Reviews for Austin Playhouse Performances

Review: The Book of Will by Austin Playhouse

Review: The Book of Will by Austin Playhouse

by Michael Meigs
Published on June 21, 2019

Stephen Mercantel as shy, neurotic copyist Ralph Crane performs with aroused intensity, while other cool kids onstage played so broadly one half expected conspiratorial winks to the audience.

 

Lauren Gunderson's The Book of Will at the Austin Playhouse is a lot of fun, and it doesn't intend to be anything else. It's a players' play, patterned on history, not particularly deep, but with the predictable happy ending -- the printing and sale of the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, seven years after his death.

The great Will is mostly absent from the narrative and dialogue, except when pirated ...

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Review: Copenhagen by Austin Playhouse

Review: Copenhagen by Austin Playhouse

by Michael Meigs
Published on April 10, 2019

I've watched these actors Babs George, Ev Lunning Jr., and David Stahl in various permutations over the past decade. Nowhere has their breadth and intelligence been better placed on display than in this production of COPENHAGEN.

English playwright Michael Frayn climbed down the deep, dark cold well of history in this blistering examination of the wartime visit of German physicist Werner Heisenberg to his mentor Niels Bohr, trapped in German-occupied Denmark. Bohr, a Jew, had been playfully hailed by his students and colleagues as the "pope" of quantum mechanics. It's September, 1941; Heisenberg is working both for the University of Leipzig and for the German government.

 

No one alive ...

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Review: Monroe by Austin Playhouse

Review: Monroe by Austin Playhouse

by David Glen Robinson
Published on September 12, 2018

Dr. Lisa Thompson's MONROE with its sharp script gives life to a dark period in our recent history, filling it with hope, struggle, drama, and humor. Monroe gives us a privileged, authentic look at lives hitherto unrevealed.

 

Once again, Austin is privileged to host a world premiere play, Monroe by Lisa B. Thompson. The Monroe of the title is Monroe, in northeastern Louisiana.  At the time of the play, 1946, Monroe and its surrounding parish held the dubious distinction for the period 1877-1950 of suffering the fifth highest number of lynchings in the United States  And yes, this play is about that. 

 

As Playwright Thompson writes in the ...

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Review: Lucky Stiff by Austin Playhouse

Review: Lucky Stiff by Austin Playhouse

by David Glen Robinson
Published on May 27, 2018

LUCKY STIFF's silly run-around plot is a showcase vehicle for powerful songs by some of Austin’s best singing and performing talent. It will appeal to everyone who has musical theatre as a guilty pleasure.

 

Lucky Stiff by Ahrens and Flaherty, now playing at Austin Playhouse in ACC Highland in central Austin, is a light and frothy musical entertainment, not even a murder mystery, although it is about the last will and testament and vacation of a murder victim.  And it is still not a murder mystery even when Boni Hester slings around silver-plated and gold-plated revolvers throughout the show. Her high heels alone are sufficient to do all ...

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Review: Bloomsday by Steven Dietz, Austin Playhouse

Review: Bloomsday by Steven Dietz, Austin Playhouse

by Michael Meigs
Published on January 22, 2017

Compounded of equal parts of nostagia, romance and whimsy, BLOOMSDAY is a clever tale that takes the classic romantic comedy into the fourth dimension and multiple beyonds.

 

If you're one of the legions who have started to read James Joyce's Ulysses and eventually abandoned it, take heart: Steven Dietz's Bloomsday is tied to that massive novel only by the lightest of gossamer threads. Compounded of equal parts of nostagia, romance and whimsy, it's a clever tale that takes the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-finds-girl into the fourth dimension and multiple beyonds. 

 

Following theatrical convention, we ...

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Review: The Explorers' Club by Austin Playhouse

Review: The Explorers' Club by Austin Playhouse

by David Glen Robinson
Published on April 19, 2016

Laughs are almost non-stop, but many are provoked by condescension and name-calling of world cultures and historical periods -- and the explorers finish with their privileges intact.

The Explorers Club by Nell Benjamin is a relatively new American comedy, nominated for the Drama Desk Best Play Award in 2014. Benjamin’s wit takes on a series of largely English characters ranging from stuffy to stiff in a club in London in 1879. These are high Victorian times, and a little wit suffices to bring out an abundance of comedic material.  

 

Austin Playhouse with its talented cast puts on an exceptionally funny ...

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