Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

May 31

Disabled Children Are No More a ‘Life Sentence’ Than Any Other Child: “Fall”

Joanne Kelly, Josh Stamberg, Nolan James Tierce, Joanna Glushak, and John Hikock  ©Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Bernard Weinraub
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 18 – June 16, 2018
South End/Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Trigger warnings: Ablism, historically-accurate slurs, misogyny

Review by Kitty Drexel

Tokenism
noun/to·ken·ism/ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

(Boston, MA) Bernard Weinraub tried so hard to be respectful of the Down Syndrome community. Fall would be a good play about Arthur Miller and Inge Morath if it didn’t fail so hard at including Daniel Miller. Unfortunately, it misses the mark. A lot. Continue reading

May 08

A Majestic “Migration”


Presented by Step Afrika!
Produced by 
ArtsEmerson
Choreographed by Jakari Sherman, Jackie Semela, Paul Woodruff
Percussionists: Artis Olds, Jakari Sherman, Andrew Vinson

May 3 through 6, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

“One of the most important functions of jazz has been to encourage a hope for freedom, for people living in situations of intolerance or struggle.”  –Herbie Hancock, jazz pianist and bandleader

(Boston, Massachusetts)  I could feel the crackling energy of the show, even before it started.  I could anticipate that it’d be a layered and textured theatrical experience that engaged the audience, even before dancers and musicians arrived on stage.  I am a person who is always listening to music. Likewise, I’m a patron who yearns for a show’s soundtrack to play both before and after the performance, as well as during its intermission.  The recording of African drum music, peppered with the rattling of gourds and the rhythmic clapping of hands, was vitalizing and encouraged a social atmosphere before the show began. Most patrons were out of seats, strolling around, greeting each other, standing in small circles having spirited conversations, smiling while sipping drinks; it was the pre-party I always wished for. Continue reading

Jul 03

Please, Make the Music Stop: THE MUSIC MAN

Photo by Paul Lyden.

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
Music by Meredith Willson
Direction by Bob Richard
Music direction by Milton Granger
Choreography by Diane Laurenson

June 6 – June 18, 2017
North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, a play gets to an awkward age where it needs to be taken out of circulation for a while so it can age properly and can come back as a nostalgic piece. The Music Man, which was performed recently  at the North Shore Music Theatre, is one of those plays. In the age of Trump, this play’s racist and rape-culture overtones hit too close to home to be enjoyable. Continue reading

Jun 26

Give Me What I Deserve ‘Cause It’s My Right: FIDELIO

Photo credit: www.MattConti.com; impatient for reform, the prisoner ensemble takes some sun.

Presented by NEMPAC Opera Project
Opera by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto by Joseph von Sonnleithner
Artistic and stage direction by Rebecca Miller
Music direction and conducting by Dr. Tiffany Chang

June 22-25, 2017
Faneuil Hall
The Great Hall
Boston, MA
NEMPAC on Facebook

Sung in German with supertitles, dialogue in German for performer acting and audience comprehension compatibility.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Beethoven nails the human condition with his only opera. Fidelio is about the lengths we go to for those we love. Yet, Beethoven reminds us, it is unwise to underestimate the insecurities of the vengeful. NEMPAC’s production was a challenging joy. Continue reading

Jun 15

Don’t Choke on Your Spotted Dick: “Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune”


Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
Written by Chris Weikel
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 25, 2017
Central Square Theater Studio
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Titanic on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MATitanic Theatre Company’s Penny Penniworth: A Story of Great Good Fortune can be described as a summer panto minus the music, but plus a heaping spoonful of innuendo. It’s a swift, good time for adults who love classic literature (so long as they can take a joke), and refreshing summer theatre.    Continue reading

Jun 10

Reinforced with Lug Nuts: SORDID LIVES (Portland, OR)

Nikolas Hoback as Ty, Signe Larsen as Latrelle, Landy Hite as Sissy, Jennifer Lanier as Lavonda and Amanda Richards as Bitsy; Image from the OUTwright Theatre Festival Facebook page.

Presented by Fuse Theatre Ensemble and Funhouse Lounge
Part of the 2017 OUTwright Theatre Festival
Written by Del Shores
Directed and designed by Rusty Tennant

May 19 – June 11, 2017
Funhouse Lounge
Portland, Oregon
Fuse Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

A very special thank you to Fuse Theatre and Funhouse Lounge for allowing me to review their excellent production!

(Portland, OR)  Our existence is our resistance. One basic way we as minority community members can fight back against the current bullshit political crisis is by refusing to be silent or ignored. Theatre makers, we can make as much noisy, politically incorrect and socially unacceptable art. As the TCG 2017 Conference asked how we go about celebrating equity, diversity and inclusivity, I gathered by people. We ran across the bridge to Fuse Theatre’s production of Sordid Lives.

Continue reading

Jun 10

Blood on the Snow: A journey back in time to Boston’s bloody beginnings

The Cast of Blood on the Snow. Photo by Justin Saglio.

Presented by The Bostonian Society
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

June 1 – August 20, 2017
The Old State House
Boston, MA
Bostonians on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) It is March 6, 1770, bloodshed, discontent and rebellion bubbles in the air. Four Bostonians lie dead on the streets outside the Council Chamber and British soldiers are held responsible. The people of Boston are sick of British rule, the soldiers and their taxes – they want them out. Inside Governor Hutchinson is faced with an impossible choice: defy his King, or defend his country? This site specific play takes the audience back in time to a forgotten night that helped shaped the course of, not only the city’s history, but the world’s. Blood on the Snow sold out at its world premiere last Spring and returns to The Old State House in Boston this summer. O’Connor’s naturalistic direction is spot on, allowing the audience to be unnoticed voyeurs alongside the table where history was made. Continue reading

Jun 05

Odyssey Opera’s “Patience” is Pitch Perfect

Photo by Kathy Wittman

Odyssey Opera
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Conductor: Gil Rose
Stage Director: Frank Kelley
Choreographer: Larry Sousa

June 2&3, 2017 at 7:30pm
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) After seeing the most recent Gilbert and Sullivan to delight Boston last night, I’ve decided to become an aesthete. One need only find an English poet with opaque poetry to adore, dress in long, flowing garments, talk about the wonders of Aestheticism, lay around, and sigh. But while Patience mocks the women who fawn over pale, tragic poet Reginald Bunthorne (the remarkably funny Aaron Engebreth), it also mocks the Dragoons who are their forgotten fiancees, the vain rival poet Archibald Grosvenor (an airily confident Paul Max Tipton), and the humble, befuddled milk maid, the titular Patience (Sara Heaton), who’s too innocent to understand what the concept of love even is. In short, this is a Gilbert and Sullivan show at its most Gilbert and Sullivan: staunchly lighthearted. Continue reading

May 23

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Midspring

The “Mechanicals” in the play within a play: Mac Young, Elle Borders, Monica Giordano, Jake Athyal and a prone Steven Barkhimer. Photo by Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actor’s Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Patrick Swanson

May 10-June 4, 2017
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook and Instagram

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Any fan of Shakespeare’s work knows how malleable his plays are. You could see the same show for years and years and still experience something different each time. In Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s most recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this trend continues. Continue reading