Mar 07

Gallivanting Amongst the Cakes: CAKEWALK

Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images

Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images, contestants and their cakes

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
Written by Colleen Curran
Directed by David J. Miller

Feb. 26 – March 19, 2016
Plaza Back Box
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It is Independence Day 1984. The ladies of a small town in Vermont have won a place in the annual cakewalk competition and are patiently awaiting the critique of guest judge, Julia Child. First prize is a glamorous trip for two to Paris, France. Among the other prizes are a lifetime supply of flour and accolades from the citizenship for an entire year. Most of the gang looks forward to the friendly competition. Ruby Abel (Kelley Estes) is out for blood. Ready to slow down her paranoid manipulations are fellow contestants Martha (Aina Adler), Augusta (Maureen Adduci) and Leigh (Victoria George). Taylor (Matt Fagerberg) just wants to find the registration room. Each has their own secrets to keep and insecurities to air. A seemingly safe summer fair turns into a conundrum of colliding small town politics. 
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Mar 03

“Richard II”: Spoiled Man-Boy King Destroys Himself in Simple Production

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

ASP Richard II (l to r) Northumberland (Marya Lowry), King Richard II (Doug Lockwood), Bishop of Carlisle (Malcolm Ingram), Bolingbroke (Michael Forden Walker), and Henry Percy (Lewis D. Wheeler). Photo by Stratton McCrady

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

Feb. 17-March 13, 2016
Cambridge YMCA
Cambridge, MA
ASP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Richard II is not about a Danish prince languishing over a ghost’s warnings or an elderly king like Lear, mad with grief due to age and family strife. No, this is a story about the abuses of power and a complex man who both understands why he must give up his throne but is honest enough to admit to himself that he just really, really doesn’t want to. Continue reading

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Feb 29

Boxer Shorts II, “From Water to Dust”: Ashes to Ashes

Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots, "Tape"

Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots, “Tape”

Boxershorts, A Cycle of Short Plays: “From Water to Dust” (Del Agua al Polvo)
Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project and Icaro Compania Teatral
Directed by Talia Curtin and Kyler Taustin
Plays by Jose Rivera, Nilo Cruz, Maria Irene Fornes, Caridad Svich
Brown Box on Facebook

BOSTON
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St
Feb 26-28 & Mar 4-6, 2016

SALISBURY
Headquarters Live
115 S Division St
March 10, 2016

OCEAN CITY
Center for the Arts
502 94th Street
March 11-14, 2016

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Brown Box Theatre presents Boxer Shorts: From Water to Dust (Del gua al polvo) in collaboration with  Icaro Compania Teatral. It’s a short evening, say 50 minutes to an hour, of work from playwrights we don’t see a lot of in Boston: Jose Rivera, Nilo Cruz, Maria Irene Fornes, and Caridad Svich. From science fiction to abstract drama, It’s a nice change of pace. While not 100% reflective of the work by these playwrights, it’s an introduction to their work. It’s enough to give the audience motive to seek out more. Continue reading

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Apr 25

Integrity Sells for So Little: CITY OF ANGELS

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Yaron Gershovsky
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography & musical staging by Rachel Bertone

March 27 – May 2, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) City of Angels pays homage to film noir with tongue firmly in cheek sexual innuendo and integrated design film tropes. The Lyric Stage Co. of Boston brings life to this beloved musical with panache and two shakes of wit with inspired clever projection design by Jonathan Carr and zippy choreography by Rachel Bertone. This production is great fun. The book and lyrics are clever. The score, vocal and instrumental, is inherently singable. The artistic upsides far outweigh the downsides. An evening spent at COA is one well spent. Continue reading

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Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

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Apr 01

You Won’t Sit in Solemn Silence: THE MIKADO

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Presented by The Hypocrites
By Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney

March 31 – April 5, 2015
Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Hold onto your hats, the Hypocrites are back at the Oberon. The Mikado is alive, vivacious, and everything a modern audience could ask for from Gilbert and Sullivan unplugged. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Joe Orton
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Dialect coaching by Meredith Stypinski
Fight choreography by Johnnie McQuarley

March 27-April 12, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Playwright Joe Orton was an out gay man at a time when it was not only unfashionable but also highly illegal. Orton died in August 1967. Just one month shy of the passing of Britain’s Sexual Offences Act (amendment), which made acts such as kissing, hand holding, or plain old love between two men legal in the privacy of one’s home (it was still illegal to be homosexual in public. Baby stepping progress is still progress). Orton further pushed the hetero-normative envelope by incorporating his penchant for personal freedom in his writings. Orton’s flagrant disdain for authority and hypocritical social ethics are on proud display in Hub Theatre Co’s production of Loot. Orton’s script is not successful as art but it’s message rings profoundly clear: convention can go hang itself. Continue reading

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Mar 30

Two out of Three Ain’t Bad: “The Complete History of America (abridged)”

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Photo courtesy of Jon Niketh

Presented by Arts After Hours
Book by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor
Directed by James Tallach

March 27 – April 4
Rantoul Blackbox Theatre in LynnArts
25 Exchange Street, Lynn MA
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review by Daniel Rosvally

(Lynn, MA) Listen, I know why the “Complete Works [abrgd]” series appeals to small theatres. With their cast of three can-be-anybody no-need-to-gender-or-type-bend parts; quirky, witty, wordy, and smart humor; fast-paced whirlwind nature; and high-demand for low-budge props and costumes, they’re pretty low-maintenance shows from a production standpoint. The Complete History of America (abridged) follows in the steps of its forefathers as steadfastly as drinking Sam Adams. The crew at Lynn After Hours has done a decent job in presenting something chuckle-worthy, but I will say that patrons who enjoyed a glass of wine before the show laughed much more frequently and with more vivaciousness than those of us who were stone sober. Continue reading

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Mar 26

Stronger Than Fear: FROM THE DEEP

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PHOTO BY MARC J. FRANKLIN

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 12 – 28, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Boston Public Works on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) From the Deep is not about the war on terror. It’s not even about terrorists. It’s about two men attempting to do the best they can with the nasty cards they are dealt. In the realm in which we see them, there is only suffering or not suffering. So, they try to turn the moments in which they are not suffering into moments that are happy. Happiness becomes relative. So do stability and health. This production from Boston Public Works Theatre Co, is about Man’s capacity to understand existence within a capacity for pain. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Major and Minor Details: BIG FISH

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by John August
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture Written by John August
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Assistant Director Alex Lonati
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa

MAR 13 – APR 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St.
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy Big Fish. I did enjoy SpeakEasy’s production. The performances from the cast were, as always, exemplary but the script has many problems. Follow along as I list the major issues and make the conscious decision not to detail the minor ones. Continue reading

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