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items tagged with Jonathan Grafft

Eight Is Not Enough: "Cheaper by the Dozen," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through November 16
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-11-10 12:00:00

first row - Hannah Hogue, Elisabeth Grafft, Colby Rapps, Amira Siddique; second row - P.J. Hilligoss, Joe Mroz,, Yvonne Siddique, and Ben Klocke; third row - Jack Sellers, Jonathan Grafft, and Aidan Grafft in Cheaper by the DozenCheaper by the Dozen seems a perfect fit for a company such as the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. It’s a wholesome family tale – one featuring a large group of children – that suits the theatre’s charm, and given playwright Christopher Sergel’s endearing script, should easily please patrons.


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Home on the Ranch: "Of Mice & Men," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through January 19
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-01-13 12:00:00

Cody Johnson, Ed Villarreal, and Greg Boulijon in Of Mice & MenThe Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men begins with a scene in which Cody Johnson’s George and Ed Villarreal’s Lenny share a slow and (mostly) gentle conversation about their plans to work as ranch hands, and their dreams of using their money to buy their own piece of land and “live off the fat” of it. The patient way in which Johnson, with obvious compassion, speaks with Villarreal’s not-so-bright Lenny leaves no doubt as to George’s sincere concern for his daft companion, and Lenny's wide-eyed trust, shown as he hangs onto every word George says, suggests the loving connection Lenny has with George. Their relationship is immediately both clear and touching, and sets the foundation for the deeply emotional events that transpire through the course of this story.


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Moral Combat: "The Best Man," at the District Theatre through November 18
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-11-12 12:01:00

Jonathan Grafft, Pat Flaherty, and Matt Mercer in The Best ManAfter 12 years in the television-news business, I spent my first Election Day in more than a decade not covering the elections, but rather seeing a play about a bid for the presidency and the decision of whether to use personal attacks on opponents. And while watching the District Theatre’s The Best Man, directed by Bryan Tank, I wondered if the point being made in this political morality play – that the business of politics is on a downward moral spiral – is one that needs to be made. Don’t we, as a nation, already know that dirty politics are wrong, and doesn't this make the message of playwright Gore Vidal’s 1960 work dated? A day later, though, I read an article about personal attacks and dishonesty continuing to be a part of political campaigns because these tactics work, and so Vidal’s play, for better or worse, appears relevant after all.


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Hitchcocked: "The 39 Steps," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through September 16
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-09-10 12:00:00

Jason Platt and Ed Villarreal in The 39 StepsJudging by Friday’s performance of The 39 Steps at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, it’s apparent that director Tom Morrow likes sight gags and British humor. He handles playwright Patrick Barlow's comically melodramatic take on the 1915 spy thriller – and Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film – with care, avoiding over-the-top staging but highlighting the humor in ways that elicit a lot of laughs. (Whereas overselling the gags would likely elicit groans.)


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The Parents Trapped: "God of Carnage," at the Village Theatre through October 16
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-10-10 12:00:00

(clockwise from left) Melissa Anderson Clark, Jonathan Grafft, Jason Platt, and Jackie Madunic in God of CarnageNew Ground Theatre’s God of Carnage is one of the funniest shows, if not the funniest, I’ve seen on a Quad Cities stage so far this year. Not only is the script by playwright Yasmina Reza sharp, surprising, and witty, but director Derek Bertelsen’s handling of the pacing and his cast’s character choices had me laughing embarrassingly loudly at Thursday’s performance. Even two days later, I find myself mentally inserting quotable dialogue from the play into conversations (though I’d rather not quote any of it here, as most of the best lines involve the “F” word).


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