Recent Reviews

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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Review: Les Miserables by touring company

Review: Les Miserables by touring company

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on September 13, 2019

The performances were Broadway quality with Mary Kate Moore as Fantine as a clear standout. Her vocal control was matched by her on-stage panache. When performed with all cylinders like this, Les Misérables will always be epic in scope and blistering in production.

 

Published in 1862, Les Misérables was Victor Hugo’s magnum opus. A historical novel that chronicled 17 years of the life of Jean Valjean while exploring the timeless topics of truth, law, redemption, and grace against the brooding background of the upcoming French Revolution. The story has found its way on to the stage and screen in many incarnations and its latest treatment does not lose sight of the grandiose vision of the original. Powerhouse ...

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Review: Cyrano de Bergerac by The Archive Theater Company

Review: Cyrano de Bergerac by The Archive Theater Company

by David Glen Robinson
Published on September 03, 2019

Exceptional principal actors, a large ensemble of standouts, gallantry, poetry, combat and love; this immensely complex play is delivered with zeal and panache. CYRANO DE BERGERAC is not to be missed.

 

Edmond Rostand wrote Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897, a play  about a 17th-century French soldier and poet. As the inaugural production of Jennifer Rose Davis’s Archive Theater Company, this archival play is an Austin original. 

 

So why Cyrano de Bergerac? It’s not the nose or the methods of antique warfare; the big heart of the romantic story is unrequited love. Audiences have had an instinctual feel for that for 130 years. Anyone ...

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Review: The Mamalogues by Color Arc Productions

Review: The Mamalogues by Color Arc Productions

by David Glen Robinson
Published on September 01, 2019

Lisa B. Thompson's fictional support group for Single Black Mothers points out the pains and joys of all mothers, regardless of color, in dozens of imaginative scenes. And who brought the pecan pie? Must you ask?

 

Playright Lisa B. Thompson has a commitment and an almost uncanny gift for describing, embodying, and sharing her lived Black experience with all other ethnicities and cultures. Whatever the source, her writing is very good at showing the world life lived in the Black community.  Fo example, her award-winning Monroe gave an almost ethnographic description of a Black community surviving in Jim Crow times, and how one character used pie-baking as an instrument of ...

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