Reviews

Andrew McMath stars in Bristol Riverside Theatre's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Photo credit: BRT staff) 

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Bristol Riverside Theatre): Don’t Feed the Plants!

The outlandish parody of the horror and sci-fi genres, now in production at Bristol Riverside Theatre, still elicits laughs and gasps from appreciative audiences and delights with a score of period-style rock, Motown, and doo-wop numbers. BRT’s show, directed with spot-on timing by Susan D. Atkinson, embraces all the retro-camp in the story of Seymour Krelborn

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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Hedgerow): I hated Jane Austen, but I love this

I took a seat on one of the long, cushioned benches at the unusual Hedgerow Theatre, a grist mill from the 1800s, for the opening night of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Satisfied that at least I was introduced to such a beautiful place, I wondered what Jane Austen was going to smother me with this time.

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MIDWAY AVENUE (Nichole Canuso Dance Company): “Carry as much as you can while dancing”

Midway Avenue is a dance/theatre work that speaks to the sensation of memory as kinetic experience, one in which choreographer/performer Nichole Canuso repeatedly refers to as “map.” The piece leaves…

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GINT (EgoPo): Ibsen as American folklorist

Romulus Linney’s GINT, now in an engaging staging by EgoPo Productions, does an admirable job of translating this modernist classic for contemporary audiences. Linney reworks the story so it seems to have been lifted straight from the annals of American folklore.

Frank Ermilio and Jessica Orsini star in Thespionage's inaugural production.

UPPER MIDDLE CLASS WHITE (Thespionage): A DIY romcom

Thespionage Theater Company trumpets itself as a ‘pay what you can’ theater company; every ticket is priced by the audience member, and every dollar made is put into the budget for the next show. It’s an interesting new approach to small-theater funding in an age where the little guys are increasingly struggling against larger marketing machines, dwindling grant money, and thinly spread audiences of theatergoers.

Maria Konstantinidis stars as Aldonza/Dulcinea in Act II Playhouse's production of "Man of La Mancha," now playing through June 8, 2014. Photo by Bill D'Agostino.

MAN OF LA MANCHA (Act II): 60-second review

MAN OF LA MANCHA is a play within a play. The production is the clear result of what happens when a group of professionals pour their talents into a common goal.

Aetna Gallagher and Brian McCann in Curio Theatre Company's OEDIPUSSY.

OEDIPUSSY (Curio): Shenanigans, tomfoolery and ballyhoo reign

OEDIPUSSY isn’t something to analyze, it’s just something to enjoy— an antidote to life’s heavy stuff. Appealingly physical and comically overwrought, it’s tons of fun. The most amazing thing about this lunatic version is that the epic tragic story actually emerges through all the clowning, sight gags and laughter.

Amanda Grove, Jessica Gruver, and Amanda Schoonover star in Luna Theater Company’s BRAINPEOPLE (Photo credit: Gregory Scott Campbell)

BRAINPEOPLE (Luna): A Haunting Invitation to Dinner

Concluding its 2013-14 themed season “Once upon a Time,” Luna Theater Company’s 80-minute Philadelphia premiere of BRAINPEOPLE, told in real time, is mysterious, disturbing, and challenging; but then director Gregory Scott Campbell was never one to avoid a challenge

The ensemble (Dave Jadico, Alex Bechtel, Aimé Donna Kelly, Scott Greer, and Jennifer Childs) plays “The Spinners” in 1812 Productions’ THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS (1812 Productions): Now a Musical and Better than Ever!

Lampooning everything from Hillary Clinton ‘not’ running for President in 2016 to NJ Governor Chris Christie ‘not’ closing the George Washington Bridge, 1812 Productions’ THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS delivers non-stop laughs in a fast-paced ensemble-devised review of today’s important issues.

Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Milan in WE TOUCHED IT. Photo by Kate Raines, Plate3Photography.

REMIX FESTIVAL (fidget): The Unseen Hand

Remix Festival, hosted at , is curated by Annie Wilson and Susan Rethorst, creator of the remixing concept (she calls it “wrecking”). The concept behind the festival is that on each of the four nights, three or four artists present original dance works. Then, after a short break, other artists present “remixed” versions these dances which they’ve had two days to prepare.

Ann Crumb, dressed like an exotic bird, ready to take off in her final scene in Sunset Boulevard at the Media Theatre. Photo by Mark Jordan.

SUNSET BOULEVARD (Media Theatre): Ann Crumb as Norma Desmond, the delusional diva

Few singers can do what Ann Crumb can do, namely to transform herself in such versatile ways that people follow her wherever she goes, whether she performs on Broadway or in Media. Crumb, a depowered female King Lear, dominated every scene of SUNSET BOULEVARD in her own dream castle.

From left:  Mary Tuomanen (as Irina) Sarah Sanford (as Olga),and Katharine Powell (as Masha) as the ‘Three Sisters’ in the Arden Theatre Company production of Anton Chekhov’s play. (Photo courtesy of Mark Garvin)

Conversations on Chekhov: What gimmicks? The Arden’s THREE SISTERS has a lasting effect

In September of 1900 Anton Chekhov confessed in a letter to his actress-wife Olga Knipper: “I find it very difficult to write THREE SISTERS, much more difficult than any other of my…

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PHILADANCO can do just about anything

PHILADANCO!, the city’s premiere modern dance company, had a bit of a problem during its final performance of Blood, Sweat and Dance at the Kimmel Center on Saturday night: the ushers had run out of programs and had to hand out black and white photocopies. In the dance world, however, this is a very good problem to have, and in this case, it was a testament to the company’s continued preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance.

Exile, ANNAPURNA, CSlusar, PBunting, photo PNogueras

ANNAPURNA (Theatre Exile): A powerful Philadelphia premiere of playwright Sharr White

Black comedy, bitterness, and intimacy intertwine in Sharr White’s ANNAPURNA. Theatre Exile’s top-notch Philadelphia premiere of the gritty two-hander captures the dark humor and devastating hurt of their relationship, as they come to terms with broken love, debilitating loneliness and regret, and imminent death.

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THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (Montgomery Theater): A homage and a takeoff in song

Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart raise the stakes with their devilishly clever and cheekily smart send-up of prolific songsmiths Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Kander, and Fred Ebb, THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS.

Photo credit: Mark Garvin

DR. SEUSS’S THE CAT IN THE HAT (Arden): A Review in Seussical Verse

I loved to read when I was a kid
And although I’m full grown I still love what I did.
THE CAT IN THE HAT was one of my faves.
Now that book is a play* and I’m giving it raves!

The Arden’s production is silly and wild.
It’s as good for adults as it is for a child.

Lantern Theater Company The Train Driver review

THE TRAIN DRIVER (Lantern): A haunting look across the tracks

There’s something haunting Roelf (Peter DeLaurier) in the Lantern Theater Company’s atmospheric production of Athol Fugard’s THE TRAIN DRIVER. Disturbed by the memory of a young woman and baby “pulverized”…

Victoria Rose Bonito and Akeem Davis in ROMEO AND JULIET

ROMEO AND JULIET (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre): A Love to Die for

They’ve known each other for what—a couple of hours? Already they’re crazy in love, and they’ll steadfastly love each other against all odds. A love to die for. One of the world’s most celebrated and enduring love stories, ROMEO AND JULIET, is currently on stage at The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.

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THREE DAYS OF RAIN (Quince Productions): 60-second review

It’s 1995, siblings Walker (Mark Sherlock) and Nan (Jessica Snow) meet at a run-down Manhattan loft after the death of their star-architect father. Peripatetic Walker has just returned from his latest escapist foreign jaunt and is obsessed by a new find: the journal of his taciturn father. Maybe this will will reveal the inner soul of this silentious man?

(Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (Walnut): A 60-Second Review

Some of life’s biggest journeys begin with that one small voice in our heads, telling us to take an unexpected leap of faith. As a painfully shy young girl channeling bold songstresses of the past through her deceased father’s record collection, Ellie Mooney delightfully shows audiences how to find the power within, as the star of THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE.