Recent Reviews

Review: If I Forget by Southwest Theatre Productions

Review: If I Forget by Southwest Theatre Productions

by Michael Meigs
Published on January 22, 2018

Confessions and quandries, the testing of ties that bind: siblilngs who curse one another four times over and then lapse into shared memories of better times. Every second of IF I FORGET is gripping.

 

For the second time in just a few months an Austin theatre company has scooped a powerful drama out of the big city theatre biosphere and mounted an accomplished staging that proves the script universal instead of big-city provincial. In September Hyde Park Theatre did it with Sarah DaLappe's The Wolves, and now Southwest Theatre Productions delivers Steven Levenson's powerful and closely plotted If I Forget as its seventh production since it was ...

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Review #2 of 2: Uncle Vanya by City Theatre Company

Review #2 of 2: Uncle Vanya by City Theatre Company

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on January 18, 2018

The brilliance of director Rod Mechem's production is that even when the characters believe they have nothing to live for, the actors' performances show us they're lying to themselves.

 

There are many things you can say about Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya that would be an understatement. For example:

 

  • It is about characters going through their own and very different mid-life crises. 
  • It is an existential commentary on social classes in mid-19th century Russia.
  • It explores the exploitive relationship between people and the environment.
  • It illustrates the dangerous self-delusions created variously by academia, alcohol abuse and religion.

 

The timelessness of ...

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Review: Uncle Vanya by City Theatre Company

Review: Uncle Vanya by City Theatre Company

by David Glen Robinson
Published on January 15, 2018

UNCLE VANYA plays out in drinking, multidirectional lust, and Vanya’s unending suffering. Vanya, with his considerable but totally unacknowledged talents, is faithfully conveyed by Beau Paul .

 

Anton Chekhov’s great play Uncle Vanya has just opened at City Theatre on the east side.  City has made a worthy production of it, without frills, updatings, or Russian accents.  The production is a straight, dialogue-heavy play that emphasizes the hopes, fears, and joys of its characters. 

 

The four-act play dwells on Russian landed gentry and lower classes living on a family hereditary estate in agricultural southern Russia.  As ...

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Review (#2 of 2): A Bright New Boise by Samuel D. Hunter, Playhouse San Antonio Cellar, December 29, 2017 - January 21, 2018

Review (#2 of 2): A Bright New Boise by Samuel D. Hunter, Playhouse San Antonio Cellar, December 29, 2017 - January 21, 2018

by Kurt Gardner
Published on January 06, 2018

Well-performed by a solid cast, A BRIGHT NEW BOISE in the Cellar Theatre at Playhouse San Antonio effectively blends comedy with darker themes.

 

 

** Note: contains spoilers **

 

Winner of the 2011 Obie Award for Playwriting, Samuel D. Hunter’s ironically-titled A Bright New Boise centers on the lives of a group of employees working dead-end jobs at a nondescript Idaho craft store. Well-performed by a solid cast, it effectively blends comedy with darker themes.

 

The piece opens with Pauline (Meredith Bell Alvarez), the store’s foul-mouthed and volatile manager, interviewing new arrival Will (George Green) for a ...

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Review: A Bright New Boise by Playhouse San Antonio

Review: A Bright New Boise by Playhouse San Antonio

by Michael Meigs
Published on January 04, 2018

George Green's finely tuned, deeply felt performance as the lonely, vulnerable Will demonstrates his concentration in a self-effacing portrayal of deep emotion. Those of us who knew the artistic director only from news reports and Playhouse communications can now feel that we've seen the man.

 

This is the break room at the Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho. Never mind that it doesn't exist -- there's a Hobby Lobby seven miles away in Meridian and another twenty miles away in Nampay -- but in A Bright New Boise you're not in Idaho at all. You're in the vast loneliness of America's small towns. Playwright Samuel D. Hunter uses the emptiness of franchised America as a metaphor for ...

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Review: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Magik Theatre

Review: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Magik Theatre

by Kurt Gardner
Published on December 26, 2017

Directed with flair by Magik Theatre artistic director Frances Limoncelli, this production is entertaining for nostalgia-seeking adults as well as their young children.

“Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” So proclaims Linus to the downtrodden title character in the opening scene of A Charlie Brown Christmas, produced by the Magik Theatre and playing at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre.

To have such well-known animated characters portrayed by actual human actors requires some cunning, and this delightful production manages to pull it off with a high degree of ingenuity.

For example, to indicate the size ...

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