Apr 15

Whistle It, Just A Little Bit***: Ryan Landry’s “M”

David Drake, Samantha Richert, Ellen Adair, Larry Coen, and Laura Latreille in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of RYAN LANDRY'S "M". March 30 - April 27, 2013 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

David Drake, Samantha Richert, Ellen Adair, Larry Coen, and Laura Latreille in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of RYAN LANDRY’S “M”. March 30 – April 27, 2013 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Ryan Landry’s “M”
Directed by Caitlin Towland 

March 28-April 28
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co Facebook Page
Gold Dust Orphans Facebook Page

 Review by Noelani Kamelamela 

(Boston) Fritz Lang’s masterpiece M, released in 1931, revealed much of his hatred and compassion regarding German society at the time.  Ryan Landry’s M likewise breaks new ground while being observant of society’s duality. The Huntington’s production is ambitious with explosively funny results. Spoiler alert:  nothing written here can be a genuine spoiler, trust me.  A real spoiler would be able to point you towards a reasonable expectation of what will actually happen on stage.  Ha ha ha! Continue reading

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Dec 17

Enduring Marriage: HALF N’ HALF N’ HALF

Carol Halstead, Zoë Winters, Andrew Pastides and Jim Ortlieb. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Carol Halstead, Zoë Winters, Andrew Pastides and Jim Ortlieb. Photo by Meghan Moore.

by John Kolvenbach
directed by Kyle Fabel

Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
November 29th – December 23rd, 2012
Merrimack Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) It is frustrating to see a craftsman like playwright John Kolvenbach run rings around pedestrian writers.  His play Half n’ Half n’ Half shows that he understands how a play functions on a deep level and that he could write in any genre he chooses, from The Seagull to Lend Me a Tenor.  Kolvenbach toys with the audience in several genres with this comedy, while demonstrating his near-mastery of them all.  This is more than an exercise in play writing, however.  Throughout this script of multiple plays, Kolvenbach is able to document how a lifetime romantic commitment often drives us to need to be committed. Continue reading

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Jan 16

Laugh-Out-Loud Ridiculousness: LEND ME A TENOR

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Lend Me A Tenor by Ken Ludwig, Ciitizen’s Bank Performing Arts Series,The Palace Theatre,  1/13/12-1/28/12,  http://www.palacetheatre.org/event-calendar.aspx?event=442&dt=1/13/2012&category=ALL.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Manchester, NH)  They usually don’t hand out acting awards for comedies, and that is a crying shame.  Is it really harder for an actor to emote than pratfall down the stairs a dozen times a show?  Is biting dialogue really harder to memorize than fifty quick entrances and exits?  A farce may be light on character development, but it is a full-court press of physicality and split-second acting.

Continue reading

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Oct 20

‘Or,’ Women Will Have The Last Laugh

Aphra (Stacy Fischer) catches William (Ro'ee Levi) and Nell (Hannah Husband). Photo by Mark S. Howard.

 

Or, by Liz Duffy Adams, Lyric Stage Company, 10/14/11-11/6/11, https://lyricstage.com/now_playing/or/  Contains mature themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA)  A new age is dawning in the 1660’s.  Women are allowed to act.  Strict Puritan regulations have been lifted.  What’s a girl to do?  Aphra Behn, one of the first professional playwrights that was female, has some answers with the help of modern day playwright Liz Duffy Adams.  Lyric Stage brings a delightful evening of ‘girl power’ to the stage in this play of Restoration, modern, and post-modern ideals.   Continue reading

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Sep 14

The Hound of the Baskervilles: Romping on the Moors

Bill Mootos as Dr. Watson and Remo Airaldi as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles performing September 7 - October 2, 2011 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Photo: Elizabeth Stewart/Libberding Photography.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, Central Square Theatre, 9/7/11-10/2/11, http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/11-12/the-hound-of-the-baskervilles.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) From the moment the lights go down…and up…and down…it is evident that Steven Canny, John Nicholson, and Thomas Derrah have studied two of the preeminent literature scholars:  The Reduced Shakespeare Company and Monty Python.  This spoof of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles’ hilarity starts from the theatre notifications and does not end until the final bows.  Central Square Theatre’s new season starts off with a bang (well..just don’t let Dr. Watson hold the gun). Continue reading

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Feb 05

RUMORS fly like bullets

Rumors by Neil Simon, Walpole Footlighters, 2/4/11-2/20/11, http://www.footlighters.com/

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Photos by Dan Busler Photography

Walpole Footlighters breathes life into the wily, witty, wordsmith’s farce:  Rumors.  Although the script itself brings little to the genre other than being an obvious testing ground for Neil Simon, Walpole Footlighters offers a bubbly evening of laughs to take your mind off all of the snow.

The story surrounds an anniversary party gone awry:  the wife and the servants have run off, the host has shot himself in the ear, and the guests try to cover up an apparent scandal.  Comic craziness ensues.

Led by David Giagrando, the cast is able to overcome some of the script’s flaws.  Giagrando, as Lenny Ganz, tries to control the situation and fails hilariously; his performance produces the perfect neurotic New York yuppie while using every subterfuge in his arsenal (including a wonderfully performed “story” in the second act) to keep the host’s secret from getting into the news.  Barbara Shapiro and James Merlin (as Cookie and Ernie Cusack) amplify the neuroses with their screwball personalities and actions.  Shapiro’s physical comedy provides some of the funniest moments of the night.

While the script itself drags in some places, the show overall provides an enjoyable evening of belly laughs that remind us of a simpler time (who ever thought the 80’s would be called that?) when appearance was the only important thing.  Walpole Footlighters provides a delightful production to get you outside of the city and outside of yourself.  2/4/11.  TNETG.

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Jan 11

HYSTERIA: the naked women in Freud’s closet

Hysteria, or Fragments of an Analysis of a Obsessional Neurosis by Terry Johnson, The NoraTheatre Company, Central Square Theater, 1/6/11-1/30/11.  Nudity and mature themes.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/10-11/hysteria.html

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Freudian analysis?  A dream of Dali?  Too much spicy food?  These are questions the audience might ask while watching Hysteria.  Using the real meeting between Freud and Dali as a starting point, Johnson’s play moves from farce to surrealism to nothingness.  The Nora Theatre Company makes this strange journey palatable and pleasurable and  masks the flaws of the script.

The exaggerated perspective of the set, Freud’s study, immediately tells the audience that something peculiar is going to happen.  As the play unfolds, Janie E. Howland’s surrealistic set design matches the frenetic energy that is sent forth from the actors.  No one questions the absurdity of the situations that take place because the cast commit fully to the roles that they play.  Richard Sneed, as Freud, tries to hold the world together as it keeps trying to spiral out-of-control.  His warm-fatherly nature combined with Freud’s philosophies moves the audience from sympathy for a dying man to anger at an intractable man that will not even admit the possibility that he might have erred. Continue reading

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