Nov 16

A Crack in the Blue Wall” Enough to Make a Dent?

Photo credit: James Pierre

Photo credit: James Pierre

Presented by Hibernian Hall
Directed & Written by Jacqui Parker

November 6 -21, 2015
Hibernian Hall on Facebook
Black Lives Matter

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) The timeliness of Jacqui Parker’s play is not reflective of her knowledge of current events, but rather a sheer necessity in direct response to the fact that we still do not live in a post-racial society. A Crack in the Blue Wall pays tribute to the families of black youth who are being killed because, as poet Claudia Rankine explains in Citizen, white men can’t police their imagination. What surprised me most about the perspective of Parker’s show is the respect she showed for both the families of the deceased as well as the police force, which is too often blanketed as entirely corrupt. Continue reading

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Nov 16

Chronically Single: A Man’s Honest Attempt to Explain Singlehood

Photo of Randy Ross, writer and solo performer of "The Chronic Single's Handbook." Here, he offers one theory on why he is still single. Photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Photo of Randy Ross, photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Presented by OutPost 186
Written and Directed by Randy Ross

November 13, 15, 17, 21-22, 2015
OutPost 186 on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During a conversation I had with a friend recently, it was decided that us twentysomethings are in two categories: the kind that enjoys hooking up with no strings attached, and the kind that is self-aware of the fact that they are not ready to be in any kind of a relationship. So it was quite surprising for me to see that the same could be somewhat true for older singles in The Chronic Single’s Handbook. Continue reading

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Nov 09

“Next to Normal” a Next to Average Production

Photo provided by CCT Publicity

Photo provided by CCT Publicity

Presented by Curtain Call Theatre
Music by Tom Kitt
Book & Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Directed by Jim Sullivan
Musical direction by Jose Merlo

November 6-8, 12-14, 2015
Braintree, MA
Curtain Call Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Braintree, MA) From my own upbringing, I thought I understood the definition of dysfunctional, but nothing could have prepared me for the family dynamic put on display in the rock musical Next to Normal. Continue reading

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Nov 01

Haunting Memories and Daunting Doubt:”Choice”

© T Charles Erickson Photography

© T Charles Erickson Photography

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Winnie Holzman
Directed by Sheryl Kaller

October 16-November 15, 2015
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Huntington Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I was stumbling through the rain this past Wednesday night in an outfit that wasn’t remotely appropriate rain attire. After stepping into the lobby of the Calderwood Pavilion, I couldn’t get the clinging wetness sensation off of me, but the second I walked into the theater, finally able to peel away my jacket, I was hit by a friendly warmth from the stage. Continue reading

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Oct 27

“Menopause”: A Plotless Riot

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Photo provided by Spectacle Management.

Presented by Spectacle Management
By Jeanie Linders

October 22-25, 2015
Cary Memorial Hall
Lexington, MA
Menopause the Musical Website and Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Lexington, MA) I wanted to review Menopause the Musical because I’ve never seen it, I wanted to laugh, and I am unfazed by excessive jokes about saggy breasts. And while I didn’t mind being literally the only twenty something male in the entire audience, the smell of red wine on the breath of many baby boomers around me was sign enough that I was not even a little bit in the demographic for Menopause’s target audience. Continue reading

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Oct 14

Hysterics of “Polish Joke” are no Joke

photo credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

photo credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
By David Ives
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

October 8-18, 2015
CST Studio at the Central Square Theatre
Titanic Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) I’ve never been overwhelmed with the desire to make the spontaneous, probably unreasonably rash, decision to move to another country just from watching a play. But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t ready to catch the next red-eye to Poland after witnessing the Titanic Theatre Company’s production of Polish Joke. Continue reading

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Sep 29

Falsely Upbeat Conclusion Makes “Mr. Joy” Hard to Enjoy

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Photo by Paul Marotta

Presented by ArtsEmerson.
By Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower

September 22nd-October 18th, 2015
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the
The Paramount Center
ArtsEmerson on FaceBook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Black box theater is traditionally a great medium for experimental productions, so when I, along with other audience members of Mr. Joy, was told that the play would speak to us and that we were expected to talk back, I was quite excited—I’m a sucker for audience par-tish. And while my expectations for live audience feedback were never met (don’t anticipate improvised scenes, but rather, a couple moments of audience contribution) what I did manage to enjoy about Mr. Joy was how it addressed current issues in a loud way. Continue reading

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Aug 31

“The Lion” Sends Audience Roaring with Applause

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Benjamin Scheuer
Directed by Sean Daniels

Aug. 26 – Sept. 20, 2015
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Lowell, MA) While no African cats ever pounced on stage, much to my dismay, I will say that the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s production of The Lion, which marks both the start of the theatre’s 2015-16 season as well as Sean Daniel’s Artistic Directorial debut at the MRT, took me quite off guard. Continue reading

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Aug 11

“Eyes Shut. Door Open”: Exploring the Artist’s Tormented Psyche

Photo credit: Wax Wings Productions (we'll happily updated the credit if given the name of the photographer)

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by Wax Wings Productions
Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph

Thursday 8/13 @ 7:30pm, Friday 8/14 & Saturday 8/15 @ 7:30pm, 10pm
The Inner Sanctum Gallery, Roxbury
Wax Wings Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and I’m ashamed to admit I judged a play by its title. But it’s hard when the name is Eyes Shut. Door Open, which has a seemingly pretentious period in the middle, but no ending punctuation—an English major’s worst nightmare. But I had to let go of this trivialness to be swept up in playwright Cassie M. Seinuk’s world, which had its own set of nightmares prepared for me. Continue reading

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Jun 23

“Dying City” Brought to Life in Small Space

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
Part of the Home Grown Theater Project
Written by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Cameron Cronin

June 25 – July 11, 2015
Dates and seats are limited due to the nature of the production. More information can be found here.
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) If less does is fact mean more, the Happy Medium Theatre’s production of Dying City has a lot of potential to surprise audiences.

Performed in the literal living room of actors Kiki Samko and Michael Underhill, a married couple, Dying City opens on Kelly, a widow in her late twenties living in New York City. As she packs up some of her belongings, her estranged brother-in-law, Peter, who also happens to be her deceased husband’s identical twin, arrives without warning, much to Kelly’s discomfort. Continue reading

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