Mar 30

Preach the Gospel of Good Eating: “Clyde’s” at The Huntington

Left to right: Harold Surratt and April Nixon; Photo credit: Kevin Berne

Presented by The Huntington in co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Taylor Reynolds
Intimacy and fight consultant: Yo-El Cassell

March 24 – April 23, 2023
The Huntington Theatre
264 Huntington Ave. 
Boston, MA 02115
Digital Playbill

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — The Huntington reopens its doors to the public after a long hiatus for renovations with Clyde’s. It is written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Taylor Reynold. Performances run through April 23.

The facade of the Huntington Ave theater remains largely the same. It is as pristine and classic as Symphony Hall across the street, but there are some changes: the new front door is to the right of the old one. It is accessible to wheelchair users! A glowing sign lights the way to the new front door.  Continue reading

Mar 27

Choose Flying: “Wild Goose Dreams”

Jeffrey Song and Eunji Lim; Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Hansol Jung
Directed by Seonjae Kim
Intimacy choreography by Yo-El Cassell 
Original compositions by Jeffrey Song
Featuring: Amanda Centeno, Ciaran D’Hondt, Fady Demian, John D. Haggerty, Elaine Hom, Eunji Lim, Ryan Mardesich, Jeffrey Song.

March 17 – April 8, 2023
Roberts Studio Theatre 
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Run time is estimated to be 1:40 without intermission.  

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Wild Goose Dreams is a play with music by Hansol Jung and directed by Seonjae Kim. It is presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company and currently running at the Boston Center for the Arts. Audiences will encounter themes of loneliness, internet dependence, and censorship. 

Boston began its relationship with Wild Goose Dreams in May 2020 on Facebook Live during the Lockdown. Central Square Theater hosted a reading of Jung’s play with Underground Railway as part of its “Art is our Activism” series. Debra Wise directed a different cast (also led by Jeffrey Song!) that featured actor Michael Tow. Geek writer Diana Lu interviewed Tow after the reading for the blog. 

Shortly before the Lockdown, Company One performed Jung’s Wolf Play through February 2020 – just before lockdown began. Boston’s artists and audiences were ready for Jung’s work! History had other plans. 

At long last, SpeakEasy Stage Co brings Wild Goose Dreams, a play with musical vignettes, to Boston! (I bet it had some steep competition.) Wild Goose Dreams gets the New England premiere it deserves. We don’t have to wait any longer to see this play in person.  Continue reading

Mar 17

I Didn’t Make the World, I Just Live Here: Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington present “K-I-S-S-I-N-G”

Sharmarke Yusuf and Regan Sims; Photo: T Charles Erickson.

Presented by the Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington
Written by Lenelle Moïse
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Dramaturgy by Charles Haugland 
Choreography by Misha Shields
Intimacy consultant: Gregory Geffrard
Voice coaching by Christine Hamel, Rebecca Schneebaum
Cultural consultant: New England Aces

March 3, 2023 – April 2, 2023
The Calderwood Pavilion/BCA
Boston, MA 02116
2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission
Digital access to the filmed performance is available until April 16, 2023. 

Spoiler Alert: New England Theatre Geek discusses a central theme of K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Knowing this information shouldn’t ruin the play’s other surprises, character arcs, or ending. Your reaction to this plot point, how the characters react to it, and the audience’s reaction may teach you about your own inherent biases.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, MA —  The Huntington and The Porch must please update their summary for K-I-S-S-I-N-G. It no longer accurately describes the show. I thought there was going to be a lot more David Bowie and at least one quote from bell hooks. There are no pizza box art projects or fireworks displays. The co-production is/was highly anticipated. That part can stay.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G is a quasi-Cinderella story about the emotional and sexual awakening of Lala (Regan Sims), a young woman living on the edge of poverty who craves art, poetry, and the feel of warm, supportive arms around her. She lives with her emotionally stunted mother Dot (the ethereal Patrese D McClain who dominated the stage with her presence) and her little brother Max. Lala’s father Jack (James Milord) loves Lala like the sun loves the sparkle on the ocean’s waves, but he can only visit once a week. Continue reading

Mar 13

Show More, Explain Less: “POV: You Are An AI Achieving Consciousness”

Presented by CirqueSaw
Created by Nathan Leigh
Performed by Nicole Orabona

March 9-18, 2023
A Virtual Event
Zoom access required
40 Minutes

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ONLINE — I greatly respect artists who are involved in every aspect of the creation process of their art, but I don’t advise it. Creator Nathan Leigh is a multi-hyphenate who wrote, composed, directed, coded, and designed POV: You Are An AI Achieving Consciousness. Such intimacy with his work means he knows he can track every nuance and fine detail.

Such intimacy does not grant Leigh a fresh perspective or even moderate insight into glaring problems. In academic circles, this is when a professor would invite the dreaded reviewer #2 into the editing process.

Reviewer #2, in theory, should offer handy advice that a writer hasn’t considered. This is almost never the case in scientific circles. In artistic workshopping, it will be helpful if the artists are open-minded. It is in the spirit of creating thoughtful and mind-enriching art that I offer the following critique. Continue reading

Mar 05

Politically Stale Content v. Beautiful Production Work: “The Wife of Willesden”

Marcus Adolphy, Clare Perkins, George Eggay, Andrew Frame, and the company of “The Wife of Willesden.” Photo: Marc Brenner

A Kiln Theatre Production presented by the American Repertory Theater
Adapted by Zadie Smith, adapted from Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath”
Direction by Indhu Rubasingham
Composition and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham
Movement Direction by Imogen Knight
Fight Direction by Kev McCurdy
Voice & Dialect Coaching by Hazel Holder

February 25 – March 17
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets and Info

Critique by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

Cambridge, MA –Loud, rebellious female characters from classic literature are juicy fodder for feminist reclamation, and understandably so. For women and folks of marginalized gender identities, it’s rare to see ourselves reflected as complex human beings in historical texts, even if most of these surviving texts are by dead white men. Shakespeare, for instance, likely didn’t have radical feminist intentions when he wrote Taming of the Shrew. But, Kate’s story is reshaped and retold again and again and again, problematic parts and all, if only to prove to the world that yes, women like her always existed.

The Wife of Willesden, a Kiln Theatre Production currently running at the A.R.T., strives to continue in this tradition, reexamining with the titular character from Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath” (a tale from The Canterbury Tales) through a 21st century lens. The text was adapted (or translated, which I would argue is more accurate) by novelist Zadie Smith, with raucous, ensemble-driven direction by Indhu Rubasingham. Continue reading

Feb 28

Swing and a Miss: “The Great Leap”

Photo by Mark S Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Michael Hisamoto
Featuring Barlow Adamson, Jihan Haddad, Gary Thomas Ng, Tyler Simahk
Scenic Design: Baron E. Pugh
Costume Design: Seth Bodie
Lighting Designer: Michael Clark Wonson
Sound Design: Elizabeth Cahill

February 24 – March 19
140 Clarendon St
Boston MA 02116

Critique by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

BOSTON, MA — Sports are theatre: bodies are in motion, in the here-and-now of time and space, performing feats of incredible physical achievement, telling riveting stories about power and pathos. Staging sports-themed plays, therefore, offers inherent performative, spectacle-driven potential.

Unfortunately, the Lyric Stage’s production of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap doesn’t quite tap into. For only having four characters, The Great Leap is a surprisingly busy play, which makes the flatness of the production particularly noticeable: the script is full of entangled plot lines and intersecting themes, often to its detriment. Continue reading

Feb 20

A Wicked Awesome Tribute: “Make Way For Ducklings: the Musical”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
In partnership with Adventure Theatre MTC
Book by Sandra Eskin & Michael J. Bobbitt
Music and lyrics by William Yanesh
Adapted from the book by Robert McCloskey
Directed by Emily Ranii
Music directed by Jon Goldberg
Choreographed by Joy Clark 
Artistic Sign Language/ASL Coaching by Kelly Kim

Feb. 17 – March 12, 2023
Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University
180 Riverway
Boston, MA 02155
Open Captioning provided at all events 
Accessibility Performance Dates: March 5th, 2023 at 2:00 PM and March 11th, 2022 at 2:00

Run Time: 70 minutes with no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA —Wheelock Family Theatre’s Make Way For Ducklings: the Musical celebrates all things great about Boston. Sandra Eskin, Michael J. Bobbitt, & William Yanesh’s musical (based on the book by Robert McCloskey) pays loving homage to the many ways our city amazes and confounds tourists, townies, and even the most stalwart of proud New Englanders. This theatrical tribute is intended for families of all ages. It will surely charm the meanest of Boston bruisers so adults without wee ones should feel free to attend but mind their manners when they do.  Continue reading

Mar 19

I Need Your Hand on My Heart: “Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends”

Presented by ArtsEmerson and Sleeping Weasel
Written by Charlotte Meehan
Directed by Tara Brooke Watkins
Choreographed by Peter DiMuro
Videography by Lee Francois
Original composition “Alone Together” by Kirsten Volness

Live: March 12 – March 27, 2022
Streamed: April 1 – 10, 2022
Emerson Paramount Center
Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends by Charlotte Meehan is about people. People are confusing, leaky, wonderful, breakable creatures capable of great love and harrowing despair. 

This play is also about disability. We are introduced to Meehan’s characters and their relationships, and then we learn about their relationships to Parkinson’s Disease. People with disabilities are human first so it is right that we learn the world of the play in this order. 

In Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends, three imperfect couples navigate their relationships. We watch them live with Parkinson’s Disease. The persons with PD are surviving. The caretakers are too. Survival means something different to each couple. We learn what survival means at the same time they do.  Continue reading

Mar 07

Suck It, Hambone: “Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold”

Queen’s own photo from Chelsea Theatre Works.

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold
Presented as part of the Resident Artist Program at Chelsea Theatre Works.
Written by Libby Schap & Luke Robbins
Featuring: Lauren Foster, Lisa Joyce, Molly Kimmerling, Libby Schap

March 4-12, 2022
Fridays and Saturdays @8PM
Chelsea Theatre Works in the Black Box Theatre
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Covid19 policy: masks & vaccination are required

Review by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Naked lightbulbs hang from scaffolding over a raw black box stage. Their pull-chains gently sway from the motion of patrons choosing their seats. The naked stage leaves lots of room for the performance of Peggy Shippen is…, an enigmatic new play that’s running about ten minutes late.  

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold is a little weird, a lot unusual, and not boring. It borrows from Hamilton’s leftover hype and sidles up to the creative demands of Jordan Tannahill’s Theatre of the Unimpressed Continue reading

Feb 21

Hidey-Ho Rangerinos: “Rx Machina”

Anastasia Olowin, Robyn Unger; Photo by Stratton McCrady.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
By Caity-Shea Violette
Directed by Blair Cadden
Intimacy choreography by Jesse Hinson
COVID-19 Safety Management by Jay Eddy
Featuring: Anastasia Olowin, Robyn Unger, Lisa Tucker, Lila Heller, Isabel Van Natta
The digital program

February 17-27, 2022
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Rx Machina by Caity-Shea Violette is one of two plays about addiction currently running in Boston. It’s no coincidence. COVID-19 has decimated our mental health. 

The modern human, when faced with a medical crisis and no affordable solutions, will turn to legal and illegal self-medicating. The CDC’s website says that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis. The news, any channel, will confirm this statement.   Continue reading