Nov 04

Don’t Fear the Beards: THE HOBBIT

Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien
Adapted for the stage by Patricia Gray
Directed by Shelley Bolman
Original score by Will Holshouser
Fight choreography by Ted Hewlett

October 25th – November 24th, 2013
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Picture a staging of The Hobbit without copious CGI, but with kids in cute beards rocking outrageous Scottish accents.  Could be good, could be terrible, right?

The thing is that J.R.R. Tolkien, bless his bookish heart, knew jack about pacing a story, and cared even less.  The Hobbit, here interpreted by Patricia Gray, is an episodic yarn that meanders here and there, getting bogged down into bedtime storytelling action by the time the band hits the Misty Mountains.  It works perfectly as bedtime fare for geeks just for precisely this reason; the thing reads like a really rocking night of Dungeons and Dragons.  Things just happen, and your characters get bailed out by the dungeon-master (Tolkien) every now and then to keep the story moving. Continue reading

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May 21

Stellar Science Fiction: SOLACE

Image courtesy of Science Fiction Theatre Company

Image courtesy of Science Fiction Theatre Company

Presented by Science Fiction Theatre Company
By A. Vincent Ularich
Directed by Anna Trachtman

The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
May 10th – May 25th, 2013

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Oh, science fiction looks so easy to do when you have a CGI budget and a sleek deck of a starship to command, but it can be deadly to stage, especially when you’re working with a new play.  It’s then that we learn that space thrusters look ridiculous when constructed by duct tape, and phrases like “reverse the ion thrusters” just don’t roll off the tongue.

That’s what makes the sci-fi play Solace, written by Boston playwright A. Vincent Ularich, such a marvel.  For my money, this production, staged imaginatively and thoughtfully by the Science Fiction Theatre Company, is the sweetest surprise of the theater season.  Ularich, director Anna Trachtman and the strong overall cast have conjured up a love story about the future that retains all the heart of the present.  This play’s flaws quickly fell by the wayside, as I was drawn into the funny, sad and evocative world created on stage.    Continue reading

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