Recent Reviews

Review: American Blood Song by Trouble Puppet Theatre Company

Review: American Blood Song by Trouble Puppet Theatre Company

by David Glen Robinson
Published on August 11, 2019

Trouble Puppet performs this operetta as a linear tragic narrative, with the company's characteristic innovative unpredictability. Puppeteers wear period costumes and acceptably period hairstyles while singing their characters' roles.

“Crazy cold ‘way down there…”, the memorable line from the 60s band Blood, Sweat, and Tears seems like a prophecy of 2019’s Trouble Puppet Theater Company original production of American Blood Song, A Puppet Operetta of the Donner Party (ABS). The show is about nothing but loss, loss of country, loss of life, loss of possessions, loss of family, loss of mind, loss of self-respect, loss of morality, loss of ethics, loss of faith, loss ...

Read more »

Review #2 of 2: ANN, by Zach Theatre

Review #2 of 2: ANN, by Zach Theatre

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on August 06, 2019

Libby Villari was firing away on all cylinders, creating the feeling of a southern revival in the Topfer Theatre. The audience laughed, pumped up and not afraid to call out with applause and shouts of approval.

There was never any doubt Libby Villari could hold the audience entranced with her snappy accent, comically vitriolic outbursts, clever banter, and engaging storytelling, but this production of Holland Taylor’s Ann is well paired with a great set and spot on lighting design. Lghting designer Sarah EC Maines emphasized the three-act arc of the story -- pre-Governor, Governor, and post-Governor-- with a subtle but deft shi the lightfts between lighting schemes. They evojke the moody but ...

Read more »

Review #1 of 2: ANN by Zach Theatre

Review #1 of 2: ANN by Zach Theatre

by David Glen Robinson
Published on August 06, 2019

This gem is an extended encomium to Governor Ann Richards of Texas. Some of the production choices in this 100X magnification level of scrutiny of Gov. Richards are almost mysterious.

Ann Richards would have been proud to be called First Hometown Girl of Texas. That much is clear in Act I of Ann, the new play by Holland Taylor currently up on Zach Theatre’s Topfer stage.  Also clear in Act I, Richards was explicitly proud to claim the title of Second Female Governor of Texas (after Ma Ferguson). 

 

Benjamin Endsley Klein directs this gem as an extended encomium to Governor Ann Richards ...

Read more »

Review: Cul-de-Sac by Summer Break Theatre

Review: Cul-de-Sac by Summer Break Theatre

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on July 22, 2019

CUL-DE-SAC is billed as a comedy, which provides it the shield of satire, but watching these characters flounder made one feel like a mischievous but indifferent kid observing ants through a magnifying glass.

 

It somehow seems that a cul-de-sac is less sinister than a dead-end street, though in truth they are the essentially the same thing. Sure, a cul-de-sac implies a circular dead end that makes turning the car around or escaping, if you will, much easier. Cul-de-sac translates directly from the French as ‘bottom of the bag’ which may also sound negative if you interpret an empty bag or sack as containing nothing. Or, more to ...

Read more »

Review: The Tempest by City Theatre Company

Review: The Tempest by City Theatre Company

by Michael Meigs
Published on July 20, 2019

George Kendall's cool Prospero sets up the arc of his own seeming success. The magician could be perceived as the dealer who has stacked the cards, while Surgener's Caliban, an expressive but desperate loser, could be the protagonist in quite a different story.

The Tempest never disappoints. Perhaps this late play was indeed Shakespeare's farewell to the stage. That view is probably just sentimental pudding, for he was a working playwright, popular but not really idolized until after he'd been gone for a while. But this fantasy on an enchanted isle is easy to swallow, for Shakespeare gives us the magician, the magic, and the fairy sprite yearning to be free, just as exiled Duke of ...

Read more »

Review: Confessions of a Mexpatriate by Teatro Audaz

Review: Confessions of a Mexpatriate by Teatro Audaz

by Michael Meigs
Published on July 14, 2019

Mical Trejo provides an impressive performance of a discouraging phenomenon: a man who is an American, one hundred percent, but who has embraced the myth that he really should be someone else.

I missed Confessions of a Mexpatriate by Raul Garza last year at Austin's Hyde Park Theatre, so I welcomed the opportunity to visit the cellar theatre at San Antonio's Public Theatre, where Teatro Audaz was presenting it for the July 4 weekend. That timing seemed appropriate; Garza's piece, appreciated in Austin and already performed elsewhere in the U.S. since that time, has as its focus the psychic dilemma of Americans keenly ...

Read more »