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Knight Lite: "Monty Python's Spamalot," at the District Theatre through August 17 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 August 2014 06:00

Doug Kutzli, Chris Tracy, Matt Holmes, Wendy Czekalski, Mike kelly, and Bob Manasco in Monty Python's SpamalotThe District Theatre's Monty Python's Spamalot seems like an amateur talent show, particularly due to the limitations of the company's new performance space in Rock Island's former Grape Life venue. (The new locale is so small, it redefines "intimate theatre" in the Quad Cities.) Yet while the limited movement due to the lack of stage space creates an amateurish feel, I’m happy to say that much of the rest of Friday's production emphasized talent. If it was an intentional decision to present the material as a novice attempt to recreate Monty Python's (arguably) best-loved film, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, it was a smart one on director Tristan Tapscott's part. Space doesn't allow for a big production, so Tapscott embraces the limitations of the new stage area, and it works.

 
Hear the People Sing: "Les Misérables," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through August 10 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 August 2014 06:00

John B. Leen in Les MiserablesIf the Timber Lake Playhouse’s production of Les Misérables is the only experience some theatre-goers will have with Alain Boublil’s and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s much-loved musical, I think that would be more than okay. Director Matthew Teague Miller and his cast and crew not only do justice to the material, but present it in a memorable way that, for me, actually improves on the long-running Broadway version. This is an exceptional production, boasting fantastic performances and exquisite imagery.

 
Dough, a Deer, a Female Seer ... : "Love, Lies, & the Lottery," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through September 6 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 28 July 2014 06:00

(clockwise from left) Tamarin K. Ythier, James Fairchild, Erin Clark, Tristan Layne Tapscott, Brad Hauskins, Janet Ellen Brucken, and Marc Ciemiewicz in Love, Lies, and the LotteryMaybe you’ll need to have seen a lot of stage farces, or feel like you’ve seen every stage farce, to appreciate what writer/director Jim Hessleman is doing in the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s world-premiere presentation Love, Lies, & the Lottery. Because this isn’t just, as its title implies, a traditional, door-slamming slapstick, despite the numerous doors to be slammed. (Or rather, here, gently closed.) This energetic, sometimes hilarious, incredibly busy production is more accurately a comedic greatest-hits package, and one boasting a larger number of familiar genre conceits than you would’ve thought squeezable into two hours of stage time. You could teach a semester on Intro to Modern Farce using Hesselman’s play as your textbook and still not cover everything in time for the final.

 
That's the One That's Not a Planet Anymore, Right?: "Plutus," at Lincoln Park through August 3 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 28 July 2014 06:00

Bob Hanske, Bryan Woods, and Neil Friberg in Every so often, Genesius Guild's end-of-summer comedy isn't the traditionally silly, over-the-top production that mostly forsakes a story-driven plot. Such is the case with this year’s comedic romp Plutus. During Saturday’s take on Aristophanes' original text, I found myself as interested in the outcomes of the characters as I did in director/adapter Don Wooten's mockery of local icons and current events. Sometimes more so.

 
New York State of Mind: "Wonderful Town," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through August 2 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 28 July 2014 06:00

Carly Ann Berg and Jenna Haimes (both aloft) and fellow members of Wonderful TownWonderful Town is one of the few musicals whose soundtracks I love without ever having seen the stage version. That is, until Thursday night’s performance at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, and what I saw lived up to the high expectations created by listening to the rich, often humorous songs by composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

 
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