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Theatre
Reasons of Love: "Rent," at the District Theatre through February 24 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 February 2013 09:00

Chris Causer and Kelly Lohrenz in RentI cannot praise Bryan Tank enough for his take on composer Jonathan Larson’s Rent, as the director’s concept renders the much-loved Broadway hit an even more cohesive ensemble piece than any production of the musical I've yet seen. Friday’s District Theatre performance left me with a renewed love for Larson’s material and, in what may be the highest compliment I can give in regard to the emotionality of the presentation, it left my rarely-moved-to-tears partner Matt in tears – twice.

 
Cray Sisters, Soul Sisters: "Crimes of the Heart," at the Village Theatre through February 10 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 February 2013 09:00

Tracy Pelzer-Timm, Jenny Winn, and Kylie Jansen in Crimes of the HeartWhile Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart falls into too many theatrical traps – primarily, having major actions described rather than physically rendered on stage – the author avoids one of the most common by making her play's second act funnier and more interesting than its first. While I liked the first act of New Ground Theatre’s Saturday-evening production, I enjoyed its second half a lot more, laughing heartily with Henley’s characters as they cackled over serious subject matter such as their grandfather's lapsing into a coma.

 
Diony-mite!: "The Bock Eye," at Augustana College through February 3 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 06:00

Calvin Vo in The Bock EyeFriday’s world-premiere performance of playwright Tommy Smith’s The Bock Eye – a modernized adaptation of Euripides’ The Bacchae – seemed much longer than the 60 minutes it runs from beginning to end. That’s not, however, because the piece is dull, or because director Saffron Henke’s pacing is too slow. It's because the production is so packed with entertainment and clever and hilarious lines that it seems too much to be contained in just one hour. I enjoyed Augustana College’s presentation of this new work so greatly that I was a bit exhausted at its end, and gasped when I looked at my phone and saw that it was only 8:30; I was shocked that I could laugh so much in so little time.

 
Fools for Love: "Private Eyes," at the QC Theatre Workshop through February 3 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 21 January 2013 06:00

Jessica Sheridan, Mike Schulz, and Thomas Alan Taylor in Private EyesWhat starts as a theatre audition quickly becomes something entirely different in the QC Theatre Workshop’s second production, Private Eyes. And this change from what’s real to what’s … well … something else is something I don’t want to fully describe, because such a shift happened several times – and at very unexpected moments – during Friday's performance, making the evening a bit of an intriguing thrill that repeatedly piqued my curiosity.

 
Jambalaya (On the Bio): "Hank Williams: Lost Highway," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 9 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 14 January 2013 06:00

Canaan Cox, Nina Schreckengost, Jody Allan Lee, Jonathan Scott Roth, AJ Haut, and Rachelle Walljasper in Hank Williams: Lost HighwayAfter seeing Friday’s performance of Hank Williams: Lost Highway at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, I am reassessing my typical disdain for jukebox musicals, particularly those that are biographies of particular artists wrapped inside collections of their greatest hits. Playwrights Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, here, managed to create a work that – in addition to being cohesive and easy to follow – nicely weaves Williams’ hits into the story and is incredibly interesting to boot. And thanks to a pleasingly lengthy, Hee-Haw-esque scene in the middle of the second act, Myler and Harelik also avoid the seemingly too-frequent theatrical trend of shows with second acts that are much too serious and downbeat.

 
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