Mar 19

The First Tragic Big Man of Hollywood: “Lost Laughs – The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle”

Aaron Muñoz (Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle) and Kristen Mengelkock (Will); Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Andy Bayiates and Aaron Muñoz.
Directed by Nathan Keepers

February 14 – March 11, 2018
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Since the advent of the movie industry, we only pay money to see fat men on the silver screen if we can laugh at them. This has invited a parade of tortured souls willing to be crying-on-the-inside clowns in exchange for riches and some measure of acceptance. Too often, however, these jesters (John Belushi, Chris Farley, etc.) break down, and we celebrate the tragedy of a “brilliant life cut short” while waiting for the next heavy man waiting in the wings. Continue reading

Mar 15

Fear Isn’t Logical: “The Humans”

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Presented by Boch Center and the Roundabout Theatre Company
By Stephen Karam
Directed by Joe Mantello

Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Boch Center on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Humans is a play about fear and the ways we humans navigate them. Brigid(Daisy Egan) and Rich (Luis Vega) are hosting Thanksgiving in their first adult apartment in Manhattan. Sister Aimee (Therese Plaehn) has recently broken up with the love of her life. Parents, Deirdre (Pamela Reed) and Erik (Richard Thomas) have brought grandma Momo (Lauren Klein). Regardless of their troubles, everyone is determined to have a nice time. Continue reading

Mar 09

“The Hotel Nepenthe”: Here’s looking at you and you and your other you, kid kid kid…

Photo by Maggie Hill Photography

Presented by The Brown Box Theatre
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Alex Lonati
Produced by Kyler Taustin

March 9-11, 2018 in Massachusetts
Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress St., Boston
March 15, 2018 in Princess Anne, MD
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
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Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, MA) It was a wintry evening in Boston’s Financial District and, as the audience moseyed into the lobby of an office building with wet snow piled upon our hats and coats, we found our seats to the soundtrack of bubbly theme songs from classic pre-1970s television and cinema. There were themes from Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and that kicky rendition of the Charleston dance song as featured in It’s A Wonderful Life (1940s).

Once seated and ready for the performance, patrons sat with our four actors lounging around the small stage space in short leopard-print bathrobes. Hm? Earlier in the week, I told a pal that I was going to see a play by John Kuntz, and their heads-up was “John Kuntz? His stuff is weird but wonderful!” And yes, very immediately, with the bouncy lyrics of “The Ballad of Gilligans Island” promising a fateful trip, I knew I was in for a theatrical adventure. Continue reading

Mar 06

Laughing Together to Confront Suicide Stigma: “Every Brilliant Thing”

Krstansky with audience members. Those happy faces tell you all you need to know. Maggie Hall Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Duncan MacMillan
With Jonny Donahoe
Directed by Marianna Bassham
Featuring Adrianne Krstansky

March 21 – 31, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Every Brilliant Thing is a story about a woman’s appreciation for living as told through a long list of joys. Audience participation is nearly mandatory. Adrianne Krstansky is so welcoming that volunteering is fun. The Calderwood Pavilion is a safer space for an hour.   Continue reading

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
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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

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
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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

Feb 09

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: Sunday, February 11, 3pm

Boston, MA — World Music/CRASHarts presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Sunday, February 11, 3pm at Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge. Tickets are $48, $37, $32, and $28, reserved seating. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at
(Cambridge, MA) With the power of gospel and the precision of Broadway, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the undisputed king of mbube, South African a cappella singing. The group came together in the early 1960s and continues to thrill audiences around the world with its strong, proud melodies harmonized in layers of call and response.

Continue reading

Feb 08

Rooted and Roots-less: “KNYUM”

Photo by Meghan Moore.


Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Vichet Chum
Directed by KJ Sanchez

Venue: 50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
January 10 – February 4, 2018
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) We owe our individual existences to thousands of coincidences in history, but our identities are forged through careful curation. Many find their identities come preformed for them, whether
they like it or not, but some, like second-generation immigrants, must sort early in life through
conflicting information and cultural influences to find who they are. Continue reading

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

Jan 25

Subvert Everything; 1 Critique and 1 Op-Ed: “Proof”

Photo: Forden Photography. Design: Bird Graphics; Featuring Michael Tow & Lisa Nguyen.

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
Written by David Auburn
Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon

Jan. 18 – Feb. 18, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Introduction: Below are two pieces in response to The Nora Theatre’s production currently playing at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. First is my critique of the production. The second is an opinionated response from fellow Geek Noelani Kamelamela. I asked Noelani to write a response to the production because representation is important. Three out of four cast members of Proof are Asian-American. This is significant because David Auburn didn’t factor race into his writing process. This means white was his default. No one gets extra credit for treating people of color like human beings. The Nora does get kudos for subverting the racial paradigm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“In a good proof there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The argument takes so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seems so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching consequences; but there is no escape from the conclusions.”  – G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology

(Cambridge, MA) The stigma around mental illness remains sharp. The Nora Theatre’s production of Proof doesn’t tackle this stigma so much as wait until the audience is pliable and then viciously assault it. It isn’t gentle but it is effective.   Continue reading