Recent Reviews

Review #1 of 2: The Duchess of Malfi by Hidden Room Theatre

Review #1 of 2: The Duchess of Malfi by Hidden Room Theatre

by Michael Meigs
Published on October 04, 2019

Judd Farris is a standout among standouts as grim, swift murderer Bosola; Robert Matney as the cardinal is Orsonian (as in Welles); and Ryan Crowder as the duchess's wicked brother goes mad with wild élan.

 

The Hidden Room  is a tight little Early Modern Drama gang grouped under the sheltering, nourishing genius of Beth Burns, and they've periodically been transporting a narrow, sophisticated slice of the city's theatre-going public back 400 years or so for what seems like forever. If that sounds like a convoluted timeline, consider this: CTXLT catalogs show 22 productions since April, 2010 by these gifted zealots. Most were of dusty dramas that only ...

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Review: Jungalbook by Zach Theatre

Review: Jungalbook by Zach Theatre

by Michael Meigs
Published on October 04, 2019

Big John Christopher as Baloo the Bear is the sweet, avuncular conscience repeatedly admonishng the young -- wolf cubs -- and the adult anthropomorphic animals of the law of the jungle. JUNGALBOOK is a lot of fun, and not just for kids.

 

Jungalbook is a lot of fun, and not just for kids. It's fast and colorful, an imagining of the same narrow selection from Kipling's 1894 story collection used for the Disney animated film in 1967. Playwright Edward Mast's reworking provides the same principal characters but without the sugar coating; Mowgli the protagonist becomes "humancub" in the Zach retelling, a nod to today's sensibilities about gender and roles, but also an ...

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Review #1 of 2: Dracula (adapted by Dietz) by Zach Theatre

Review #1 of 2: Dracula (adapted by Dietz) by Zach Theatre

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on October 02, 2019

There is a line in that play that suggests that what man recognizes as evil takes the deepest root in those that are most pure. Yet Sarah Kimberley Becker as Mina the heroine shows that there may be some so pure that evil may never truly take root in them at all.

 

Just in time for the spooky days of autumn and the celebrated night of All Hallows’ Eve, ZACH Theatre presents the classic story of the original vampire, Count Dracula. The plot is taken from the original Bram Stoker novel with updates by prolific American playwright Steven Dietz. Dietz has composed more than 30 original pieces and 11 adaptions. His Dracula was originally produced in 1996 but has been given a twist and restaged in ...

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Review: Admissions by Jarrott Productions

Review: Admissions by Jarrott Productions

by Michael Meigs
Published on September 26, 2019

The real revelation — and it is one — is Tucker Shepherd as the focus and subsequently the fuse for the explosion within the family, including an astonishing, long, beautifully modulated rant that makes him a hero and a schmuck at the same time.

 

Joshua Harmon’s Admissions is billed as a comedy, but the only comic scenes are short and steered by the ever intriguing Jennifer Underwood in the role of Roberta, a superannuated staffer directly related to the founder of a prestigious New England prep school. Underwood stands knee-deep in tradition and loyalty to the school's meritocratic mission to affluent and keenly honed offspring of alumni and potential donors. She sees no need to be apologize ...

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Review: Jump by Shrewd Productions

Review: Jump by Shrewd Productions

by Michael Meigs
Published on September 20, 2019

What, after all, is the purpose of our existence, particularly if we keep missing the connections that should be so important? What happens to a family when death alters its fundamental reality? What's the motivation to keep on keeping on?

 

There's an air of dreary predictability to Charly Evon Simpson's Jump, currently playing as Shrewd Productions' participation in the rolling world premier in cooperation with the National New Play Network. The set is ramshackle, the lighting is low, the themes are bleak; if you're looking for an upper, this earnest work won't provide it.

 

Indigo Rael's design divides the broad, shallow playing space at the Santa Cruz Theatre ...

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Review: The Homes We Build by Twin Alchemy Collective

Review: The Homes We Build by Twin Alchemy Collective

by Justin M. West
Published on September 17, 2019

As with all of Twin Alchemy’s works, Homes challenges its participants to leave their comfort zones but does so on a foundation of trust. The stories become easier to tell. A common language of inside jokes develops.

 

                                            (. . . a fiction created by Twin Alchemy. . .)

 

“I want to get out of the house more,” I told her, trying in vain to move my arms. “I’m feeling claustrophobic. Cabin fever...”

 

Lauren smiled, nodding gently. “We will,” she said, touching my arm in that soft way that she ...

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