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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
The Princess and the PPs: "Love's Labour's Lost," at the QC Theatre Workshop through January 30 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 06:00

Jake Walker, Stephanie Burrough, Chris Sanders-Ring, and Kitty Israel in Love's Labour's LostWhile waiting for the Prenzie Players' Thursday-night dress rehearsal of the William Shakespeare comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost to begin, I realized it had been a long time since I had seen one of the Bard of Avon’s plays performed live. I pondered whether I would be able to follow the plot and comprehend the dialogue. I worried that the show might be too stuffy for my unrefined sense of theatre. “Holy crap, I'm supposed to write a review – what if I don’t get it?” Yet as the show began, the Prenzies put my neuroses to rest very quickly.

Phan-tastic: "Phantom," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 5 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 06:00

Patrick Beasley and Emily Stokes in PhantomLet’s get this out of the way: In case you're attending to specifically hear “Music of the Night” or other well-known tunes, the current production of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Phantom is not Andrew Lloyd Webber's more famous version of the same story. Comparing Phantom to Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is like comparing a croissant to an éclair. Both are French, textured, and rich with flavor, but also two totally different experiences.

Days of Wine and Corpses: "Arsenic & Old Lace," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through January 17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brent Tubbs   
Monday, 11 January 2016 06:00

Susan Perrin-Sallak, Gregory Braid, and Patti Flaherty in Arsenic & Old LaceI won’t lie: I left the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s January 5 preview performance of Arsenic & Old Lace a little creeped out. This show could be titled The Original American Horror Story, although a version with a light seasoning of laughter, and director Donna Weeks did an especially nice job of casting the show's eccentric characters that brought us into its world of homicide and pleasantries.

Center-Stage Craft: Spotlight Turns with the Reader’s Theatre Reviewers PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ashcraft, Dee Canfield, Victoria Navarro, Mike Schulz, Brent Tubbs, and Thom White   
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 06:00

Center-Stage CraftThe ends of calendar years always bring with them a certain amount of reflection, and questions that we find ourselves quietly grappling with. “Did I achieve personal fulfillment and happiness?” “Were there people I improperly appreciated or unintentionally wronged?” “What are we going to do about the Reader’s annual year-in-theatre article now that Thom White has moved to Kentucky?!”

Recess Monkeys: Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, at St. Ambrose University December 5 and 6 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee Canfield   
Thursday, 03 December 2015 18:41

Kayla Lansing, Jordan Webster-Moore, Helene DeVine, Simon Khoury, and Jonathan J.J. Johnson in Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman SmellsArriving for the 10 a.m. production of St. Ambrose University’s Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells on December 3, what first caught my eye were the big yellow school buses parked outside, and I realized, “Ah, yes, I’m going back to elementary school today.” (This was a scheduled school performance not open to the general public.) Inside the Galvin Fine Arts Center, I was transported into a first-grade “classroom” that consisted of Junie B. Jones and her friends on stage and the elementary students who filled the large auditorium to capacity. The juxtaposition of the joyous, high energy in this “classroom” and my feelings roused from recent world and national tragedies made me think about the world we have made for these children, wherein their innocence will be lost all too soon, and the more that laughter rang in the room, the more poignant my feelings became.

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