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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Ire-Land: "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," at the Village Theatre through October 7 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 01 October 2012 06:00

Melissa Anderson Clark, Erik Finch, and Susan Perrin-Sallak in The Beauty Queen of LeenaneThe Irish accents are so good in New Ground Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane that, during Friday night’s performance, it actually took me a while to understand the actors – particularly Susan Perrin-Sallak and Melissa Anderson Clark, who play the mother and daughter at the center of the play. It took me about as long to also understand the reason playwright Martin McDonagh’s work has won so many awards, as I found the story a bit slow and dull at first, though it gradually built to a punch that I didn’t see coming despite (as I recognized in hindsight) it being clearly foreshadowed.

 
Thank You for Smokey-ing: "Smokey Joe's Café," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through November 3 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 24 September 2012 06:00

Deidra Grace, Sara King, C.J. Williams, Kiarri D. Andrews, Nina Schreckengost, Joseph J. Baez, Joanthan Scott Roth, Patricia Gibson, and Denzel Edmondson in Smokey Joe's CafePrior to the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s opening-night performance of Smokey Joe’s Café, and immediately following the Bootleggers' “birth of rock 'n' roll”-themed pre-show, my partner’s daughter, Hannah, tried to argue that the doo-wop style of music heard in the wait staff's entertainment was not rock n’ roll because … well, because she’s 13 and knows everything, the history of the genre be damned. Yet despite also proclaiming that she hated this sort of “it’s not really rock ’n’ roll” music that I warned her would populate the entire evening’s entertainment, Hannah was all smiles at intermission, excitedly talking about how much she loved the songs, and even citing a few favorites by name. I hope Hannah’s changes of opinion and attitude are testaments to the quality of Circa '21's endeavor. It’s truly fantastic.

 
Let’s Talk About Sets: The Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Stages the Scenically Demanding "Noises Off," October 4 through 14 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 06:00

Bryan Woods, Sarah Hayes, and Diane Greenwood in Noises OffWhen I first learned that Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Barn Theatre was staging author Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-winning Noises Off this fall, I’ll admit that the news made me chuckle, and not just because the show is so funny.

 
Hitchcocked: "The 39 Steps," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through September 16 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 10 September 2012 06:00

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.)

 
Wonder Fall: Autumnal Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 06:00

Sean Christopher Lewis and Tim Budd in Riverside Theatre's True WestAs of this writing, area venues have announced the titles to a collective 70 plays and musicals opening between August 31 and November 30. You wanna know my favorite title? Theatre Cedar Rapids’ The Time When Presley and Mrs. Luther Took a Stand in the Alley, Kinda Sorta. It’s the Kinda Sorta that makes it priceless.

 
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