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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Just for the Mel of It: "Young Frankenstein," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through June 21 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 15 June 2015 06:00

Nate Karstens, Abbey Donohoe, and Ian Sodawasser in Young FrankensteinOn at least three occasions during Thursday’s preview performance, Quad City Music Guild’s Young Frankenstein achieved a transcendent silliness – the kind you get with stunning regularity in Mel Brooks’ film-spoof inspiration. If you include everything said and done by Nate Karstens’ hunchback Igor, it was more like 203 occasions, but in the spirit of this tasty musical confection, let’s save the sweetest for dessert.

 
Deaf Poetry Jam: "Tribes," at the QC Theatre Workshop through June 28 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 June 2015 06:00

Michael Carron, Calvin Co, and Adam Cerny in TribesThe QC Theatre Workshop’s Tribes didn’t start off well for me on Friday, as I immediately hated Adam Cerny’s overacting, with eye rolls so huge I was sure anyone in the lobby could see them through the curtain that separates it from the performance space. So I prepared myself for two hours of such overly dramatic physicality, after first cursing director Jennifer Popple for casting Cerny as a son in playwright Nina Raine’s troubled-family saga.

It didn’t take long, however, for Cerny to completely change my mind, as it became clear that his Daniel is, himself, over-dramatic, given that his manic figure hears voices in his head. Cerny’s characterization, it turns out, isn’t bad acting; it’s actually spot-on, and moved me from initial dislike – agreeing with Michael Carron’s crotchety, opinionated patriarch Christopher that Daniel should “F--- off!” – to sympathetic pity for this troubled person. It was also through Daniel's viewpoint that I experienced Raine's story of a constantly arguing family that cruelly teases each other, with their only sense of grounding coming from Calvin Vo’s Billy, the clan's ever-patient, deaf-from-birth younger son.

 
Feline Groovy: "Cats," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through June 21 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 June 2015 06:00

Natalie Fisher in CatsI struggle with where to begin in praising director Matthew Teague Miller’s Cats at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, simply because there’s so much to praise.

 
Turn Your Hips and Coif: "Hairspray," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 14 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 06:00

Sam Leicht, Rosie Upton, Eli Emmit, and Amelia Jo Parish in HairsprayGood gawd is the Timber Lake Playhouse’s Hairspray fun. I went into Saturday’s matinée with eager anticipation and left with a sense of thrilled enjoyment, floating on a cloud of happiness. Director Lili-Anne Brown’s production of this musical based on John Waters’ 1988 film is not only a helluva good time for us, but a rockin’ wild ride for Amelia Jo Parish’s Tracy Turnblad, as Hairspray's lead goes from overweight sideliner to local-dance-show star to racial-integration crusader in 1960s Baltimore.

 
Disability Assurance: "The Boys Next Door," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through June 14 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 08 June 2015 06:00

Victor Angelo and Jonathan Grafft in The Boys Next DoorI sat through Thursday’s The Boys Next Door at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre fascinated and perplexed by the mixture of emotions I felt. Author Tom Griffin’s play about four men with various degrees of mental illness living together in a group home is a comedy, for sure. But director John VanDeWoestyne and his cast presented it in such a way that I wanted to “Ha!” and “Aw-w-w!” simultaneously during almost every moment. The piece is both funny and deeply touching, and much of the credit for that goes to the perfectly cast actors playing the titular “boys.” While it took time for a couple of them to win me over, by intermission, each one had me convinced that he shouldn’t have been cast any other way.

 
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