Oct 27

Neighborhood 3: Sometimes You Need A Place To Go A Little Crazy

Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley, Happy Medium Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 10/20/11-10/29/11, http://www.happymediumtheatre.com/.  T for Teen, Tipper Gore should not see this show.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“We need to protect the children”.  We have stricter movie ratings, tv show ratings, video game ratings, and explicit music warning labels.  So what happens when all of these fail?  What happens even before these fail?  Society corrupts the children; the educational system fails children; the welfare system fails children.  These days everything and anything are blamed when children get hurt or end up in trouble (watched any version of Law & Order lately?)except for children and the parents.  Neighborhood 3:  Requisition of Doom gives the avatars (performers) a chance to escape from problems while the game gives the players (the audience) no escape. Continue reading

Oct 20

GoreFest 9: MASSacre General Hospital: Gleefully Gruesome Good Time

Gorefest 9:  MASSacre General Hospital by Laura Clark and Misch Whitaker, music and lyrics by Melissa Carubia, ImprovBoston, 10/20/11-10/31/11.  http://www.improvboston.com/gorefest?ref=slide.  For Mature Audiences Only.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Once again, ImprovBoston treats audiences to the guts and glory, but especially guts, of a Halloween comedy show.  This time, the theater gives its audience a seasonally appropriate splatter musical set in a hospital.  A young and more or less well-adjusted couple, Carla and Trevor, get into a car accident and venture into the Braggs Memorial Hospital.  Not so secretly, something about the facility is wrong, especially when Carla’s unborn baby starts getting a little too much attention. Continue reading

Aug 04

Bug: Real Fear

Bug 003

James Hayward and Julie Becker in "Bug" by Tracy Letts July 29-August 6, 2011. The Factory Theatre, Boston.

Bug by Tracy Letts, Flat Earth Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 7/29/11-8/6/11, http://flatearththeatre.com/shows/bug.html.  Contains graphic violence and language.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Horror reigns at The Factory Theatre in Flat Earth Theatre’s taut production of Tracy Letts’ thriller Bug.  An abused woman finds comfort and safety of a gentle stranger.  However, their safety is short-lived when their motel room becomes infested with bugs.  No matter how they try, their situation escalates providing a realistic and frightening experience. Continue reading

Jul 15

Hideous Progeny: Living With Our Creations

Nate Gundy (Percy Shelley), Julia Specht (Mary Wollstoncraft Godwin), Victor Shopov (Lord Byron). Photo by Alison Luntz.

Hideous Progeny by Emily Dendinger. Holland Productions, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 7/9/11-7/23/11, http://www.hollandproductions.org/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s understanding of the gravity of creation led to one of the most famous horror tales of all time: Frankenstein. Emily Dendiger posits that this knowledge came from Mary’s own life and relationships in the play Hideous Progeny. Most generations struggle between rebellion and responsibility; the choices we make create the world that we live in. Mary’s future husband, Percy Shelley, speaks of and practices “free love” and ideals, but ignores the monsters he releases. Hideous Progeny haunts Mary Godwin and the audience with the question: do you run away from the monsters or do you face them?
Continue reading

May 18

Poe’s Existentialism by Gaslight

(L To R) Resident acting company members Brian McEleney and and Phyllis Kay with Brown/Trinity Rep MFA ’12 actor Charlie Thurston as Young Edgar Poe.in the world premiere of Stephen Thorne’s The Completely Fictional – Utterly True – Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Set Design by Susan Zeeman Rogers, Costume Design by William Lane and Lighting Design by Keith Parham. Photo by Mark Turek.

The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe by Stephen Thorne, Trinity Repertory Company, Dowling Theater, 5/6/11-6/11/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ST.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Something delightfully macabre is happening at Trinity Rep.  Even Edgar Allan Poe is beside himself–literally.  Stephen Thorne spins an atmospheric tale that combines true facts, speculation, and gothic fiction in his new play The Completely Fictional-Utterly True-Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe. Trinity Rep’s world premiere entices the senses, questions reality, questions meaning, and ushers in a new form of ghost story.

Thorne’s play begins with Edgar Allan Poe in the hospital–unsure of how he got there but the attendants tell him he is dying.  Poe explores his own demise and tries to find meaning through the senses.  In the first act, he denies that he is dying and tries to discover Continue reading

Oct 26

A Play of Imagination Leaves Little to Imagine

The Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher, Stoneham Theatre, 10/21/10-11/7/10

http://www.stonehamtheatre.org/

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Gianni Downs’ minimalistic scenery welcomes the audience to an atmospheric ghost story.  As the audience enters the theatre, they see a raked black stage with a single deep purple velvet chair and slight blue lighting on the stage.  However, the main focal point runs from the stage to the balcony—a collection of ropes tied off in waves across the ceiling that lead to ropes hanging down next to the chair.  I’m intrigued.  Upon reading the director’s notes in the program, I am enthusiastic to see her desire to honor Henry James’ preference to leave fear to the imagination.  Unfortunately, from the time the house lights go down to the curtain call, I see too much.  The heavy-handed interpretation of the director combined with exaggerated characterizations lead to a production that is only scary in that it does not trust its material or its audience. Continue reading