Oct 04

Hurt Me, Daddy: “Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really”

Sara Jones plays Renfield (left); shown with Maria Hendricks as Dr. Van Helsing (middle) and Lisa San Pascual as Mina Harker (right). Photo by Gillian Mariner Gordon.

Presented by The Umbrella Stage Company 
Based on the novel by Bram Stoker
By Kate Hamill
Directed by Michelle Aguillon
Original Music Compositions by Valerie Forgione
Intimacy Direction by Kayleigh Kane 
Fight Direction by Sarah Flanagan

Sept. 30 – Oct. 23, 2022
The Umbrella Arts Center
40 Stow Street
Concord, MA 01742

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CONTENT WARNINGS: This play contains sexual situations, violence, and death by suicide. It may not be appropriate for persons under 16 years old.

This production uses strobe light effects and fog effects.

CONCORD, Mass. — Do heteros know they’re supposed to like their partners? Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really is yet another retelling of a classic gothic romance novel in which men treat their female partners terribly; their behavior is belittling, lacks respect, and reeks of contempt. It’s no wonder playwright Kate Hamill rewrote it with a snappy, violent finale. 

Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really spins the novel by Bram Stoker for a modern audience of thinking minds. Mina Harker (Lisa San Pascual) expects a baby any day now, but her husband Jonathan (Joseph Jude) must assist Count Dracula (Dustin Teuber) with land acquisition. Mina’s best friend Lucy Westenra (Gabrielle Hatcher) can’t contain her glee at marrying Dr. George Seward (Dominic Carter) but fears she must for George’s sake.

Renfield (Sara Jones) can’t remember what happened to her husband. Drusilla (Emily Sheeran) and Marilla (Bowen Huang) hunger. Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really is not told in letters, thankfully. Continue reading

Feb 07

Pride & Shame Are Brothers: “Sweat”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Kimberleigh Senior
Original music & sound design by Pornchanok Kanchanabanca
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 31 – March 1, 2020
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co on Facebook

Content warnings: This production includes the smoking of cocoa shell cigarettes (100% nicotine-free). It contains themes of drug use, drug addiction, alcoholism, and homelessness.

Trigger warnings: racial and gender microaggressions, intentional bigotry, sexism, racism, graphic violence, implied drug use, exploitation of a disabled person, and Republican politics

The Huntington Theatre Company website says that those who are interested in more information should please reach out to Ticketing Services at 617 266 0800.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — Lynn Nottage’s Sweat won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After reading in in 2017 and seeing it live last night, it is not difficult to understand why. Sweat balances gender, race, and class discrimination issues like a well-crafted dagger. This art represents the struggling people of Reading, PA that Nottage interviewed to write her play. It gives insight into the dangers of unchecked greed while commenting on the political events that provoked into a capitalist fury. Sweat has you in the palm of its metaphorical hand… And then it drops you on your ass. Continue reading

Oct 11

Frankenstein was the Monster: “Frankenstein”

Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater; A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production; Design by Bird Graphics.

Presented by Central Square Theater
Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
By Nick Dear
From the novel by Mary Shelley
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Hilary Rappaport
Ensemble: Remo Airaldi, Omar Robinson, John Kuntz, Ashley Risteen, David Keohane, Debra Wise

Oct. 4 – Nov. 4, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Trigger warning: rape, violence, body horror, strobe effects, spoilers

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. For his indiscretion, Zeus condemned the Titan to an eternity of epic liver failure (a complication of eagle hunger). Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus warns a relatively modern audience not to play with fire lest one get burned. It plays out similarly in contemporary Halloween favorites such as The Rocky Horror Show and Prometheus that frustrating movie by Ridley Scott. It takes new form as Central Square Theater’s current production. As long as there is science, there will be humans poking around where they shouldn’t be poking. Continue reading

Mar 18

What a marvel: “Edward II”

(l to r) Edward II (Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Gaveston (Eddie Shields), and Lancaster (Nigel Gore) – Photo by Maggie Hall

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By Christopher Marlowe
Directed by David R. Gammons

February 22 – March 19, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
ASPBoston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

WARNING: Nudity, violence.

(I beg forgiveness from the cast and crew of Edward II! I was trapped on the west coast during the blizzard, and only returned last night. It was not possible to post Ms. Daniels’ review until then. My sincerest apologies, and best wishes for a closing weekend! – Kitty, the Queen Geek)

(Charlestown, MA)  This show is intense. I could feel my temples vibrate during intermission. The power and emotion has stayed with me for days. I cried during the show, afterward, and grew teary remembering it. I am not at all surprised the production has added more performances to its tight schedule. This is a melodrama realized with an expert, brutal hand. Continue reading

Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
NSMT on Facebook

BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
Continue reading

May 20

On Behalf of Women’s Bodies: IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva.

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva. Ensler transcends. 

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written and performed by Eve Ensler
Directed by Diane Paulus

May 10 – 29, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nudity not for the purpose of female objectification, implied drug use, graphic depictions of violence and cruelty, raw feminism

(Cambridge, MA) Our iPads, tablets, game consoles, phones and anything else that requires processed natural minerals and metals are the by-products of systematic rape. This is an oversimplified statement but it is true. The ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and complications within the mineral supply chain means that conflict minerals end up in everyday items. The computer I’m using to write this review likely has conflict minerals in it. The device you’re using to read this review likely has conflict minerals in it. By not pushing for a transparent mineral supply chain, we are aiding the conflict in the Congo. By not taking an active stance, we are telling the companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. that we approve of their trade dealings with companies that don’t require transparency. As ignorant consumers, we are part of them problem.   Continue reading

Apr 25

One Big Song & Dance for Sex: THE WILD PARTY

Photograph: Earl Christie Photography

Photograph: Earl Christie Photography

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Orchestration by Bruce Coughlin

Now – May 1, 2016
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: underage rape, blackface, drinking, drugs, violence

(Boston, MA) Moonbox Production’s The Wild Party is a tight, gin-moist package of cruelty, casual racism and light kink. It’s a domestic violence fairy tale of grotesque proportions, and sexy as fuck. Everyone over the age of 18 should see it. The subject might be naughty but its methods are mesmerizing. Continue reading

Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading

Aug 05

Blast Off Achieved: “Astro Boy and the God of Comics”

Banner courtesy of the C1 Facebook page

Presented by Company One
Written and Directed by Natsu Onoda Power

July 19-August 16, 2014
Plaza Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
C1 on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) Sci-fi disciples should rocket into the BCA to catch Astro Boy and the God of Comics.  Company One not only delivers the flash and joy of Mighty Atom, but also ably handles the more thorny political commentary.  Violence, death, and some racially offensive content are referenced. Continue reading

Jul 24

Change takes one step at a time, one person at a time: “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth”

Photo credit: Julie Fox

Presented by Circuit Theatre Co
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Christopher Annas-Lee
Music by Ellen Maddow

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Cambridge) If you’ve never been part of a political action, this show will be eye-opening and uncomfortable. Its both of those things in many other ways, and I recommend leaving the little ones at home due to violence, sexuality, sexual violence and nudity. Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march and the people who do them gets a spirited revival at Club Oberon. Continue reading