Sep 19

Happy Families Don’t Make Good Theatre: “Regular Singing”

Presented by New Rep Theatre
By Richard Nelson
Directed by Weylin Symes
In association with Stoneham Theatre

Sept. 3 – 25, 2016
Arsenal Center of the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MAMy charming date to New Rep’s Regular Singing described the show as “a play about white people having white feelings about JFK’s assassination” for two hours with no intermission. She continued, “this play isn’t discussing anything new or political.” It barely breaches JFK’s assassination, or singing, for that matter. My lovely, astute companion may have been harsh in her description but she’s not wrong.   Continue reading

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Sep 23

Hot and Bothered Art: SEMINAR

Seminar Pictures

Liz Hayes* and Jordan Ahnquist*; Photo Credit: David Costa

Presented by Stoneham Theatre
by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Weylin Symes

Stoneham, MA
Sept. 12 – 29th, 2013

Stoneham Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Stoneham) You can create memorable characters on stage and just let them be who they are, and they can be like fun guests at a cocktail party, hilarious and aimless.  Or you can create wooden characters on stage and then let them come at least somewhat to life, which can win you points among theatergoers who are just happy not to fall asleep in the second act.  But it’s awfully difficult to create memorable characters and then let them struggle, flounder, and grow on stage.

Seminar at the Stoneham Theatre is that rare production that both piques our interest and takes us on a romp of a ride.  It’s as if the production set off to check all the boxes for the checklist of good theater. 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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