Reviews

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL (Arden Theatre): Dissonance v. harmony

The tragic news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death by OD has, for the moment, wrested the subject of substance abuse from the shadows and thrust it into the limelight. With…

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SNOWGLOBE (MacKnight Foundation): 60-second review

With clever repartee, SNOWGLOBE cleverly tackles deep existential questions. Under Bill McKinlay’s direction, the actors bring life and nuance to the clever Beckettian back-and-forth.

Photo credit: Kathryn Raines/Plate 3

GIDION’S KNOT (InterAct) is a two-person powerhouse

Though the classroom where GIDION’S KNOT takes place looks as cheery, bright, and typical as any, the story that unfolds in it is certainly not. Lost in thought, a teacher…

The Five Stages of THE PILLOWMAN (Luna Theater)

Thank God for Taylor Swift. After seeing Luna Theater‘s mindcrushing production of Martin McDonagh’s THE PILLOWMAN last night, I found myself a broken man. I was shellshocked. Catatonic. I couldn’t look another…

THE DISAPPEARING QUARTERBACK (Plays and Players) tackles football’s deadly foible

Yesterday morning, I received an email from the National Football League. I get these every day, more or less—updates from NFL.com on what’s happening around the league, who’s injured, who’s…

THE PILLOWMAN (Luna Theater): 60 Second Review

With all the claustrophobia of an Otto Dix painting, Luna Theater’s production of Martin McDonagh’s THE PILLOWMAN is a delicious 140-minute-anxiety attack. Robert DaPonte is remarkably arresting as Katurian Katurian, a writer…

GHOSTS (People’s Light): Just give in to the melodrama

At People’s Light and Theatre’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s GHOSTS, the program note written by dramaturg Gina Pisasale discusses Ibsen’s life and work. In his theater, Pisasale tells us, Ibsen created…

Kevin Chick and Melanie Julian. Photo credit: Luis Fernando Rodriguez.

BEAUTIFUL THING (Mauckingbird): Boy meets boy and love conquers all

To mark the 20th anniversary of BEAUTIFUL THING, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, dedicated to gay-themed work, begins its 2014 season with a production of English playwright Jonathan Harvey’s bittersweet comedy about…

Photo by John Doyle

UP FROM THE ASHES (Iron Age Theatre): A bit shy of genius

  Saturday, March 25th, 1911, 4:40pm a fire broke out on the eighth floor of largest blouse making factory in New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. 18 minutes later…

Photo: David Alarcón.

EL AÑO EN QUE NACÍ (FringeArts): Living mosaic

EL AÑO EN QUE NACÍ (THE YEAR I WAS BORN) is the January installment in FringeArts’ year-round programming at their Race Street Pier theater, and new proof of their commitment…

Marcia Saunders, David Ingram. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Wilma Theater’s CHEROKEE impresses, in a way

John, a baby boomer, patriarch, and oil exec who has spent his life gaining, has lost quite a lot in a short period of time: his job, his health, even…

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AMERICAN FAIRY TALES (Walking Fish): Riotous fairy tales at Walking Fish

AMERICAN FAIRY TALES is a kids’ show, adapted by co-artistic director Stan Heleva from L. Frank Baum’s short stories with a generous amount of modernization and localization. This is fast and messy theater making, thriving on audience involvement. The story doesn’t matter as much as the laughs, and the more we shouted along, and the more sassy little Benjamin in the front row jeered and challenged the actors, the more engaged they, and we, became.

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THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS (Act II): My true love came to me?

Overbearing relatives, forced merriness, the same damn songs playing over and over and then over again—Christmas can be a real pain in the toches. Depicting the next year of her life, Lakis plays (almost) all the characters in this 90 minute show, without a single break.

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NERDS (PTC): As Steve Jobs said, “All you really have in life is time”

In The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs, Chrisann Brennan—Steve Jobs’s first girlfriend—wrote “Steve often said that he had a strong sense of having had…

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A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Lantern): 60-second review

Dylan Thomas’s poem A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES runs the risk of becoming sticky-sweet with nostalgia, and it is director Sebastienne Mundheim’s idiosyncratic vision, and the spot-on instincts of her actors, which…

Dana Kreitz as Olivia and Merci Lyons-Cox as Oliver in Curio Theatre Company's GENDER COMEDY. Photo by Claire Horvath.

GENDER COMEDY: A LESS STUPID TWELFTH NIGHT GAY FANTASIA (Curio): A loving parody brings infectious glee

Harry Slack has cut the gaping holes in Shakespeare’s logic into microscope slides, and the result is a hilarious and self-aware send-up of the rarely-discussed flaws in the work of our most beloved playwright.

1812 Productions THE BIG TIME review

THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1812): Juggling seasonal laughs

Vaudeville has returned in all its glory with 1812’s THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Pratfalls, double entendres, and caricatures of people past and present light up the…

Charlie DelMarcelle, Geneviève Perrier, Amy Smith, and Doug Hara in the Lantern’s A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Lantern): Idyllic visions of a holiday past

Lantern Theater Company’s world premiere adaptation of A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Charles McMahon and Sebastienne Mundheim, the inventive “interdisciplinary performance-maker” who designed the production and also directs, captures all the warmth, nostalgia, and childlike wonder of the original, employing live actors, puppets, miniature houses, plastic-bag clouds, and exhilarating snow flurries to transform Thomas’s descriptive language and idealized memories into an enchanting theatrical vision.

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TWELFTH NIGHT, or WHAT YOU WILL (Pig Iron/FringeArts): The 1602 equivalent of a holiday special

TWELFTH NIGHT being the 1602 equivalent of a holiday special, there’s no shortage of booze-riddled merriment in Pig Iron’s revival from the 2011 Fringe Festival.

Photo credit: Cindy Jensen Graphic Design

FROST/NIXON (New City Stage Company): A gripping game of psycho-political chess

New City Stage Company’s Philadelphia premiere of FROST/NIXON is anything but the dry historical debate you might expect. Under Aaron Cromie’s brilliant direction, playwright Peter Morgan’s story of the series of TV interviews conducted by faltering British talk-show host David Frost in 1977 with disgraced US President Richard Nixon is a painfully tense and surprisingly humorous cat-and-mouse game.