Reviews for Bottle Alley Theatre Company Performances

Review: Wildcraft by Bottle Alley Theatre Company, in the Vortex Garden

Review: Wildcraft by Bottle Alley Theatre Company, in the Vortex Garden

by Justin M. West
Published on November 21, 2020

WILDCRAFT is a participatory exercise, extremely immersive. Our fingertips relish in the touch of unfamiliar herbs. Our ears parse our host December’s carefully crafted, wistful and alluring oration. Bottle Alley has done something exceedingly special.

  2020 has been a year of sacrifice and loss. We’ve traded abundance for scarcity, kinship for solitude, and whim for measured compromise. For those of us with a creative spirit and for whom trips to the theatre were a mainstay of our nights and weekends, the inability to enjoy the arts—or the outright unavailability of them—has served as a poignant reminder that we’ve been taking it all for granted. Joni Mitchell was right.   …

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Review: Black Dog by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

Review: Black Dog by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

by Justin M. West
Published on September 14, 2018

BLACK DOG's running themes are abuse and social anxiety. Attachment and retribution. The bonds of love and friendship, and the deepest caverns of human depravity. Through lengthy monologues and thoughtful abstractions, the audience is forced to ask... why?

Bottle Alley, brainchild of local playwright Chris Fontanes, is nothing if not offbeat. If you're in the mood to dress to the nines and buy your trophy wife a $9 plastic cup half-filled with some shitty Merlot or another, this is not the theatre company for you. However, if you desire something original, risky, and challenging, and you don't mind using bug spray before watching a show in a creepy ass barn filled with shit …

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Review: Self Portraits by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

Review: Self Portraits by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on April 11, 2018

Behind the laughter was a keen sense of the absurdity and difficulty of lives of young adults; they invited us in, revealed themselves and just about knocked our socks off with energy and revelations.

  The eleven actor/writer/participants in Bottle Alley's Self Portraits filled the Back Pack's hole-in-the-wall space in East Austin with exuberant energy reminiscent of summer camps, stand-up comedy fests and drama therapy sessions. This was a real smörgåsbord of an evening, a festive intellectual table of unpredictable experiences. These celebrants had worked up thirty pieces averaging about two minutes each, and the numbered sheets hung on a line high across the stage. Audience members were encouraged to …

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Review: Apocalypse by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

Review: Apocalypse by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on November 03, 2017

Apocalypse succeeds as an evocation not of the classic notion of apocalypse, the world ending in fire or in ice, but in intimate finales of accumulating inertia and unknowing.

You need ingenuity if you're a small theatre company facing Austin's squeeze of performing space. Equipped spaces are recording reservations well out into 2019. On the other hand, if you're a determined ad hoc band of performers not worried about the inquisition forces of the City of Austin, you can put up your tents virtually anywhere. The world is wide. And if you have no tents either, the woods are lovely, dark and deep.     …

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Review: Hate Yourself by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

Review: Hate Yourself by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on June 29, 2017

Perhaps playwright Chris Fontanes is just teasing, daring us to read more into the inert but eloquent protagonist than actually was intended. The persistent theme here is that same uncertainty, writ large: Why care? Why speak? And, implicit: Why make art?

If Austin has a 'beat generation' Chris Fontanes is part of it. He's straight out of the jagged earnest non-conformist tradition of those who believe that words make a difference. Even if -- and especially if -- they describe the quietly desperate and downtrodden.   The man's been making theatre in Austin holes and haunts since 2012 in the single-minded belief that saying it, writing it, and calling attention to it makes it so. The …

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Review: The Curious by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

Review: The Curious by Bottle Alley Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on March 02, 2017

The pauses in Bottle Alley's THE CURIOUS speak unbounded stories. Writer-director Chris Fontanes has again bound a group of explorers in a mystery and invited the witnesses along. The case remains both solved and unresolved. As in life, we'll have to be satisfied with that.

Writer-director Chris Fontanes prefers the shadow worlds of mystery, enigma and the threatening unseen. Forced to turn to 'found' spaces, his essentially penniless and well named Bottle Alley Theatre Company makes a virtue of that necessity by incorporating the environment fully into the action. Their cryptic parables don't hang like abstract art from the surfaces of scenery flats on a stage.   The Curious is set in a modest but comfortable bungalow in Austin's south-of-the-lake …

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