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Chek Mates: "Uncle," at the Village Theatre through May 8 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Victoria Navarro   
Monday, 02 May 2016 06:00

Jordan Smith, Maggie Woolley, Bil Peiffer, Michael Carron, and Jake Walker in UncleEven if the only Chekhov you're familiar with is the crew member of the Starship Enterprise, you will likely still enjoy New Ground Theatre’s production of Uncle. Featuring characters created by Anton Chekhov, it's a clever look at the lives of people as they react to change, and before attending the April 29 production, I decided to study up on Chekhov (the writer) and Uncle Vanya, thinking I would need to be versed in this Russian play first performed in 1897. I consequently discovered it was unnecessary to have prepared to such an extent. One does not need to know anything about Chekhov or Uncle Vanya to be entertained by Tony-nominated playwright Lee Blessing's Uncle. Davenport's New Ground Theatre was chosen, by its author, for the comedy's world premiere, and the company capably delivered.

Shaving Scream: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," at Augustana College through May 8 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Monday, 02 May 2016 06:00

Jamie Hochmuth and Stuart Buthod in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, photo courtesy of the Augustana Photo Bureau/Lauren Becker"There's a hole in the world like a great black pit, and it's filled with people who are filled with shit. And the vermin of the world inhabit it, and it goes by the name of London."

No lyrics better summed up the setting for a musical than these particular lines from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Augustana College's latest production delivers in filling the Potter Theatre with the polluted gloom and human hell that was 1840s London.

Parent Trapped: "Baby with the Bathwater," at Scott Community College through April 30 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Dee Canfield   
Monday, 25 April 2016 06:00

Melanie Hanson in Baby with the BathwaterChristopher Durang’s irreverent Baby with the Bathwater is the current production at Scott Community College, and upon my arrival about 25 minutes prior to showtime, I enjoyed a few moments of the sweet music-box soundtrack, thinking it a clever juxtaposition to the darkly comedic farce that was to follow. However, a few minutes of it were enough for me to get the idea, and because those sounds were all that was in the offing regarding pre-show music, the next 22 minutes of waiting seemed, well, a bit long. Perhaps the music box also ignited my inner grump, because, with only a few exceptions, I did not find much comedic respite in the words and actions that followed.

Tales of a First-Grade Something: "Junie B. Jones: The Musical," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through May 21 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 21 April 2016 05:59

Kirsten Sindelar, Erin Churchill, Nicholas Munson, Sunshine Ramsey, Janos Horvath, Brad Hauskins, Brooke Schelly, and Chris Galvan in Junie B. Jones: The MusicalOn the program cover for the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s new family musical, right under the names of show creators Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, you’ll find this brief synopsis: “A delightful adaptation of four of Barbara Park’s best-selling books.” The built-in praise seemed a tad presumptuous: Its delightfulness wasn’t (hopefully) going to be our opinion, but was rather a fact? Well ... yeah. With its hugely endearing ensemble and peppy, cheerfully sung songs, Junie B. Jones: The Musical is almost inarguably entertaining, and would likely have been an hour of radiant, capitalized Sunshine even if that weren’t also the first name of its gifted leading performer.

Non-secularious: "The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)," at the QC Theatre Workshop through May 1 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Tuesday, 19 April 2016 06:00

Jeremy Mahr in The Complete Word of God (abridged)In the beginning, Brent Tubbs directed a play. And the production was without form and void; darkness was upon the face of the show. And the spirit of Brent moved upon the three-person cast. And Brent said, “Let there be humor,” and there was laughter. And Brent heard the giggles, and it was good. And Brent said, “Behold, I have provided everything necessary for entertainment.” And he knew that it was heavenly … even though yours truly, on Saturday, missed out on several probably heavenly scenes.

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