season.

Continue reading

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May 18

Poe’s Existentialism by Gaslight

(L To R) Resident acting company members Brian McEleney and and Phyllis Kay with Brown/Trinity Rep MFA ’12 actor Charlie Thurston as Young Edgar Poe.in the world premiere of Stephen Thorne’s The Completely Fictional – Utterly True – Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Set Design by Susan Zeeman Rogers, Costume Design by William Lane and Lighting Design by Keith Parham. Photo by Mark Turek.

The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe by Stephen Thorne, Trinity Repertory Company, Dowling Theater, 5/6/11-6/11/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ST.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Something delightfully macabre is happening at Trinity Rep.  Even Edgar Allan Poe is beside himself–literally.  Stephen Thorne spins an atmospheric tale that combines true facts, speculation, and gothic fiction in his new play The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Trinity Rep’s world premiere entices the senses, questions reality, questions meaning, and ushers in a new form of ghost story.

Thorne’s play begins with Edgar Allan Poe in the hospital–unsure of how he got there but the attendants tell him he is dying.  Poe explores his own demise and tries to find meaning through the senses.  In the first act, he denies that he is dying and tries to discover Continue reading

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Apr 26

The House of Blue Leaves Taunts Us One More Time

The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare, Walter Kerr Theatre, 4/4/11-7/23/11.  http://www.houseofblueleaves.com/flash.php?version=standard.   Contains stage violence, including an explosion.

Ben Stiller as Artie, Edie Falco as Bananas, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Bunny. Photo by Joan Marcus

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Like Jay Gatsby, the characters of The House of the Blue Leaves long for love and notoriety.  But also like Jay Gatsby, their shallow dreams are based upon delusions.  David Cromer’s revival uncovers all the darkness and pain hidden in the recesses of a middle class home into the light of day with laughter and cruelty.

Scott Pask’s institution-like set provides the perfect environment for an evening of madness.  But who mad?  The housewife who feels that she is nothing more than the humiliating joke of celebrity?  The zookeeper who dreams of becoming a successful movie songwriter?  Or perhaps it’s the nuns? Continue reading

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Mar 09

reasons to be pretty–Do these jeans make my butt look fat?

Greg (Andy Macdonald) confronts Carly (Danielle Muehlen) who is responsible for his break-up in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Neil LaBute’s Broadway hit reasons to be pretty, Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute, Speakeasy Stage Company, 3/4/11-4/2/11.  http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=reasons Contains mature language.

Reviewed Becca Kidwell

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  When we get out of high school, we hope the teasing will stop; however, we find new forms of teasing in fashion magazines, tv shows, and hanging out with friends.  Have we become too sensitive?  No.  But where do we draw the line?  How do we stop feeling put down by the world and begin feeling secure in ourselves?  Speakeasy Stage Company’s production of reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute makes us examine these questions through their dynamic production.

Anyone who knows about LaBute should not be too surprised by the tirade of expletives that open the play.  They will not be too surprised that the cause is Steph, played by Angie Jepson, who hears that her boyfriend Greg, played by Andy McDonald, has described her face as “regular”.  While it is an extreme reaction, we understand that it is akin to any answer to the question “do my jeans make my butt look fat?”  Andy McDonald plays a calm, normal guy who dodges the verbal missiles on all sides, but still ends up with Steph leaving him.  Angie Jepson’s belligerent performance is matched by the vulnerability she displays when Steph keeps returning to Greg for approval. Continue reading

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