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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Repertory Stories: New Ground Theatre’s Playwrights Festival, April 19 through 28 at the Village Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 08:10

author Dana-Moss Peterson (left), with Jessica Denney, in New Ground Theatre's Mr. MarmaladeOver the years, Davenport’s New Ground Theatre has prided itself on the presentation of new works by emerging authors. But this year, even Artistic Director Chris Jansen is shocked to find the company not only producing eight new works in a season, but eight new works – the majority of them by local authors – over a two-night span.

 
Palpable Pain: "Antigone," through March 30 at the Quad City Theatre Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Thursday, 28 March 2013 09:33

Gini Atwell and Jake Walker. Photo by Tracy Skaggs.Before the production officially begins and without uttering a single word, Gini Atwell effectively sets the tone for the Prenzie Players’ Antigone. On Friday evening, during the ad-libbed pre-show that’s a staple of Prenzie productions, Atwell sat at the front of the stage, half-cradling her knees while wearing a far-off look in her eyes and a deep sadness on her face, as though lost in thought on woeful memories or circumstances.

Not long after the play begins, it’s made clear that Atwell’s expression is due to her character’s resignation to her own death. She is passionate during the course of the play – particularly as she attempts to garner her sister’s help in burying their brother (who lost his life in battle with their other brother for the throne of Thebes), and as she embraces her fiancé as if it’s the last time they’ll ever hold each other. But her ability to maintain the cheerlessness at the core of her Antigone is remarkable, creating a palpable pain that’s punctuated by her inevitable death.

 
Midwestern Union: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through June 1 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 18 March 2013 06:00

 Kimberly Steffen, Kay Francis, Tom Walljasper, Nikki Savitt, and Carrie SaLoutos in A Mighty Fortress Is Our BasementBilled as “the funniest and most tuneful Church Basement Ladies yet,” A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement had me laughing more than I expected to during Friday night’s performance. Having had a too-hearty helping of the first two Lutheran-themed kitchen musicals, I couldn’t help but have low expectations for the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s production of this fourth show in the series. Yet while this sequel still falls into some of the expected traps, it also had enough humor – and one especially entertaining song – to keep me amused.

 
Q2: "Avenue Q," at the District Theatre through March 30 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 18 March 2013 06:00

Erin Churchill in Avenue QFive months after its first staging of the bawdy Broadway musical Avenue Q, the District Theatre has brought back its prurient puppets for another round, and with the replacements of just two cast members and minor reworkings made by director Marc Ciemiewicz, this return performance is still enough improved (from an already laudable production) to make the show worth seeing again, if not for the first time.

 
Rhapsody in "Blues": "Blues for an Alabama Sky," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through March 17 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 March 2013 06:01

Matt Madison, Rita Jett, and Vincent Briley in Blues for an Alabama SkyPlaycrafters Barn Theatre’s Blues for an Alabama Sky manages to be an adjective I’ve come to love regarding theatrical productions: surprising. Playwright Pearl Cleage takes her story in directions I did not expect from the outset of Saturday’s performance, as her play moves from the plight of a recently out-of-work singer in Harlem to a study of societal views on homosexuality and abortion in 1930. I had no idea that was the direction the plot would take, but I was grateful for it, as the proceedings kept me on my mental toes, and continually interested in what was going to happen next.

 
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