Oct 09

Cream Soda to Crème de Menthe: “Queens Girl in the World”

Photo credit to Nile Scott; Image shows Jasmine M. Rush in Queens Girl in the World, sitting on a swing. Behind her, the set, which predominantly features a large, white house, is lit with a mixture of purple and orange lights. In the scene, Jasmine’s character is smiling happily.

Co-produced by The Nora@Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, and The Hangar Theater
Written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Performed by Jasmine M. Rush

September 30 – October 31, 2021
Streaming link
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: abuse, grooming 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — There is a practice in the UK that I absolutely love: you can purchase a copy of the show you’re there to see at the bar. Going to see a new play? Buy a copy of it with your Malbec. Attending the show alone? Peruse your new copy while sipping Chardonnay at intermission. (Or Diet Coke if you’re reviewing.) 

In the case of last night’s Queens Girl in the World, I wanted to buy and immediately read the entire Queens Girl Trilogy: Queens Girl in the World, Queens Girl in Africa, Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains. Character Jacqueline Marie Butler, written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, is so captivating I want to know more about her.  Continue reading

Oct 06

Better to Take the Risk:”The Skriker”

Emma Tayce Palmer in the title role. Photo via Entropy Theatre on Facebook.

Presented by Entropy Theatre
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Joe Juknievich and Kayleigh Kane
Performed by Emma Tayce Palmer, Jamie Lin, Sydney Grant, Demi DiCarlo, Julia Hertzberg, Tim Hoover, Ryan Lemay

Sept. 30 – Oct 2, 2021
Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 2021
Entropy Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Entropy Theatre reopened to sold-out performances last weekend. Its production of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker was imperfect but bold. It took great risks. Sometimes those risks paid off; sometimes they didn’t. What matters is that Entropy Theatre didn’t let perfection get in the way of telling an important story and having a good time. 

Cuddle me with your entrails. Barguest by Earlnoir on Deviant Art.

According to Britannica.com, the Lancashire striker was a monstrous specter hound. “Its broad, sometimes backward-pointing feet made a splashing noise, and it howled horribly,” says the site. Those who saw it were marked for death. There was no way out of it. The UK gave the dog many names: the Demon of Tidworth, the Black Dog of Winchester, the Padfoot of Wakefield, the Barghest of Burnley, Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness, and Cwn Annwn, the Dogs of Hell. It wasn’t some snuggly pup looking for a cuddle.  Continue reading

Oct 04

Trust Your Gut: “The Sound Inside”

Jennifer Rohn and Nathan Malin in SpeakEasy Stage’s production of The Sound Inside. Photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Adam Rapp
Directed by Bryn Boice
Cast: Nathan Malin, Jennifer Rohn

Sept. 24 – Oct. 16, 2021
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook
SpeakEasy’s COVID-19 protocols

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of self-harm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.” 

– From The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes

BOSTON, Mass. — In watching SpeakEasy’s production of The Sound Inside, I was reminded of Roland Barthes’ infamous essay, The Death of the Author. The Death of the Author is an essay that argues for stripping an author’s intentions and personal biography from a reader’s interpretation of their writing. A reader should separate the author from their art. 

Barthes says writing is intended to be read by others. Regardless of the author’s intentions, the reader will formulate their own understanding of the work. The reader’s interpretation is no less valid than the author’s.  Continue reading

Sep 30

Some Things Do Matter: “Be Here Now”

The cast; Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Boston
By Deborah Zoe Laufer 
Directed by Courtney O’Connor 
Intimacy direction by Ted Hewlett
Original compositions and sound design by Dewey Dellay

Sept. 24 – Oct. 17, 2021
Lyric Stage Company of Boston
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric Stage on social media: Facebook, Twitter 
The Lyric’s COVID-19 Policy

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mas.. — Be Here Now is the Lyric Stage Company’s first in-person show since society came crashing down in March 2020. Its characters navigate nihilism. It is with a spirit of cheerful nihilism that this critique is written. 

Bari (Samantha Richert) is a nihilist. She teaches she used to teach nihilism at a New York university. She moved to her parents’ rural cottage in her hometown to finish her dissertation – ten years ago.  In those ten years, Bari has burrowed more deeply into her nihilism like a frog in the mud for winter. She’s so convinced that life is meaningless that she’s unconcerned when she passes out from one of her recurring headaches.  Continue reading

Sep 23

“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992:” An Ongoing American Saga

Photo via www.newtontheatrecompany.com

Presented by Newton Theatre Company
Written by Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by Rosalind Bevan
Starring Regan Sims 
Online program

September 17-18, 8 PM
September 19, 2 & 8 PM
Hyde Community Bandshell
Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands
Newton Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

NEWTON, MA ⸺ Almost three decades after its premiere, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 still holds truth to issues of race and class in America. Despite years after the 1992 LA riots, we are stuck in a vacuum where we have yet to include and acknowledge the context, text, and subtext of the ways in which racism and institutional systems prevail and create distance in making progress in the United States. Anna Deavere Smith’s use of verbatim theatre fights against this and creates conversation; giving a platform for those heavily affected.

Sitting outside in dark, grey weather, the atmosphere began light-hearted. Community members greeted and welcomed each other before the rain began to drizzle. Enter, Regan Sims: tall, poised, and quiet. Continue reading

Sep 21

Don’t Hate the Players, Hate the Stage: Shit-Faced Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

One of the SGS: AMSND casts; Photo credit- Nile Scott Studio.

Presented by Shit-faced Shakespeare®
The Saturday night cast:
Compere (the host)- Tyler Rosati
Hermia- Elizabeth Hartford
Demetrius- Evan Turissini
Lysander- Sam Fidler
Helena- Grace Graham
Puck- Brett Milanowski
Lights and sound- Sarah Morin

Sept. 16 – Dec. 4 at 7PM
The Rockwell Theater
Davis Square
Somerville, MA
SFS social media: shitfacedshake; Sfacedshakespeare.us

Review by Kitty Drexel

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The premise of Shit-Faced Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is simple: there’s a cast of five actors performing an abridged version of Shakespeare’s play. One of them is very drunk. The drunk actor changes every performance, as does the cast. A mediator, the Compere (Tyler Rosati), opens the show and keeps the drunk person on task. 

Before the show, the Compere gives the audience three tools to make the performance more interesting. A gong and cowbell, when played, mandate that the drunkard must imbibe another drink. A bucket is employed when the drunkard has had too much. It assumed that the gong and bell are used once each but the trove of onstage beverages kept for this purpose held many more than two. A bucket-holder, bless them, will know if the bucket is needed more than once from the muffled sounds of discomfort echoing from the drunkard.  Continue reading

Sep 15

Is the Rhythm Nation Unionized? Or, Fun is Fun: Amazon’s “Cinderella” 

Produced by Amazon Studios 
Director and writer Kay Cannon
Musical score by Mychael Danna and Jessica Rose Weiss
Cinematography by Henry Braham
Film Editing by Stacey Schroeder
Songs arranged by Keith Harrison
Score performed by Synchron Stage Orchestra
Conducted by Johannes Vogel
Choreography by Ashley Wallen

Review by Kitty Drexel

Amazon — The new Cinderella by Amazon Studios and Kay Cannon is receiving many bad reviews. Cinderella isn’t bad. It’s mediocre. It’s Glee

This Cinderella is written for and appeals to a new generation of consumers. It’s not for us; it’s for a population of The Voice fans who skim Instagram as they tweet their deepest thoughts.

It’s sexist and racist. Women are still degrading themselves for men. The leads and most secondary characters are majority white. England is so busy attempting to correct its inherent classism that it can’t cast BIPOC as leads in the stories it appropriates. (It’s not enough to put non-white people in mainstream movies and TV. You’ve got to let them tell their own stories.)  Continue reading

Sep 04

Pawpaw Trees are the Gateway to Orgiastic Ritual: “Hurricane Diane”

Jennifer Bubriski, Kris Sidberry, Esme Allen, Marianna Bassham, and Rami Margron “Hurricane Diane” Photo: Nile Hawver

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Madeleine George
Directed by Jenny Koons 
Original music and sound design by Ben Scheff
Voice coaching by Christine Hamel
Intimacy Consultant: Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

The Playbill
August 27 – September 26, 2021
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 
527 Tremont Street 
Boston MA 02116
The Huntington on social media: @huntington

PLEASE NOTE: This production includes strobe lighting effects and a simulated thunderstorm.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

– Dorothy Parker, theatre critic, poet & hero

BOSTON, Mass. — Hurricane Diane is fun and topical. It smacks of “The Witches of Eastwick.” Please go see it. 

It is recommended that attendees get vaccinated. Everyone must wear a mask (even performers when not actively performing). It’s not just your friendly, neighborhood theatre critic telling you, it’s also on The Huntington’s website

There are two sets of ushers after the BCA’s Box Office waiting to assist patrons into the theater. The first set of BCA staff will confirm your vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. It behooves you to have this info at the ready so one doesn’t create a traffic jam.  Continue reading

Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Oct 07

The Broadway Facts of Life: “42nd Street”

PREVIEW: The Umbrella Stage Company Presents 42nd Street from The Umbrella on Vimeo.

Presented by The Umbrella Stage Company 
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble
Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes
Directed by Brian Boruta
Music direction by James Murphy
Musical restaging and new choreography by Lara Finn Banister

September 27 – October 20, 2019
The Umbrella Main Stage 
Concord, MA
The Umbrella Stage on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Concord, MA) 42nd Street is a show-within-a-show jukebox musical serving as a thinly veiled excuse to pair tap dance with 1930’s Broadway hits. The 1933 Depression-era movie had choreography by Busby Berkeley and was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie (and eventually the musical) has deeply impacted musical theatre. Bullets Over Broadway, Kiss Me Kate and other backstage musicals have all been influenced by 42nd Street’s incarnations. It’s a classic but carries with it the problems of its time.   Continue reading