Mar 31

Uneven Edits: CUT

Alyce Householter, Liz Rimar, Stewart Evan Smith Jr — photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre

Cut by Crystal Skillman, Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, 3/30/12-4/21/12, http://www.apollinairetheatre.com/ productions/productions.html, in repertory with Smudge by Rachel Axler.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea, MA) Reality programming might be so attractive to TV. watchers because its slick production values and clean edits hold out the hope that we can make some sense out of life. As the central protagonists of our own dramas, we want the chance for playbacks and edits to gain some introspection, or at least to come off looking good. But as the characters of Chelsea Theatre Works’ Cut learn, God is a lousy editor, and life doesn’t wrap up neatly when the cameras stop rolling.

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Mar 29

Textured Clowning: TOMÁŠ KUBÍNEK: CERTIFIED LUNATIC & MASTER OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

Photo Credit: d.a. Hill

TOMÁŠ KUBÍNEK: CERTIFIED LUNATIC & MASTER OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, ArtsEmerson, Paramount Theatre, 3/29/12-4/1/12, http://alturl.com/255s3.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) Funny is a funny thing.  You can be mean and be funny.  You can shock and be funny.  You can do knock-knock jokes and be funny, at least to a five-year old.  Or you can just be super-talented, a bit caustic and kind of weird and be funny.  Tomáš Kubínek has chosen the last option to deliver a memorable and nicely brief one-man show for ArtsEmerson at the Paramount Theatre. Continue reading

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Mar 25

‘Deported’ dreams fragrant hope

Bobbie Steinbach and Jeanine Kane, photo credit: Boston Playwrights' Theatre

Deported, A Dream Play by Joyce Van Dyke, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 3/8/12-4/1/12, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) An American rose does not smell as sweet as an Armenian rose; that’s what Joyce Van Dyke tells us.  The Armenian-American culture is extremely prevalent in the Metro Boston area, particularly in Watertown where the Armenian Library and Museum is located, and has been trying to get the world to recognize the genocide in Armenia from 1915, when there were several massacres.  “Armenian men were rounded up and killed.  Then the women and children were ‘deported’ on a death march through the desert,” Van Dyke writes in the program.  And as the hundredth anniversary approaches, the genocide is still denied by Turkey, but Van Dyke writes of the hope of recognition and reconciliation in the near future. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Lovely Confusion: MRS. WHITNEY

Deirdre Madigan, Photo by Meghan Moore

Mrs. Whitney by John Kolvenbach, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 3/15/12-4/8/12, http://www.merrimackrep.org/season/show.aspx?sid=107.

Reviewed by Kate Lonberg-Lew

(Lowell, MA) Unless you are lucky enough to have met your soulmate at fifteen and lived happily ever after (and if you have, please take a moment to pinch yourself and make sure you’re real) then you will relate to the feelings of loneliness, love and the existence of your own romantic Achilles heel in this superb production of Mrs. Whitney at the Merrimack Repertory Theater in Lowell. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Pride and Prejudice: Stage Proves a Better Home for the Classic Satire Than Film

Pride and Prejudice, based on the novel by Jane Austen, adapted by Elizabeth Hunter, Theatre@First, Somerville Theatre, 3/22/12-3/31/12,   http://www.theatreatfirst.org/shows/pride_prejudice/pride_prejudice.shtml.

 

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Elizabeth Hunter adapts, directs, and brings an enormously funny Pride and Prejudice to the stage.  Longtime Austen-fans should rejoice at their good fortune.  The thorough play is probably closest to my own imagining of the classic 1813 novel.

The book is a smart satire of the husband-hunting rat race that young women engaged in during the Georgian Era when inheritances were more likely to pass to sons.  Continue reading

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Mar 22

‘Ma Rainey’ Sings the Music of the Soul

Yvette Freeman and Corey Allen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson, Huntington Theatre Company, 3/9/12-4/8/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10262&src=t.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Music breathes and pulses as each note is played.  The blues provide a voice for the inexpressible feelings of the human experience.  The blues celebrate the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life in its entirety; it is neither surprising that the blues came out of the African American spiritual tradition, nor that soul, r&b, and hip-hop were derived from the blues and at the core of the best is the heart and soul of the artist.  What happens when that soul is taken away?  Can the heart survive?

This question permeates the existence of each of the characters in August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black BottomContinue reading

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Mar 20

The Man From Earth: A Mystery of History

Photo by Reid Gilman

Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth by Richard Schenkman, Hovey Players, 3/9/12-3/24/12, http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/jerome-bixby%E2%80%99s-the-man-from-earth/.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Waltham, MA) The phrase “history is written by the victors” is a saying that shows a built in flaw in the study of our past. The idea that a subject that must be completely impartial and factual is weakened when records that are worked with could be exaggerated at some points and completely falsified at others. This concept of incomplete information is the main theme of Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth, the science fiction mystery piece currently being performed by Waltham’s The Hovey Players at The Abbot Memorial Theater. Continue reading

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Mar 19

Scenes from the Mausoleum: THE MOURNERS’ BENCH

Trinity Rep resident company members Phyllis Kay (Caroline) and Janice Duclos (Wilma) in The Mourners’ Bench, a world premiere by George Brant, directed by Michael Perlman. Now playing at Trinity Repertory Company as part of the Three by Three in Rep. Sets by Michael McGarty, Costumes by William Lane, Lighting by Dan Scully. Photo by Mark Turek.

The Mourner’s Bench by George Brant, Trinity Repertory Company, 3/7/12-5/24/12, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/mb.php.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Providence, RI) A moment of violence can leave its mark on many, including those who never experienced it.  The Trinity Repertory Company’s production of The Mourner’s Bench bravely tries to examine a traumatic event through three disparate lenses that traverse time and family, but the effort ultimately fails to create a cohesive vision of loss and healing.  Continue reading

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Mar 18

An Imperfect Study of Grief : LOVE ALONE

Trinity Rep resident company member Anne Scurria as Helen and Brown/Trinity Rep MFA actor Leah Anderson as Clementine (foreground) in Love Alone by Deborah Salem Smith. Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Deborah Salem Smith, this world premiere drama is now playing at Trinity Repertory Company as part of the Three by Three in Rep. Sets by Michael McGarty, Costumes by William Lane, Lighting by Dan Scully. Photo by Mark Turek.

Love Alone by Deborah Salem Smith, Trinity Repertory Company, 2/28/12-5/27/12, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/st.php,

Reviewed by Kate Lonberg-Lew

(Providence, RI)  

When someone you love dies unexpectedly, you struggle with grief. And so does the cast of Love Alone at the Trinity Repertory Company. Unfortunately, they also struggle to portray the nuance and rawness of the emotions that course through a person and a family at times such as these. Continue reading

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Mar 18

Apocalypse Weird: BOOM

Photo by Peter Goldberg

BOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtreib, Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre, 3/8/12-4/8/12,

http://www.gammtheatre.org/OurSeason/Season2720112012/Boom/tabid/
332/Default.aspx
contains nudity.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Pawtucket, RI) Every creation story has a few holes in it, be it the Big Bang or the Garden of Eden.  (I will now pause for defenders of said creation stories to get snippy.)  But few creation stories have holes as absurdly funny as in the play Boom, which is now playing at the Gamm Theatre in Rhode Island.

Boom may best be described as what happens after you have to back up your statement of “Not if you were the last person on Earth.”  Continue reading

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