Apr 08

Sing Along with the Common People: BOUNCERS

Cantab Lounge, Club Bohemia
Cambridge, MA
April 5th – April 27th, 2013
Stickball Productions Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge) At times, beautiful, sassy and hypnotic, at times purposely pointless, crass and heartbreaking, the play Bouncers hits all the right notes to catch the highs and lows of a night of clubbing.  If you were an anthropologist and wanted to study the alcohol-fueled mating rituals of  the young, you wouldn’t find a more accurate snapshot than these 1.5 hours of traffic playing at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge. Continue reading

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Feb 01

Comedy Without a Net: THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS

Photo Credit: ArtsEmerson

Photo Credit: ArtsEmerson

Written by Carlo Goldoni
Adapted by Constance Congdon
Further adapted by Steven Epp and Christopher Bayes
From a Translation by Christina Sibul
Directed by Christopher Bayes

presented by Yale Repertory Theatre with ArtsEmerson

The Paramount Theater
Boston, MA
January 29th – February 10th, 2013
ArtsEmerson Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

In the 18th century, playwrights had to walk a fine line if they were going to earn their bread, as their plays had to appeal simultaneously to both the washed and unwashed.  A play had to allow both illiterate farmers and literate aristocracy to connect with the story and side with the protagonists.  A playwright needed to find a common denominator in a story and then layer it with tidbits that resonated with segments of the audience. Continue reading

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Jan 20

Wistful Grief: SHAKESPEARE’S WILL

 

Seana McKenna as Anne Hathaway. Photo by Meghan Moore

Seana McKenna as Anne Hathaway. Photo by Meghan Moore

by Vern Thiessen
Directed by Miles Potter
Composed by Marc Desormeaux

presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre

50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, Massachusetts 01852
January 10th – February 3rd, 2012
Merrimack Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) William Shakespeare may have done more than any writer of his time to examine both internal and external human drama, but he ducked the fight when it came to his own family; so goes the premise of Shakespeare’s Will, the taut and layered production now playing at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. The Bard may get the headlines in the play’s title, but it is his absence that is the singular event that shapes the life of his wife, Anne Hathaway, who is the only character in this beautifully lonely one-woman play. Through the brave performance of Seanna McKenna, we are reminded that even in the shadow of greatness the drama of everyday is enough to create volumes of literature. Continue reading

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Dec 31

Embracing the Flaws: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

Stratton McCrady Photography; the cast getting funky with Shakespeare.

Stratton McCrady Photography; the cast getting funky with Shakespeare.

presented by Actors Shakespeare Project

Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street,
Somerville, MA
December 12th, 2012 – January 6th, 2012
Actors Shakespeare Project Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Somerville) Because Shakespeare has become the standard by which Western theatre is judged, we often forget that the man first had to feel his way in the dark, just like every other art school wannabe.  Two Gentlemen of Verona, believed by some to be the Bard’s first play, shows frustrating snatches of his future brilliance.  All his trademark comedic pieces are there (cross-dressing women, inconstant lovers and the amazing power of the wilderness to right all wrongs), but this script reads like the man was working on deadline.  Themes are picked up and discarded, wordplay only sporadically catches fire and a plot point in the final act makes you want to bang Shakespeare’s head against the floorboards and scream, “Rewrite!” Continue reading

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Dec 25

Close to a Classic: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Photo: Mark Linehan* & Erin Brehm. Credit: David Costa.

Photo: Mark Linehan* & Erin Brehm. Credit: David Costa.

presented by Stoneham Theatre

adapted for the stage and directed by Weylin Symes

395 Main St. Stoneham, MA
November 23rd through December 23rd, 2012
Stoneham Theatre Facebook Page

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Stoneham) In an interview in Time Magazine, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar once quipped that every mistake he made in his first film became his signature “style” in subsequent ones. The holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life doesn’t stand the test of time because it is perfect, but because of its many flaws. It is a holiday redemption story told by director Frank Capra at his most moody, and one can see why it bombed in its inaugural run at the movie houses. The script moves in a disjointed style, with a biblical fable serving as tacked-on bookends to a dark meditation on inequality in America. If not for Capra’s bold and technically-accomplished direction and the performance of a lifetime by Jimmy Stewart, the movie would be a laugher by now.

Stoneham Theatre’s staging of Weylin Symes’ theatrical adaption of Capra’s screenplay may have seemed like a safe end-of-year choice, and crowds have come in droves to see the spirited production, but this is as difficult a script as some of Shakespeare’s obscure works, and director Caitlin Lowans fails to navigate this production around many pitfalls. If not for Mark Linehan’s heart-on-sleeve performance as the desperate George Bailey and near-universal knowledge of the iconic storyline, this staging would have derailed. Continue reading

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Dec 07

Pinch Yourself: “La Belle et la Bête”

The gate isn’t real. Shocking, right?

 

Presented by Lemiex Pilon 4D Art and Theatre du Nouveau Monde
Created and directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon
Created and written by Pierre Yves Lemieux
Translated by Maureen LaBonte

ArtsEmerson
Dec 5 – 9, 2012
Cutler Majestic Theater
Boston, MA

Theatre du Nouveau Monde Facebook Page
ArtsEmerson Facebook Page
Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Lemieux Pilon 4D Art’s La Belle et la Bête (The Beauty and the Beast) is a masterpiece in technical design. The entire team draws from tradition as well as modern (pop culture) references to create this multi-disciplinary performance piece. This is easily the most awe-inspiring, visually stunning productions you will see all year. Continue reading

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Nov 13

indiegogo Campaign: “From Denmark With Love”

Vaquero Playground: Fun, Cheap, Dirty Plays made just for Boston.
FROM DENMARK WITH LOVE,
May 10 – June 1, 2013
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Vaquero Playground Facebook Page

WHO WE ARE and WHAT We’re Doing:
In Spring of 2013 Vaquero Playground will be bringing it’s biggest production yet: FROM DENMARK WITH LOVE, a mash-up parody of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the one and only Bond, James Bond.
Written by John J King, the play stars Boston rising legend Daniel Berger-Jones and is directed by Barlow Adamson.

What We Need
Funds raised for the project will go primarily to the hard-working cast, crew, and creative team.  But just as importantly, the monies will go towards making sure the show is as BIG, bold, and exciting as it’s sources demand.
$3000 will go towards stipends for artists.
$3000 will go towards set, costumes, props, and necessary rehearsal space.

THREE WAYS TO HELP!
1. Toss us some Cash!
2. Spread the word!  Post the video on Facebook and Twitter; email friends; help us tell the world what we’re doing!
3. LIKE us on Facebook – best way to keep tabs on the show and everything from Vaquero Playground!

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Oct 18

“Alice in Wonderland” but on More Meth: “The Lily’s Revenge”

Photo credit: www.GretjenHelene.com; Lily and the Mary’s shaking what their mother, Time, gave them.

Written and Conceived by Taylor Mac
Composed by Rachelle Garniez

presented by American Repertory Theatre
OBERON
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
October 12, 2012 to October 28, 2012

A.R.T. Facebook Page

The Lily’s Revenge is the epic nursery rhyme turned homo-rific, drag-tastic fairy tale of Lily, an ordinary houseplant, who undertakes to be more than what others make him to be. His is a delicious allegory/metaphor/cautionary tale/simile/hyperbole/paradox that spans 4+ hours of dance, drama and breakage of the 4th wall that warns never to settle for less than what you want. Even if that means shedding the skin of who you think you are to become who you are truly meant to be. Continue reading

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