Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading

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Nov 11

Audience Trust Issues: TURTLES

Photo by Joan Mejia

Photo by Joan Mejia

Presented by Boston Public Works
By John Greiner-Ferris
Directed by Jeffrey Mosser

Oct. 24 – Nov. 8, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Dear crew of Turtles: What the heck was the squeaky noise we heard during the entirety of Act 1? I’m not particularly sensitive to repetitive noises but the sound of metal rubbing on metal kept pulling me out of the play.

Turtles is a play about single-Mom, Bella (Jackie Davis), and her two kids Foos (Lauren Foster) and Finn (Elle Borders). They are squatters living on/in garbage by a billboard advertising the next Rapture. They are surviving when Jesus, who may or may not be the magical zombie-savior of lore (Alexander Castillo-Nunez), falls into their laps. Jesus lacks any sort of social context (this dude could be anybody), gives no explanation for his presence, and has serious boundary issues. Yet, together they decide to move to Boston for its turtle sanctuary. Boston becomes a metaphorical sanctuary for all of them. Continue reading

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Nov 10

Floating Above the Fray: ETHER DOME

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Elizabeth Egloff
Directed by Michael Wilson

Oct. 17 – Nov. 23rd
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) The biopic or docudrama is a mainstay of the flatscreen and the silver screen, but it doesn’t get nearly as much play on stage. In theory, it should, as these types of stories appeal to those who want to learn something while they are being entertained, and that would seem to include the well-educated who can afford to go to the theatre on a regular basis. But even Shakespeare’s straight-up docudramas, the Henrys and such, don’t do as much business as Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing. Continue reading

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Oct 27

In Spite of Itself: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Presented by The Boston Theater Company
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Joey Frangieh

October 17 – November 2, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont street, Boston
Boston Center for the Arts on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s get this part out there first: Much Ado About Nothing is a delightful show with tremendous performers who put their heart and soul into this production. The standout performance for me was Jeff Church’s Benedick. Church’s quirkiness and boundless energy couldn’t help but remind me of David Tenant as The Doctor. Give him a bowtie and a TARDIS, and he’ll be happy to take you on all of your time travel adventures (and you’d gladly go because of his brains, charm, and devilish good looks). It’s entertaining and fresh, and you should all go see it as it stretches into its final weekend at the BCA. Continue reading

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Oct 01

imaginary beasts Will KNOCK! You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Photo by Roger Metcalf

Photo by Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Daniil Kharms
Directed by Matthew Wood
Dramaturgy by Matthew McMahan

Sept. 26 – Oct. 18, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A joke in the absurdist, Stalin-era work of Daniil Kharms is the same as a violent pratfall: random, shocking in its flippancy, and somehow charming.  The punchlines in Knock! The Daniil Kharms Project involve a man forgetting his name due to a number of bricks dropped on his head or a romantic couple disappearing in the middle of the night by the secret police.  Utilizing a fun, avant-garde set design by Christopher Bocchiaro and Matthew Woods, imaginary creatures adapts Kharms’ experimental black humor with confidence. The theatre group doesn’t let anything like a sketchy plot or a lingering sense of doom from an oppressive government get in the way of a good time. Continue reading

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Sep 23

Patients Are People Too: THE FORGETTING CURVE

FC - Postcard_F copy

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theatre & Theatrum Mundi Productions
in association with Alan Swanke, Cole Burden & Playhouse Creatures Theatre Co.
Information resourced from Memory’s Ghost: The Nature of Memory and the Strange Tale of Mr. M, by Phillip J. Hilts

By Vanda
Directed by Kimerly Loren Eaton

Sept. 4 – 27, 2014
Wimberly Stage
Calderwood Pavilion at the
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St, Boston
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: vintage sexism, reenactment of seizures/chronic illness, sweet lesbian love

(Boston, MA) The Forgetting Curve is about a family whose trust is abused by doctors. Patient HM (Henry Gustav Molaison, Feb. 26, 1926 – Dec. 2, 2008) suffered seizures as a teenager. To stop his otherwise untreatable epilepsy, surgeons removed the anterior two thirds of his hippocampi and other areas of his brain. At the time, doctors were unaware that, by removing his hippocampi, HM would essentially be incapable of retaining new memories. They turned HM into a high school educated goldfish with their experiments. Continue reading

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Sep 19

Pretty to Watch, Messy to Contemplate: FAR FROM HEAVEN

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Look at those costumes!

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Production Motion Picture, Written & Directed by Todd Haynes

Directed by Scott Edmiston
Musical Direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by David Connolly

Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 1957, Betty Friedan conducted a survey of Smith College graduates to celebrate their 15th anniversary. When she discovered that many of her contemporaries were deeply unhappy, she expanded her research to include other US suburban housewives. She continued her research into psychology and other social sciences. Her studies found a “problem that has no name,” a depression among women despite their ensured physical and emotional comforts. A life revolving around marriage and children was deeply unfulfilling.

This study and her corresponding writings were the basis for The Feminine Mystique, a book that sparked the second-wave of feminism. Published in 1963, it has played an influential part in assuring a modern woman’s right to equality. Women who work outside of the home owe a large part of their freedoms to Friedan and the women who worked with her. Friedan began her survey the same year that Far From Heaven begins. Continue reading

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Aug 12

Here the Rodents Reign Supreme: “The Annotated History of the American Muskrat”

Presented by The Circuit Theatre Company
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Skylar Fox

August 2 – 16, 2014
The Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) My parents were in town this weekend and, in the interest of involving them in my life, I asked them to attend The Annotated History of the American Muskrat with me. My conservative Dad’s immediate response was to ask, “is it weird?” At the time he asked I couldn’t give a definitive answer but, after attending Sunday’s matinee performance,  I can honestly answer that, yes, this show is weird. Yet, “weird” doesn’t scratch the surface of what it is. It is also intensely powerful (reviewers use these words a lot. This show is actually powerful and intense versus a “powerful” and “intense” production of, say, The Cherry Orchard.) in ways that cause the viewer to question how Americans process the life we consume. It’s a bad trip on the best acid. It’s about everything and nothing. It is not for the weak. Continue reading

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Jun 30

Revamped *Cough* Vampire Comedy for Modernity: DER VAMPYR

Photo © OperaHub

Presented by OperaHub
1828 music by Heinrich Marschner
1828 German libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück
1828 libretto based on the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter
2014 arrangement by Moshe Shulman
2014 libretto by John J King
Music direction by Lina Marcel Gonzalez
Stage direction by Christie Lee Gibson

June 19 – 28, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Light smut, Feminism

(Boston) Der Vampyr is a decadently feminist adaptation of Marschner’s original. This new arrangement presented by OperaHub tackles the difficult truths of male entitlement, victim blaming and rape culture that all women face on a daily basis. If you, the reader, do not believe in gender equality, this opera is not for you. If you believe that rape culture is not a pervasive truth all women face, then this opera is not for you. It would be best if you pulled your fedora over your eyes and stopped reading this review now. Continue reading

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Jun 16

The Smartest Play in Town: SMART PEOPLE

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by the Huntington Theatre
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Peter DuBois

June 25th – July 6th, 2014
Calderwood Pavelion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) How we view race defines us, but we often don’t like to examine how we view race, at least not directly. To write well about race in America requires both a deep understanding of society and a deeper self-examination of one’s own feelings to sort out fact from feeling, and to know when to use both to create an artistic vision. Successful attempts to write well in fiction about this dicey subject are rare; most either skitter across the surface or descend into lecture. Continue reading

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