Apr 18

“No Exit”: Raising Hell in a Somerville Basement

Photo by Teri Incampo

Presented by Exiled Theatre
By Jean-Paul Sartre
Adapted from the French by Paul Bowles
Directed by Katharine Jordan

April 14-30, 2017
Auspicious Phoenix: The Space Studio
438 Somerville Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
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Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) Walking past the Somerville Market Basket, down an alley to the right, I was unsure what to expect from Exiled Theatre’s production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. To help set the mood, audience members were directed to “descend into Hell” (aka down a flight of stairs) into a basement space. Bulbs hung from the ceiling, and a modest but tasteful array of couches donned the scene—some were for the actors, some acted as seats for the audience. There was a great amount of effort to prepare the audience for what they were about to witness, and its effect made for a great welcoming. Continue reading

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Oct 26

Exceeding Intentionally Offensive Expectations: “Gorefest: the 13th”

Gorefest2015Poster-medium

Presented by ImprovBoston
Book/Lyrics/Score by Don Schuerman, Steve Gilbane, Matt Chapuran and Jeff Kimball
Directed by Nate Lopez

Oct. 22 – 31, 2015
Studio Theater at 40 Prospect St
Central Square, Cambridge, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel auditioned for Gorefest: the 13th and wasn’t cast. She firmly believes that only a superficial ass would allow something like that to taint (heh) her review.

(Cambridge, MA) The cast, crew and band of Gorefest: the 13th were frickin’ awesome. It was a good time getting splattered with blood and urine by IB last Saturday. It always is. That being said, when was Gorfest moved from the Main Stage to the Studio Theater? Who’s crazypants idea was it to move the Boston-area cult classic musical into a smaller space? Cramming that many warm bodies into that room, even with the wooden benches, is not cool. It’s not good for the cast. It’s not good for the audience. Get yourself sorted, IB. Continue reading

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Jan 21

Gritty Art: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC – THE LIFE AND BLUES OF BESSIE SMITH

 Photo by John Quilty.

Photo by John Quilty.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Angelo Parra
Concept, Musical Staging, and Direction by Joe Brancato

January 9th – February 2nd, 2014
Lowell, MA
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Do you know the blues?  I mean really know the blues?

I’m not talking about some wannabe pop singer appropriating the blues to make the crowd gasp on American Idol.  I’m not talking about the rock n’ roll hybrid blues that the Rolling Stones used to distance themselves from the Beatles.  I’m talking the unsanitized blues, rife with onion-skin-thin innuendo about graphic sex and domestic violence.  It’s raw and splintered music, the kind where you can taste hunger and oppression and yet you laugh so you don’t cry. Continue reading

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Nov 26

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here: LIZZIE BORDEN

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Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou for Boston Lyric Opera © 2013. It’s all downhill from here.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Jack Beeson
Libretto by Kenward Elmslie
Based on a scenario by Richard Plant
Realized by Todd Bashore (orchestration) and John Conklin (dramaturgy)
Conducted by David Angus
Stage directed by Christopher Alden

November 20 – 24, 2013
Opera Annex: The Castle at Park Plaza
Boston, MA
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Sung in English with projected text (because the diction of the vocalists is excellent but the space eats sound like Cookie Monster eats a baker’s dozen).

(Boston) This is not an opera hoping to experience the heavenly glories of the human voice through song. Lizzie Borden is an impressive piece of theatre that will shock the pants off of audience members expecting traditional operatic fare. Beeson’s opera is beast heavy with repressed sexuality, anger and desperation. Although it was not an enjoyable production per se, the artists involved created a brilliant evening of artful music. Continue reading

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