May 22

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews

(Somerville, MA/NYC) Occasionally the New England Theatre Geek is invited to review plays. Theatre Communications Group (TCG) provides gratis paperback copies to NETG in exchange for objective reviews. The opinions stated here are not shared by TCG and are the author’s own. Continue reading

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Nov 23

Festive and Fun: “A Civil War Christmas: an American Musical Celebration”

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel
Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Nora Hussey

November 18 – 22
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesly, MA
WCT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Christmas theatre is a very specific genre that requires a very particular mix to make effective (or even palatable).  The recipe starts with good old-fashioned holiday cheer; add a dash of nostalgia, a hint of history, a generous helping of family values, and (of course) finish with a generous sprinkling of festive music.  Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration has all the necessary ingredients for the Christmas genre, but actually performing it requires a special touch.  The piece’s simplistic dialogue which features such tropes as characters telling you who they are before they begin to speak (“In the West Wing of the White House, President Lincoln’s maid was cleaning the floor…. Hi, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show tonight?”) that have the danger to edge this play towards the realm of children’s theatre cheesiness, or satirical campiness. Continue reading

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Jun 25

Sometimes A Snuggle is Just A Snuggle: “The Baltimore Waltz”

The Baltimore Waltz

presented by Theatre@First
by Paula Vogel
directed by Kamela Dolinova

June 20 – 29, 2013
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: This production contains graphic but hilarious simulations of sexual acts, and bastardizations of European clichés.

(Somerville) As a playwright, Paula Vogel has the unique opportunity to dedicate herself to exploring and understanding her brother Carl’s end of life circumstances. Carl tragically died of AIDS. Rather than use the written word to metaphorically weep bitterly and openly, Vogel instead channeled her uncommon sense of humor and tender affections for Carl into The Baltimore Waltz, an ode to love, loss and healing.

In the context of the play, Anna has contracted Acquired Toilet Disease (ATD). In “real life,” outside the context of Anna’s fictional imagination, Carl has contracted AIDS. By narrating a character living with a pretend disease created for comic relief, playwright Paula Vogel examines the urgency of life through the lens of incurable disease.While her characters “dance” through a trippy, Noir-influenced trip to Europe, life as we know it continues with its disastrous choreography. Continue reading

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