Jan 19

Out of the Mouths of Babes: CARDBOARD EXPLOSION

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater through their Incubator program
Sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust
Created and performed by Brad Shur
Music and sound consultants: Matt McLaren, Brendan Burns

Jan. 9 – 24, 2016
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline Village, MA
PST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Brookline Village, MA) The pre-show of Cardboard Explosion consists of resident-artist, Brad Shur, encouraging his child audience to use their imaginations constructively. He asked them if they knew what shapes would be made if he cut a cardboard square in a diagonal line. They responded enthusiastically: triangles. He then asked them what these triangles could be used for, halving them again and again, on the body of a puppet. Via the use of raised hands and waiting to be called upon, various answers from the mundane to the abnormal were called out. Using his wits, kindness, and gentle sincerity, Shur convinced his child and adult audience alike that he was safe, despite the scissors, and trustworthy with burgeoning young minds. Continue reading

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Jan 19

Somewhere Over, Under, in Front of, Behind the Rainbow: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Photo credit: Diane Anton

Photo credit: Diane Anton; the cast stepping out

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods
Based on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum

January 9-30, 2016
imaginary beasts on Facebook
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MAPlaying fast and loose with both Oz canon and popular culture, imaginary beasts returns to the marvelous lands and characters L. Frank Baum created to amuse and entertain children at the turn of the century in Winter Panto 2016:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  People unfamiliar with the pantomime tradition should not come expecting a regular play, or the musical version of the show, or even a rundown of all of Baum’s Oz books.  Rather, it’s a rollicking variety of scenes that parodies both the source and contemporary mores. Continue reading

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Jan 19

Music, Puppetry, and Nonverbal Communication: LOLLIPOPS FOR BREAKFAST

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Photo credit: Liz Linder

Presented by The Gottabees at the Charlestown Working Theatre
Created by Bonnie Duncan / The Gottabees
Music by Brendan Burns & Tony Leva

January 16-17, 2016
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
Charlestown Working Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Charlestown, MA) To think with a critical eye as a small crowd of children turns around to stare at (and silently judge) you and your small bag of goldfish and kids-sized juice box that you bought from the humble concession stand is no small feat. My friend and I may have arrived sans children and unchaperoned, but we were up to the challenge. Continue reading

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Jan 16

At War With Each Other: DISGRACED

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
Written Ayad Akhtar
Directed by Gordon Edelstein

Jan. 8 – Feb. 7, 2016
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disgraced tackles the complicated conundrum of existential humanity. One of the most trying aspects of existing is reconciling our darkest impulses against pointless altruism. For an example unrelated to the show, one can rashly wish the perpetrators of a horrendous crime to wither slowly in the blazing fires of Hell while still feeling compassion for the perp’s family. Meanwhile, expressing neither of these thoughts out loud. Simply wishing to be lawfully good does not eradicate one’s potential for committing chaotic evil acts. If so, the behavioral teachings of religion, say, would be unnecessary. Humans are complicated beasties. Continue reading

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Jan 12

Robots and Prostitutes Are People Too: CITIZENS OF THE EMPIRE

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Presented by Boston Public Works
Written by Kevin Mullins
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

January 8-23, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

My apologies to the cast and crew, the death of cultural icon and glam rock god David Bowie has hit me harder than anticipated. This review was delayed by my selfish human emotions.
-Kitty Drexel, Reviewer

“To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.”
Paul R. Ehrlich

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
Hubert H. Humphrey

(Boston, MA) One of the reasons artists write about the future and/or the past is to show how human behavior remains the same regardless of the passage of time. Human hearts and heads tangle up in the same figurative knots no matter what century it is. Science and the evolution of reason only confuse matters. People will be people until they aren’t anymore. Continue reading

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Jan 05

Flappable: TRUE DEFECTIVE

tdectivePresented by ImprovBoston
Directed by Luke Bruneaux
Featuring the talents of Kaitlin Buckley, Sumeet Sarin, Taylor Cotter, Rachel Jane Andelman, Ryan Dalley & Francesca Villa
Kristina Stapelfeld on electric guitar

January 2, 9, & 16, 2016
Saturdays at 11PM
Studio Theater
40 Prospect Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
IB on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) There is a cognitive dissonance that affects performers when converting material between an audience of peers to an audience of strangers. For whatever reason, the gags found most hilarious by one’s peers tend to fall flat on an audience of strangers. Fate’s determination of success and failure is one of the pitfalls of theatre. This truth is one of the harshest for newer performers to learn. Continue reading

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Oct 31

Murder and Sci-Fi in Hi-Fi: “Monster in the Mirror”

pmrpmonsterThe Post-Meridian Players present Monster in the Mirror
Hosted by Martha Putnam Sites
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde adapted by Tegan Kehoe
Frankenstein adapted by Mike McAfee

Responsible Grace
204 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
PMRP on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville, MA) As days get shorter, the air gets chilly and the moon goes fang-white.  There’s Halloween related theatre abounding in New England, and I’d include the haunted hayrides and scary mazes in that pantheon.  To add to this mix, the Post-Meridian Players bring two classic terrible tales to life in Responsible Grace with their brand of live radio drama.   Continue reading

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Feb 11

Totally Rad To The Max: Bogart and Lement’s “PINOCCHIO”

unnamed

Photo by by Kippy Goldfarb.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Adapted by Steven Bogart and Wendy Lement
Based on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Directed by Steven Bogart
Music directed/composed by Mary Bichner
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak
Dramaturg: Kate Snodgrass
Sign Performers: Jola Leary, Adrianna Kathryn Neefus, Desiree Weems Sheppard

Jan. 30 – Feb. 22, 2015
ASL/Audio description: Feb 12,20,22
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Many years ago, when I was a burgeoning opera singer, I attempted to read Collodi’s Pinocchio in the original Italian to learn the language. Pinocchio, originating as a series of short stories in an Italian magazine, is a convoluted tale of dramatic proportions about a little wooden puppet-boy who gets into scrapes only to be saved by those who inexplicably love him. Pinocchio has no social skills, no respect, and no discipline. Yet,his father Geppetto and the Blue Fairy are devoted anyway. I read about ¾ of the book on my journey towards bilingualism. Considering my penchant for justice and the frequency in which Pinocchio is rewarded for his bad behavior, I’m surprised I slogged through as much as I did. Continue reading

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Feb 06

“The Second Girl” Keeps to Familiar Territory

Photo credit: Hunting Theatre Co

Photo credit: Hunting Theatre Co

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
Written by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ronan Noone
Directed by Campbell Scott

Jan. 16 – Feb. 21, 2015
South End / Calderwood
Pavilion at the BCA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

The class war still rages on.  People from countries with fewer opportunities than ours wash up on the shores of America willing to work sixteen-hour days at thankless jobs.  In “The Second Girl,” the audience is transported to the influx of Irish immigration in the earlier twentieth century.  Specifically, we watch a full day in the life of Bridget O’Sullivan (Kathleen McElfresh) and aspiring actress Cathleen O’Leary (MacKenzie Meehan) in August 1912.  Both work as maids for the summer home of wealthy employers.  The carping and melodrama of our heroines’ everyday world is mined for a play that seems a little too grounded in the immigration stories that came before. Continue reading

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Feb 02

Almost Like Family: THE BEST BROTHERS

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Charles Towers

January 8 – February 1st, 2015
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Every time a member of one’s family dies, the remaining members of the family must re-form to create a unit, or split away and cease to be. This is an especially arduous task for two almost estranged brothers in The Best Brothers. They must resolve what they were to each other when the matriarch of the family was alive, and what they are to each other now that she is gone. Continue reading

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