Recent Reviews

Review: Hairspray by Playhouse San Antonio

Review: Hairspray by Playhouse San Antonio

by Kurt Gardner
Published on July 18, 2017

The Tony Award-winning musical comes to the Playhouse in a bright, splashy production.

 

Plus-sized Tracy Turnblad longs for acceptance among her peers. When she tries out for the local television show for teens, “The Corny Collins Show,” she becomes its unlikely star, demonstrating a nifty dance move she learned from a black student, Seaweed J. Stubbs. This motivates her to break through the color barrier so that African-American kids can appear on the show all the time, not just on “Negro Day.”

 

Velma Von ...

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Review: Burning Patience by Classic Theatre of San Antonio

Review: Burning Patience by Classic Theatre of San Antonio

by Kurt Gardner
Published on July 12, 2017

Antonio Skármeta's charming work comes to the Classic Theatre in a simple yet charming production.

Those who’ve seen the 1994 Academy Award-winning film Il Postino will already know the story of Burning Patience, the story upon which it was based. The lyrical work by Antonio Skármeta translated by Tim Klinger is now playing at the Classic Theatre in a simple yet charming production.

 

 

 

Hector Machado plays the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who lives on the remote coastline of Isla Negra. He receives frequent visits from thetown’s young ...

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Review: Shrek The Musical by Woodlawn Theatre

Review: Shrek The Musical by Woodlawn Theatre

by Kurt Gardner
Published on July 06, 2017

The story of the antisocial green ogre comes to vibrant life in the Woodlawn's production.

 

Based on the 2001 DreamWorks animated adaptation of William Steig’s 1990 picture book, Shrek the Musical is a colorful, amusing production that brings the adventures of the antisocial green ogre to San Antonio’s Woodlawn Theatre with satisfying results. The company tackles this big, Tony Award-winning Broadway show with its usual gusto.

 

The plot should be familiar to all those who’ve seen the film. After a prologue in which Shrek’s parents send him ...

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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: Crimes of the Heart by Playhouse San Antonio

Review: Crimes of the Heart by Playhouse San Antonio

by Kurt Gardner
Published on June 23, 2017

This thick slice of Southern Gothic is served up fresh by director Bill Gundry. He knows Henley’s dialogue will sell itself, so the actors deliver their lines, no matter how appalling, naturally and without exaggeration. It’s the truth in the piece that puts it over.

Beth Henley’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart has aged well. Its Chekhovian tale about the tribulations of the Magrath sisters of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, is timeless, and the Cellar Theatre’s sparkling production is buoyed by an appealing cast.

 

Erin Polewski shines as Lenny, the eldest of the sisters, who suffers from a shrunken ovary and a lack of romantic prospects. Also good is Emily Cleveland as middle sister Meg, who has returned from ...

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Review: Passion AND Assassins (two one-acts) by The Theatre Company

Review: Passion AND Assassins (two one-acts) by The Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on June 22, 2017

The Theatre Company demonstrates a vision and flair second to none in the broad area of Central Texas covered by this website's reviewers. That sound you hear from a hundred miles away is this writer's grateful and enthusiastic applause.

 

They're magic. Not only the two Sondheim pieces Passion and Assassins, but also the transformative artistry of the company that's putting on those two works, challenging both in concept and in technique. The shadowy ritual space of the theatre where we gathered last Saturday afternoon provided transport first to moody broodings of the heart in 19th century Italy and then to derailed ravings of a parade of adamant anguished murderers. 

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