Reviews

YOU KNOW MY NAME: A DANIEL TALBOTT TRIO (Quince): Devils and saints in small-town America

Daniel Talbott’s YOU KNOW MY NAME: A DANIEL TALBOTT TRIO presents some unique challenges. Three short plays which could easily take place in the same town dwell with nearly pornographic clarity on the cruelty of the town’s inhabitants and of fate.

Photo by Kyle Cassidy

THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Commonwealth Classic): Through the glass darkly

Commonwealth’s production draws the curtain on enough of the play’s window into regret to reveal the melancholy brilliance of THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

(Left to right) Chris Melohn and Alex Kryger in Quince Production’s THE HAUNTED HOST (Photo credit: John Donges)

THE HAUNTED HOST (Quince Productions): Neon Nihilism

On a favor called in by a friend, the misanthropic Jay agrees to let a traveling college drop-out, Frank, crash on his couch for the night. Jay has given up on his dream of becoming a writer, while Frank eagerly seeks advice and guidance on his own play. However, in a great display of “neon nihilism,” Jay teases and bullies his straight guest Frank, who looks uncannily similar to Jay’s recently deceased boyfriend. As these men come to understand each other, and themselves, we discover what it means to sacrifice yourself for lovers, friends, and art.

Aurora Black, Erik Ransom, and Avery Royal in Libertine Idol’s COMING in FringeNYC (Photo credit: Michael Blase)

COMING (Libertine Idol Productions): The Battle of Glamageddon hits FringeNYC!

Self-proclaimed “heir to Sodom and Gomorrah,” the divinely talented writer/ actor/ singer/ musician/ composer/ “disaster in lipstick” Erik Ransom stars in a newly revised version of his 2011 Philadelphia smash hit COMING: A ROCK MUSICAL OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS for FringeNYC.

Alexander Kacala as Miss Fit in SOME ARE PEOPLE, part of GayFest! 2014.

SOME ARE PEOPLE (Quince, GayFest! 2014): Summer loving is no drag

SOME ARE PEOPLE is about summer people. Those people who come into our lives for a time and then go back to wherever they came from, leaving us changed forever.

Mark Evans THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour © Joan Marcus, 2013

THE BOOK OF MORMON (Forrest Theatre): Grumpy Professor review

John “The Grumpy Professor D’Allessandro paid over $100 for a ticket to THE BOOK OF MORMON and thinks it was worth it.

Josh Kachnycz as Berowne in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. Photo credit: John Bansemer.

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST (Philly Shakes): Cromie finds a feast of language and comedy

Under Aaron Cromie’s creative direction, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s production of LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST captures the playfulness of the Bard’s early comedy in a fluid romp.

The entire cast of the Second Annual One-Minute Play Festival at the InterAct, 2014. Photo credit: Seth Rozin.

The Second Annual One-Minute Play Festival (InterAct): Tipsy on Theater: Wine-tasting 90 plays and a night-out in Philly without a hangover

You step off the tour bus, the smell of exhaust replaced first with fresh air, then with the sugary smell of grapes. You sit around a bar with a wine…

Deanna Gibson plays one of three witches in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s MACBETH (Photo credit: Lee A. Butz)

MACBETH (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): A Minimalist Vision

Director Patrick Mulcahy takes a modernist approach to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of MACBETH, with a 20th-century minimalist aesthetic that compels the audience to focus on the emotions and actions of the characters and the power of the playwright’s language. It’s stark and intense, and also, at times, oddly anachronistic and comical, performed in attire that suggests a peculiar mash-up of wartime Berlin and dance club chic, military and punk.

The cast of ANDY: A POPERA elevating Sean Lally, who stars as Warhol “expert” Dr. Peter Never (Photo credit: Kate Raines Plate 3 Photography)

ANDY: A POPERA (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret): The Enigma of Warhol

A post-modern fusion of Pop art with opera, ANDY: A POPERA, a work-in-progress by the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, explores the enormous fame and legacy of Andy Warhol, with elements of both tragic opera and opera buffa. The synthesis reflects in part the ambiance of Warhol’s Factory in the Sixties.

Mary Tuomanen and Aimé Donna Kelly in WE ARE BANDITS. Image courtesy of Applied Mechanics.

WE ARE BANDITS (Applied Mechanics): People like us don’t meet

With WE ARE BANDITS, director Rebecca Wright and Applied Mechanics are working against a brutal opponent: American cynicism.

They’ve turned the third-floor space of Asian Arts Initiative into what looks like a sprawling, minimalist installation piece. Tables, chairs, and little else delineate various spaces throughout the basketball-court-sized venue, including a city square, the apartments of various characters, a rooftop, and a church.

Clio (Erica Nicole Rothman, center) with her sister Muses in Mazeppa Productions’ XANADU (Photo credit: Kelly Anne Pipe Photography)

XANADU (Mazeppa Productions): A campy, aMUSEing musical

Zeus has decreed that Muses from Mount Olympus are not allowed to fall in love with mortals – that includes the Muse Clio and a boy from Venice Beach. Therein lies a story of forbidden love, gumption, and sly swipes at certain Hollywood movies — especially XANADU (Universal Pictures, 1980).

Danny Gardner as Johann Martin Steindorff in BACH AT LEIPZIG at People’s Light (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

BACH AT LEIPZIG (People’s Light): 60-second review

People’s Light & Theatre Company pairs Itamar Moses’s uber-witty historical farce BACH AT LEIPZIG with the zaniness of director Pete Pryor in a hilarious, intelligent production.

Herringbone at Flashpoint Theatre Company

HERRINGBONE (Flashpoint Theatre Company): A remarkably strange solo musical, about a boy … with a problem

This mighty peculiar story opens with a grown up George looking back at 1929 and singing, “Did ya ever have one of those years?” His parents have one foot in the poorhouse, as their only prosperous relative has just stinted them in his will. When eight-year-old George has the chance to take performance lessons from the surviving member of an old vaudeville act, he shows inexplicable ability beyond his years. Parental hopes for financial resurrection ride on little George singing and dancing his way to Hollywood.

Clio (Erica Nicole Rothman, center) with her sister Muses in Mazeppa Productions’ XANADU (Photo credit: Kelly Anne Pipe Photography)

XANADU (Mazeppa Productions): A Flop of a Film, but a Smash of a Show!

Greek mythology meets roller-disco in XANADU, a spirited send-up of American pop culture circa 1980, based on the preposterous movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John. Mazeppa’s exuberant production of the award-winning musical-comedy (book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar) delivers an uproarious parody of both disco culture and the cult-classic film.

The ensemble of Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s HAMLET (Photo credit: Alessandra Nicole)

HAMLET (Delaware Shakespeare Festival): “’Fore God, my lord, well spoken . . .”

While “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” something is wonderful in the state of Delaware! With its unsurpassed examination of the human condition, profound emotions, and exquisitely beautiful language, HAMLET is considered by many (myself among them) to be the world’s greatest play by the world’s greatest playwright.

Photography by Alexander Iziliaev.; Pictured: Zachary Kapeluck

SUNSET, O639 HOURS (BalletX): Neenan blazes into sunset

With his BalletX summer program SUNSET, O639 HOURS, a long-form narrative ballet, choreographer Matthew Neenan unveiled taps new creative veins, steering clear of all his choreographic safe zones.

Jane Gotch's Let It Fall, a duet for Leo Gayden and Juliet Remmers. Photo by Mike Strong.

Cool Dancing in Warm Spaces: Jane Gotch and Myra Bazell at the Iron Factory

Myra Bazell, a much-loved teacher of dance, and Jane Gotch first met fifteen years ago when Gotch had to scratch together enough change to take Bazell’s popular modern class. The good-vibe feeling between these two choreographers was evident as Bazell explained to the audience of about thirty on a (thankfully) not-too-hot June evening that the Iron Factory was a positive venue for this reunion.

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SINema After Hours: One Year Anniversary Show

Campy fun abounds at SINema After Hours. Shoshanna Green reviews a night of sin and scares at Walking Fish Theatre.

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival): Fickle Love and an Irresistible Canine

Contrasting the giddy inconstancy of youthful passion with the unconditional love for and the stolid fidelity of a pet dog, THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA—one of the Bard’s earliest works—is a delightful rom-com/bromance (descended from the medieval genre of male friendship literature) that offers the perfect entertainment for a summer audience. And the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production, as directed by the ever-masterful Matt Pfeiffer, strikes the perfect balance between the comedy’s irrepressible fun and playfulness and its more serious message about regret, repentance, forgiveness, and camaraderie.