Mar 15

Fear Isn’t Logical: “The Humans”

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Presented by Boch Center and the Roundabout Theatre Company
By Stephen Karam
Directed by Joe Mantello

Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Boch Center on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Humans is a play about fear and the ways we humans navigate them. Brigid(Daisy Egan) and Rich (Luis Vega) are hosting Thanksgiving in their first adult apartment in Manhattan. Sister Aimee (Therese Plaehn) has recently broken up with the love of her life. Parents, Deirdre (Pamela Reed) and Erik (Richard Thomas) have brought grandma Momo (Lauren Klein). Regardless of their troubles, everyone is determined to have a nice time. Continue reading

Mar 09

“The Hotel Nepenthe”: Here’s looking at you and you and your other you, kid kid kid…

Photo by Maggie Hill Photography

Presented by The Brown Box Theatre
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Alex Lonati
Produced by Kyler Taustin

March 9-11, 2018 in Massachusetts
Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress St., Boston
March 15, 2018 in Princess Anne, MD
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Brown Box on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, MA) It was a wintry evening in Boston’s Financial District and, as the audience moseyed into the lobby of an office building with wet snow piled upon our hats and coats, we found our seats to the soundtrack of bubbly theme songs from classic pre-1970s television and cinema. There were themes from Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and that kicky rendition of the Charleston dance song as featured in It’s A Wonderful Life (1940s).

Once seated and ready for the performance, patrons sat with our four actors lounging around the small stage space in short leopard-print bathrobes. Hm? Earlier in the week, I told a pal that I was going to see a play by John Kuntz, and their heads-up was “John Kuntz? His stuff is weird but wonderful!” And yes, very immediately, with the bouncy lyrics of “The Ballad of Gilligans Island” promising a fateful trip, I knew I was in for a theatrical adventure. Continue reading

Mar 06

Laughing Together to Confront Suicide Stigma: “Every Brilliant Thing”

Krstansky with audience members. Those happy faces tell you all you need to know. Maggie Hall Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Duncan MacMillan
With Jonny Donahoe
Directed by Marianna Bassham
Featuring Adrianne Krstansky

March 21 – 31, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Every Brilliant Thing is a story about a woman’s appreciation for living as told through a long list of joys. Audience participation is nearly mandatory. Adrianne Krstansky is so welcoming that volunteering is fun. The Calderwood Pavilion is a safer space for an hour.   Continue reading

Feb 22

Presenting the Black Female Experience in America is a Revolutionary Act: “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf”

Photography by Roberto Mighty; From left: Verna Hampton, Kerline Desir, Thomika Marie Bridwell, Dayenne CB Walters, Karimah Williams, Tonasia Jones. Not pictured: Ciera-Sade Wade.

Presented by Praxis Stage
By Ntozake Shange
Directed by Dayenne CB Walters
Choreography by W. Lola Remy

Feb.15 – 25, 2018
Hibernian Hall
Boston, MA
Praxis on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) When theatre is about lifting up oppressed voices, it is a revolutionary act.  Praxis Stage’s production of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf” during Black History Month qualifies.  I recommend that locals go and see this production if they can.  Although “for colored girls . . .” is done regularly with student casts, such as the production at Boston College in 2014, it is inspiring to see a range of ages authentically represented in this show.  I will also mention that the space in Hibernian Hall is accessible, which is not always a possibility for theatre companies in the Boston area. Continue reading

Feb 12

See the Movie First: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Book by Linda Woolverton
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Directed by Jane Staab
Music direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

Feb. 2 – March 4, 2018
Feb. 25 & March 2, ASL and audio-described
Wheelock College; Boston Campus
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA 02215
WFT on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” ― attributed to Margaret Atwood.

(Boston, MA) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (DBatB) is beloved in all its forms. The 2017 film with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, and a vastly underutilized Audra McDonald, is a charming retelling with updates to make it more palatable for contemporary audiences. The 1994 musical adaptation of the 1991 film is not. The original Disney movie was notable for its strides in animation technology, but not for its intersectionally feminist portrayal of accepting others for their differences. Unfortunately for Wheelock Family Theatre, this problematic musical hasn’t received the update treatment. In some ways, it’s worse that the 1991 film. Continue reading

Jan 26

Caregiver Vents and Mourns in “Mala”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson
Written and performed by Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “Dying doesn’t make you wise,” says Melinda Lopez, describing the death of her tough, stubborn mother. “Dying doesn’t make you generous.” The words could serve as the thesis of Mala, a story of a loyal daughter processing guilt and bitterness over the death of her elderly parents. Baked into the subject matter is a grim but gentle humor, one that picks at the coat of polish usually applied to recollections of the grieving process. Lopez’s pain, here, is visceral and true, not some softly lit movie set. Continue reading

Jan 23

A Pleasant Romcom: “Shakespeare in Love”

Shakespeare at Viola’s feet. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Based on the screenplay by Mac Norman & Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Scott Edmiston
Original music/music direction/sound design by David Reiffel
Choreography/period movement by Judith Chaffee
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy’s production of Shakespeare in Love is okay. People who loved the movie will get a lot out of attending. Anyone expecting a revelatory experience from their theatre will be disappointed. Aside from the lighting design by Karen Perlow (which made Jennifer Ellis look like a gilded angel floating down from Heaven, and the set look like a theatre in a night forest) and the compositions by David Reiffel, this production is good but unremarkable.    Continue reading

Jan 22

Tonight with Words Outspoken: “Mother Mary Says to Me”

Presented by Club Cafe
Performed, produced and compiled by Meagan Michelson
Accompanied by J. Kathleen Castellanos
Featuring the works of The Beatles, Carol King, Lerner & Lowe, Bonnie Raitt, and more

Saturday, January 20th at 8pm ONLY
Club Cafe
Boston, MA
C.C. on Facebook
Meagan Michelson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Meagan Michelson delivered a sincere but rowdy tribute last Saturday night at Club Cafe. Mother Mary Says to Me is a love letter to Mary, her Mom. It expressed the kind of gratitude one hopes to share with their own mother figure. I wish I had brought my Mom to see it; MMSTM had the kind of edge my Mumma Geek enjoys, and the heart to put a twinkle in anyone’s eye.    Continue reading

Dec 04

Do Better: “Nurse Play”

Photo from Exiled Theatre’s Facebook page.

Presented by Exiled Theatre
By James Wilkinson
Directed by Joe Juknievich
Movement direction by Kayleigh Kane

Dec. 1 – 17, 2017
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Exiled Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The days of casting the able-bodied to play a disabled person are nearly at an end. We aren’t there yet. While it is unacceptable to cast a white person to play a person of color, it is still marginally acceptable to cast an abled person in the role of a disabled character. Boston has many working actors that identify as seeing impaired. Should a theatre decide to cast an abled person in the role of a disabled character, it behooves the theatre to make it abundantly clear to the audience/disabled community that great pains were taken to either cast from the disabled community, or that the disabled community representative was consulted in the production of the play. Anything less is offensive. Continue reading

Nov 28

Love Can’t Afford to be Afraid: “Tartuffe”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
By Moliere
Translated by Ranjit Bolt
Directed by Peter DuBois
Choreography by Daniel Pelzig
Original music by Peter Golub
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Nov. 10 – Dec. 10, 2017
Avenue of the Arts
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If you haven’t seen #metoo then it’s likely you’ve been under a proverbial rock. Female and male victims of sexual assault rallied their cry in solidarity with the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of years of criminal misconduct. Weinstein is a pig enabled by others so focused on their own careers/pocketbooks that they wouldn’t stop him. Whether intentional or not, the Huntingington’s Tartuffe is a reflection of the news cycle. In our own backyard, Berklee School of Music harbored rapist professors. “Good” men can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.   Continue reading