Jan 28

Here’s Your Coffee Ma’am: “Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow”

True love with dog. Photo by Alex Sandberg.

Presented by imaginary beasts & Charlestown Working Theater
Written by The Ensemble
Story conceived by Matthew Woods
Directed by Matthew Woods

Jan. 19 – Feb. 10, 2019
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill St
Charlestown, MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Charlestown, MA) Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow is about best friends and the lengths we go to love them. imaginary beasts treats us with another homegrown panto in the English tradition but with an American fringe flourish. Special effects are minimal but the appeal is high. The plot may wander but the panto’s generosity of spirit more than makes up for the meandering. Continue reading

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Jan 24

“Heartland,” where the ache lies.

L-R: Shawn K. Jain as Nazrullah and Ken Baltin as Harold; Photography by Christopher McKenzie.

A national new play network rolling world premier
Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Written by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 12—February 9, 2019
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) Powerfully written and gorgeously staged, New Rep’s production of Heartland is a true masterpiece. Gabriel Jason Dean deftly transforms his experiences of person tragedy into a poignant and profound meditation of the American body politic, particularly our interventionalist foreign policies in the Middle East. Continue reading

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Jan 08

Awkwardness is Part of the Process: “Small Mouth Sounds”

All photos by Nile Scott Studios. The cast. Digesting.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Bess Wohl
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 4 – Feb. 2, 2019
Boston Center for the Arts
The Calderwood Pavilion Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

This critique has been updated from its previous posting. The update includes corrections and clarifications. (1/31/19 KD)

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: penis, simulated pot smoking, heavy moaning

It’s January and chances are that you (or your acquaintances) are experiencing an influx of athletic practitioners in your studio of choice. For example, at my own neighborhood ashtanga yoga studio, January 1 meant that the floor became overwhelmed with novices and their wholesome, divot-free mats. Small Mouth Sounds(SMS) captures that awkward group consciousness of baby-yogis talking first “did I make a huge mistake?” steps towards enlightenment. An enlightened mind is not obtained overnight. The journey is schadenfreude for the audience. Continue reading

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Feb 26

Show Up and Shut Up: “An Education in Prudence”

with Christa Brown, Caitlin Gjerdrum, Tenneh Sillah, Shana Elizabeth Jackson, Mary O’Donnell, Kevin Paquette, Jon Vellante & Regine Vital; photo by Matt McKee Photography.

Presented by Open Theatre Project
By Stefan Lanfer
Directed by Pascale Florestal
Inspired by the historical research of Beth Miller

Feb. 9 – 24, 2018
St. John’s Church
Jamaica Plain, MA
OTP on Facebook

“Grant me chastity and constancy, but do not grant it yet.” Saint Augustine of Hippo

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Jamaica Plain, MA) OTP’s An Education in Prudence sold out its run. If you missed the readings, the workshops, or the performances, then the joke’s on you. Do yourself a favor and donate to OTP so they can create more important works. Prudence deserves, at the very least, a performance in Canterbury, CT. They’ll need our help to get there. Continue reading

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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

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Feb 22

A Queer Bildnungsroman “Torrey Pines”

Presented by ArtsEmerson 
Torrey Pines
Directed by Clyde Petersen
Animated by Clyde Petersen & Chris Looney
Original music recorded in collaboration with Kimya Dawson and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie)

Feb. 14 – 17, 2018
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

ArtsEmerson presented a lovely set of screenings of “Torrey Pines” with a live band and live foley.  A stop motion film about a young adolescent’s experiences, the lead in the film was also the lead in the band which played, Your Heart Breaks.  The Seattle band has been touring with this movie since its premiere in 2016.  It is wonderful that this movie was brought to Boston, especially since there are few art pieces with trans creators at the helm. Continue reading

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Feb 20

World Music Concert: Presenting Carla Bruni


Presented by the World Music/CrashArts

Thursday, 15 February 2018 ONLY
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Carla Bruni on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, MA) As a vocalist Carla Bruni had an effortless delivery, and she was best crooning at a mellow level, which any close listener of Bruni’s albums would already know.  Her voice was much fuller and sultrier at a slow pace, which conveyed more genuine feelings that the audience sensed and responded to with thundery clapping.  Program notes provided by World Music/CrashARTS prepared the audience for a coup de foudre, the French term for falling in love at first sight, trying to ready everyone for a moody and emotional evening of intimate ballads.  Ultimately, as anticipated, this was a performance for romantics to attend the week of Valentine’s Day; a concert presenting new songs from Carla Bruni’s latest album called “French Touch.” Continue reading

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Feb 18

The Benefits of Inflection: “A Winter Gathering of New Music & Multimedia Performance”

From “Picture This.” Veronica Anastasio Wiseman, Adara Meyers, and Blair Nodelman with baggage.

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Co-produced by Charlotte Meehan and Adara Meyers

Feb. 15 – 26, 2018
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) A Winter Gathering of New Music & Multimedia Performance is an intimate multimedia salon theatre experience. It’s a concert with dramatic sketches. It’s a lot of things including unusual, fun and experimental. Continue reading

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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

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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

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