Photo credit: Julius Edward Maurer III.

OWNERS (InVersion): A farce in a dark world

OWNERS, a dark comedy by British playwright Caryl Churchill, is an examination of the sexual politics of power and property. It’s a fun, dark world, where everything and everyone is just an acquisition waiting to happen; apartments are traded for babies, which are traded for sex, which is used as leverage for more negotiations and scheming.

Chelsea Packard in MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS.

MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY (Bucks County Playhouse): 60-second review

MEET ME IN SAINT LOUIS: A LIVE RADIO PLAY is based on The Kensington Stories by Sally Benson and the MGM motion picture Meet Me in Saint Louis; the musical book written by Hugh Wheeler was expertly adapted to the unique radio play style by Joe Landry. Simply, this show is fun.

Kim Carson stars in People’s Light & Theatre Company’s CINDERELLA (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

CINDERELLA (People’s Light): The Return of an Award-Winning Panto

In celebration of its tenth anniversary season of wintertime pantos People’s Light & Theatre Company in Malvern is presenting a remount of CINDERELLA, its most acclaimed panto to date.

Brian Sanders' JUNK in a pre-production photo of a scene from SNOWBALL (Photo credit: Ted Lieverman)

SNOWBALL (Brian Sanders’ JUNK): A Wondrous Urban Fairytale for Kids of All Ages

The latest installment of SNOWBALL, the annual wintertime extravaganza by Brian Sanders’ JUNK, is a must-see world-premiere holiday delight for the whole family. Combining a post-modern urban narrative with a charming “Winter Wonderland Furrytail,” the engaging two-act show will keep you smiling, gasping, oohing and aahing at its heartwarming moral, Sanders’ stunning choreography, and his acclaimed dance troupe’s extraordinary finesse.

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NO RESERVATIONS (PNAA): 60-second review

As the holiday season begins, so does the decorating process.  We all have those neighbors who take the time to remind us about the true story of Christmas, by displaying entire…

Koresh Asya Zlatina and Jessica Daley. photo by Frank Bicking

THROUGH THE SKIN (Koresh): Flesh and the dance devil

The body beautiful is an aspect of dance that can be easily exploited. Two shows, from opposite ends of the dance spectrum, featuring scantily clad dancers, challenge audiences not to objectify – Koresh Dance’s Through the Skin and Flashdance, the Musical. In contrast to the sexy poster art for both show, they both un-voyeuristically sing the body electric.

Shakespeare's Restless World cover

Book Review: SHAKESPEARE’S RESTLESS WORLD: A PORTRAIT OF AN ERA IN TWENTY OBJECTS by Neil MacGregor

While Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects is not, and does not claim to be, a complete narrative history of the times or a full-blown dramaturgical analysis of the Bard’s oeuvre, it does offer a fascinating collection of twenty chapter-length essays, using the objects as a springboard to explore key issues of the day and in Shakespeare’s work.

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A MICROFESTIVAL OF STUBBORN OCCASIONS (Mascher Space Co-op): The moment doesn’t exist

This is in Kensington, on the closing night of Mascher Space Cooperative’s Microfestival of Stubborn Occasions: a set of performances described as “a space where choreography is given permission to exist in the in-betweens.” Two shows are on the docket for tonight, Foster’s #JANEGOODALLDRAMA and Christina Gesualdi’s MY NEBULOUS SOLO.

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RISK! TRUE TALES BOLDLY TOLD (First Person Arts): Risky storytelling pays off

Okay, Kevin Allison’s RISK! is the undisputed G-spot of the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival. The format is simple: five people step behind a microphone and relate their most private thoughts in the form of a story to an audience of strangers.

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EVERYMAN (Villanova Theatre): 60-second review

In the Middle Ages, the Church endorsed theatrical depictions of Church teachings to educate a mostly illiterate public. EVERYMAN is only one of five from its time that has survived to today. Villanova Theatr commissioned Mark J. Costello to translate the play from Middle English using modern language and the authenticity of rebelliousness in the punk subculture

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17 BORDER CROSSINGS (Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental/FringeArts): Voyage of imagination

“Let’s assume you’re traveling,” says Thaddesus Phillips, placing the audience as the sojourner. And he whisks us off. With co-creators Tatiana Mallarino and Patrick Nealy, and director Rebecca Wright, Phillips has concocted something special with 17 BORDER CROSSINGS.

Matthew Neenan

BalletX’s Matthew Neenan downshifts for THERE I WAS

Earlier this month BalletX dancers had their pointe shoes ready for a rehearsal for Matthew Neenan’s ballet There I Was. The piece showcases how inventive, within and out of specific pointe shoe classicism, Neenan can be. Even though it is weeks before the opening There I Was looks ready, Neenan only moved around to cue a specific music change, apologizing to the dancers for the pause.

Photo: Kathryn Raines

FALLING INTO HERE or THE IMPORTANCE OF NORMAL (The Naked Stark/ First Person Arts): Dance review

Fractured. Awry. Akilter. There is frighteningly little cohesion and order (or shall we call it normalcy?) in the dark visual and kinesthetic world that Katherine Kiefer Stark presents in Falling into Here or The Importance of Normal. The performance is a welcome dance work among the talking heads presentations of the 12th annual First Person Arts Festival, a 10-day affair dedicated mostly to autobiographical narrative expressed through storytelling and song.

Christopher Sutton as Buddy, with a supporting ensemble of elves, in the Walnut Street Theatre’s ELF (Photo credit: Mark Garvin)

ELF (Walnut): A family-friendly feel-good musical for the holidays

Based on the 2003 hit film of the same name, ELF, this year’s annual Christmas-time extravaganza at the Walnut Street Theatre, offers popular feel-good entertainment for the whole family. The amusing musical comedy is filled with magic and spectacle for the kids, wry jokes and innuendo for their grown-ups, and a familiar sentimental moral that is relevant for all ages. It’s a cute and snappy start to the holiday theater season that could make even the meanest Grinch smile.

THE DEVIL'S MUSIC.

THE DEVIL’S MUSIC (People’s Light): 60-second review

This hybrid of monologue and musical chronicles the life of Bessie Smith. Although Smith experienced troubled times in her life, THE DEVIL’S MUSIC is mostly upbeat—chock full of raunchy innuendo and humorously sexual dance moves. This makes for a perfectly lovely evening of theater…

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HANDS ACROSS VERONICA (Walking Fish/Nakedfeet): 60-second review

Lunging onto the stage with the gusto of 1000 aerobics classes, HANDS ACROSS VERONICA sets the tone for a high energy, neon fueled performance. A joint production of Walking Fish Theatre and Nakedfeet Productions, HANDS ACROSS VERONICA is primarily concerned with how women relate to food and deal with their body image,

Joo Won Park

OPERATIC OR NOT, a review of THINGNY IS BACK, the third night of fidget’s 4th Annual Fall Experimental Music Festival

Adam Vidiksis’s legs are completely still like a concert violinist’s. He barely bends except to lean over the snare as he burrows the tip of a single drumstick into it. Using…

Dan Hodge and Joe Guzmán star in Passage Theatre’ TRUE STORY (Photo credit: Mathias Goldstein)

TRUE STORY (Passage): A Multi-Layered World-Premiere Whodunit

Though EM Lewis’s 80-minute thriller TRUE STORY pays homage to Raymond Chandler’s detective-story and film-noir tradition of the 1930s and ‘40s, the play offers a more current (cell-phone era) exploration of the genre. It combining the twists and turns of a gripping murder mystery with the profound human issues of coping with loss, assuming responsibility, the nature of truth, and the desire for justice. Passage Theatre Company’s world-premiere production, directed with wit and suspense by Damon Bonetti, succeeds in delivering all the surprises, humor, emotion, and psychology inherent in the script.

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MAKESHIFT (Murmuration Theater): A play not just about cake

Ten seconds into Murmuration’s inaugural production of Jessie Bear’s brand spankin’ new play, MAKESHIFT, Brian David Ratcliff, stands like a little boy by his lonesome on stage in what he describes as a devastated post-apocalyptic earth donning a royal blue super hero cape, goggles strapped to his head, holding a tape recorder up to his mouth declaring: “I, Michael Bolton will save the world.” I thought: “Wow, we are really on the edge of a cliff here, and Oops, I think we fell off into—I don’t know what.”

Seth Reichgott and Earnest L. Phillips in ADDRESS UNKNOWN.

ADDRESS UNKNOWN (Meadowbrook Productions): Letters from the edge of history

Reading history is like watching a familiar play: the fascinating thing is that the characters don’t know what’s going to happen. But sometimes you come across a work of fiction written on the cusp of great historical events imbued with a clear sighted vision of how the epoch is unfolding. Adapted by Frank Dunlop from a 1938 novella by Kathrine Kressman Taylor, ADDRESS UNKNOWN is one such work.