Mar 04

Clybourne Park: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Michael Kaye, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, DeLance Minefee, Paula Plum, and Tim Spears in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, running March 1-30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets/info at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

By Bruce Norris

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company

March 1 – March 30

Nancy & Edward Roberts Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Boston, MA

Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

A strong script elevates a performance or points out the flaws of the company.  Speakeasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park demonstrates its mastery through a strong ensemble, innovative set, and smart direction.  After seeing Clybourne Park, there is no question why this clever, dark play won at the Tony Awards in 2012.  When Boston sees Speakeasy Stage’s production, they will be talking about it for the rest of 2013 (Norton and IRNE awards in its future?).  The ensemble, comprised of Paula Plum, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, Tim Spears, DeLance Minefee, Michael Kaye, and Philana Mia, pulls the audience into a dynamic confrontation between politics and politeness that never apologizes Continue reading

Mar 03

A Night with “Metáfora”

Apologies to the cast and crew of Ballet Flamenco de Andulucia and World Music/CRASHarts! This review has been posted late to the compromised health of the Queen Geek. The work ethic of Mademoiselle Daniels is impeccable. 

Photo credit: Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia

Photo credit: Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia

Presented by World Music/CRASHarts Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía performing the US premiere of Metáfora Friday, March 1, 7:30pm, Saturday, March 2, 8pm and Sunday, March 3, 3pm Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, 219 Tremont St., Boston World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Page 

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía’s Metáfora begins with a live band and several female dancers taking the stage. They drag skirts of frothing layers but with the elegance of peacock tails sighing along the floor.

When the music begins, the flurry with which they dance continues through the rest of the show. For two acts, whether the stage is sparse or full, the energy is potent and seems to fill the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

For the first half of Metáfora, the audience is treated to unfiltered flamenco. Soloists Patricia Guerrero and Eduardo Leal are briefly isolated from the rest of the company, each doing their best to enflame the crowd. They are accompanied by the voices of Juana Salazar and Cristian Guerrero. The combination brings life to a stage that feels often very isolated.

 In the second half, the “ballet” part of the Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía becomes more prominent. The dancers, when the curtain rises, move in closer formation. The clothing is also more economical, meaning no more frothing skirts. Instead, viewers are treated to the addition of castanets.

Some of the dances drag here, though, where the first half seemed tighter. The pacing is off even if the dance still remains largely hypnotic. It all ends on a high note, the entire company taking the stage as they send the audience off.

I left Metáfora feeling content, but something about the set up felt too sterile to achieve the mood the company seemed to be aiming for. While I enjoyed the performance, I couldn’t help but wonder about the staging. It felt like the entire show was made for a stage at the center of a room, surrounded by people cheering on the dancers, not a stage up front divorced from the audience. The effect feels alienating. When showcasing a dance that feeds off Spanish culture and style, I hoped to be as engaged as I was the first moment the dancers of the Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía revealed themselves. I liked the show deeply but the moment of falling in love with it never came.

Mar 01

Heavy Stagecraft: STONES IN HIS POCKETS

Photo Credit: Lyric Stage Boston

Photo Credit: Lyric Stage Boston

By Marie Jones
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
140 Clarendon Street
Copley Square
Boston, MA
February 15th – March 16th, 2013
Lyric Stage Company Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Here’s an ambitious idea: Re-film a warm buddy movie like Good Will Hunting, but have Ben Affleck and Matt Damon play all the characters in the movie….oh, and make sure they have flawless accents that represent all that can be found in the United Kingdom, too. It’s either Oscar bait or an actor’s nightmare.

The Irish dramady Stones in his Pockets, now playing at the Lyric Stage Company, is weighed down by this ambitious premise. The production charges the strong cast of Daniel Berger-Jones and Phil Tayler with credibly populating the stage with a bevy of U.K and U.S. characters who, we are to believe, are trying to film a Hollywood movie in Ireland. Masochistically, the play even starts off by talking about how ridiculous actors are when they try to fake the Irish accent, just when the actors are warming up to said accent themselves. A production this ambitious must hit every right note to have a chance, and, unfortunately, there are missteps that weigh it down and never allow it to reach its lofty goals of stagecraft. Continue reading

Mar 01

Astonishing, Acrobatic Adaptation of “Metamorphosis”

Gisli Orn Gardarsson Photo Credit: Eddi

Gisli Orn Gardarsson
Photo Credit: Eddi

Presented by ArtsEmerson with Vesturport Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Based on the novella by Franz Kafka
Adapted and directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson and David Farr
Featuring Music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

The Paramount Center Mainstage
559 Washington St.
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

This production of Metamorphosis is imbued with a frantic energy. This is partially due to Gísli Örn Gardarsson, one of the directors and the main character of this adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel. Utilizing acrobatic skill and a set with plenty of footholds, Gardarsson plays Gregor Samsa.

Gregor’s family suffers after his transformation into a giant insect. In horror, they watch him crawl across the stage, aping a monster even though his human soul remains intact. Combining dark humor and a set split beautifully into two stages, this version of Metamorphosis is probably one of the most visually entrancing plays in Boston right now. Continue reading

Feb 26

PROMO: Lucky Plush Productions’ “The Better Half”: March 8th and 9th

C/O Lucky Plush Productions Facebook Page

C/O Lucky Plush Productions Facebook Page

PROMO: Lucky Plush ProductionsThe Better Half: March 8th and 9th

Gillian Daniels

Since 1999, the Chicago-based dance ensemble theater company, Lucky Plush Productions, has sought to marry humor and movement.  The Chicago Tribune has not been shy with its praise, describing the company as “full of amusing, varied and tireless dancing by a troupe of dancers who ably double as comics.”  During the weekend of March 8th, Lucky Plush will bring its combination of wit and whimsy to Boston with The Better Half.

The show is described as an adaptation of the cult-classic noir film, Gaslight (1944).  In the movie, following the murder of her aunt, a woman is manipulated into believing she is mentally unstable.  Most would wring this concept for parody and stop there. The Better Half, however, promises to energetically take this plot and mine it for humor, heart, and surprising turns.  It drives to comment on tension in domestic relationships and the claustrophobia of contemporary living.  The mix sounds promising. Continue reading

Feb 25

SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL of new work by Boston’s SEXIEST Playwrights

Heart & Dagger Productions
presents
SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL of new work by Boston’s SEXIEST Playwrights

This is NOT a family show. If you aren’t convinced after reading the summary, please seek (sexy or non sexy) therapeutic assistance.

Friday, March 1st @ 8pm – Saturday, March 9th @ 8pm
The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215
Heart & Dagger Productions Facebook Page

Monologues, scenes, and dances based on sexual desires, situations, and dreams by:
Silvia Graziano, Mary-Ann Greanier, MJ Halberstaldt, Craig Houk, John J King, Grant MacDermott, Lesley Ann Moreau, Rick Park, Joey C. Pelletier, Mary ElizaBeth Peters, Devon Scalisi, Cassie M. Seinuk, Jesse Wood

Directed by: Devon Scalisi, Elise Weiner Wulff, Jesse Wood, Mikey DiLoreto, Danielle Leeber Lucas & Joey C. Pelletier

Featuring:  Amy Meyer, Jesse Coleman, Melissa De Jesus, Chuong Pham, Josh Coleman, Mike Budwey, Noah Tobin, Joey C. Pelletier, Elise Weiner Wulff, Erin Rae Zalaski
& MORE

Feb 24

Melanie Garber’s Ephemeral Direction Of Dreams and Mysteries

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A Dream Play

Presented by Heart & Dagger Productions

By August Strindberg, Translated by Harry G. Carlson
Directed by Melanie Garber

February 22, 2013 to March 2, 2013
The Factory Theatre
791 Tremont Street, Boston

Directing Profile by Becca Kidwell

photo credit:  Drew Linehan

photo credit: Drew Linehan

Melanie Garber has a dancer’s sensibility of direction with Heart & Dagger Productions’ A Dream Play, but this is not a surprise.  She has shown this intricate direction in Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s Medea, Fresh Ink Theatre Company’s Priscilla Dreams The Answer, and Heart & Dagger’s Crave.  Not only does Ms. Garber make words come alive, but she also brings life to words. From the initial moments of each of the productions, she chooses specific, distinct movements that create the environment of the play. Continue reading

Feb 20

Ana Moura at Berklee Performance Center on March 16, 8PM

World Music/CRASHarts presents
Portugal’s fado star Ana Moura

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura's Facebook Page

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura’s Facebook Page

Saturday, March 16, 8pm ONLY
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Ave.,
Boston, MA
Ana Moura Facebook Page

Portuguese vocalist Ana Moura has emerged as a leading voice of traditional fado with her captivating interpretations of her country’s soulful answer to the blues. With a luxuriant voice and captivating stage presence, Moura has taken the art form in new directions and will be backed by Portuguese guitar, acoustic guitar, double bass, keyboards and drums.

Her mesmeric appeal radiates from within, even if you don’t know a syllable of Portuguese. Her ability to alternately whisper, growl and ring like a silver bell are the hallmarks of a fine singer.”—NPR Music

Continue reading

Feb 18

Everything is Possible and Likely: A DREAM PLAY

Heart & Dagger Productions

presents

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Expecting the unexpected = sexy and you know it.

 

Heart & Dagger Productions plunge into their 3rd Season with A DREAM PLAY by August Strindberg.  The production opens February 22, 2013 at The Factory Theatre, Boston, MA.

Agnes, a daughter of the Vedic god Indra, descends to Earth to bear witness to problems of human beings. Following the logic of a dream in which characters merge, locations change in an instant and a locked door recurs obsessively-A DREAM PLAY is a potent mix of Freud plus Alice in Wonderland. “The characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, dissolve and merge.”

Featuring:
Elizabeth Battey, Quentin James, Emily Kaye Lazzaro, Lauren Foster, Eric McGowan, Drew Linehan, Angel Veza, Michael Dix Thomas, Nicole Howard, Katie Drexel, Tony Dangerfield, Jenny Reagan, Erin Brehm, and Ryan Edlinger.

The world premiere of A DREAM PLAY was at The Swedish Theatre in 1907, six years after it was written. August Stringberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, painter, and poet.  He is the playwright of The Father, Miss Julie, and The Ghost Sonata.  During the 1890s he spent significant time abroad engaged in scientific experiments and studies of the occult.  Strindberg died in 1912 at the age of 63. Continue reading

Feb 11

Characters Takes Center Stage in “Glass Menagerie”

photo credit: Michael Lutch

photo credit:Michael Lutch

Presented by American Repertory Theater

By Tennessee Williams
Directed by John Tiffany
Choreography by Steven Hoggett

February 2, 2013 to March 17, 2013
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) In Tennessee Williams’s tragicomedy, The Glass Menagerie, my sympathy has often been with the antagonist, Amanda, here played by Cherry Jones.  Raised as a spoiled Southern belle given no higher goal than to be a wealthy wife, Jones’ Amanda has a sadly stunted maturity about her.  She isn’t prepared to deal with life outside the Antebellum South.  She’s at a loss when her children’s needs deviate so sharply from the accepted norms. Continue reading