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Here's to the Ladies Who Launch: "Mama Won't Fly," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through March 20 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Brent Tubbs   
Monday, 14 March 2016 06:00

Stephanie Moeller, Sydney Dexter, and Karrie McLaughlin in Mama Won't FlyFrom the moment you step foot into the Playcrafters Barn Theatre for its production of Mama Won’t Fly – a comedy by the popular team of Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones, and Nicholas Hope – you’ll hear Route 66 cruising music that gets you in the mood to take a road trip. The show itself subsequently delivers that trip, plus a few extra surprises.

Food for Thought: "The Big Meal" at the QC Theatre Workshop through March 20 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Jeff Ashcraft   
Monday, 07 March 2016 06:00

Angela Elliott, Michael Carron, Abby Van Gerpen, Laila Haley, Joshua Pride, Erin Churchill, and Jordan McGinnis in The Big Meal, photo courtesy of Jessica Sheridan and Shared Light PhotographyBefore seeing Saturday's production of The Big Meal, my wife, youngest son, and I decided to grab supper. I wanted pizza, but my wife wanted to try something different, so we landed at a little restaurant just a few blocks east of the theatre. As we ate our hummus and falafel, we chatted about family, work, the future, and life in general. Little did we know that our simple meal together would be an almost mirrored precursor to what we were about to witness on stage.

The Executioners' Songs: "Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story," at the Circa '21 Speakeasy through February 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Victoria Navarro   
Thursday, 25 February 2016 06:00

Adam Cerny and Thomas Alan Taylor in Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb StoryLast month, I happened to turn on my TV to an episode of PBS' American Experience titled “The Perfect Crime,” which told of the senseless, 1924 murder of a young Chicago boy. The crime was committed by two teenagers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, and I was awestruck not only because of the horrific details of the killing, but also by the fact that I had never before heard of it. Then, a few weeks ago, I was assigned to review Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, a musical I was unfamiliar with – but one, thanks to PBS, boasting a story I now knew.

I'm not sure what is it about true-crime stories that draws us in, almost as voyeurs, as we witness evil acts yet find ourselves engaged in every gritty detail. And with a book, movie, TV show, or grandly scaled theatre piece such as Sweeney Todd, we can read or watch as dastardly deeds are done, yet are always kept at a safe distance from those deeds, giving us a sort of protection. The suspenseful, powerful Thrill Me, however, is a musical that would appear to work best in an intimate setting such as the one currently provided by the Circa '21 Speakeasy, where that safe distance shrinks all too uncomfortably … which is likely the goal.

May the Farce Be with You: "Moon Over Buffalo," at the District Theatre through February 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Victoria Navarro   
Monday, 15 February 2016 06:00

Ian Brown, Nancy Terrlinck, Mike Kelly, Alexis Greene and Susan McPeters in Moon Over BuffaloOn a cold night indicative of February, weary of politicians and the weather, I escaped to Rock Island for the latest District Theatre offering Moon Over Buffalo. A Tony-nominated play that debuted on Broadway in 1995, author Ken Ludwig's farce is a comedy of silly, exaggerated humor, and probably not to every theatre-goer’s taste. But in my opinion, and judging by the belly laughs coming from Friday's opening-night audience, the humor as performed here clearly worked for a number of us.

Prison Broken: "Getting Out," at Augustana College through February 7 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Dee Canfield   
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 06:00

Megan Hammerer and Samuel Langellier in Getting Out, photo courtesy of the Augustana Photo BureauAugustana College’s Getting Out, directed by Jeff Coussens, is the story of one woman’s difficulties in reconstructing her life after being released from prison, and author Marsha Norman’s 1978 play is a brilliant depiction of life's realities for a woman who has been caught in a cycle of violence, beginning with abuse as a child. Although she served her time in prison and has been released, she now has the real “getting out” to do – getting out of her own psychological hell.

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