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I Went to a "Garden" Party ... : "The Secret Garden," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through March 23 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 17 March 2014 06:02

Emma Terronez and Bill Peiffer in The Secret GardenThe Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s The Secret Garden seems, to me, to be the quintessential type of production to grace its stage: a classic story told with community-theatre charm, which director Donna Weeks’ staging has in spades. Through the show's almost perfect casting and a less-is-more approach in her set design, Weeks manages to create some magic.

 
CAT-Scan-tastic: "A New Brain," at the District Theatre through March 22 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 17 March 2014 06:01

Tom Vaccaro and Bret Churchill in A New BrainBeautiful vocalizations, rich harmonies, nuanced performances, and a fun, interesting set aside, what I enjoyed most about Saturday’s performance of the District Theatre’s A New Brain was that the musical felt both familiar and original; it's a fresh take on musical theatre, yet doesn't suggest any unnecessary effort made to reinvent the wheel. With its songs by William Finn and book by Finn and James Lapine, the piece manages to be odd, joyful, irreverent, and silly all at once, but also delivers an overarching sense of hope without being pandering or sugary.

 
To the Manners Born: "Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 23 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 17 March 2014 06:00

Jonathan Iglesias and Kateri Demartino in Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, & MarriageWednesday evening’s audience clearly had a lot of fun watching and interacting with the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage. In truth, the performance would not have been quite as much fun if there were more watching and less interacting.  While there are plenty of laughs to be had as the titular character in this PG-13-style comedy offers advice on flirting, relationships, and sex, there are also a few missteps made along the way.

 
WWJD?: "Next Fall," at the Village Theatre through February 2 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 27 January 2014 06:00

David Turley and Creighton D. Olsen in Next FallA year-and-a-half after enjoying his performance in New Ground Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, I am glad to see David Turley on a Quad Cities stage again in the company's Next Fall. It was Turley's portrayals of John Hinckley in the Green Room Theatre’s 2008 Assassins and William Barfee in the Harrison Hilltop Theatre’s 2010 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that initially endeared me to his comedic deliveries. And I’m grateful to see him employ his skills as this new play's 40-year-old gay atheist Adam, a character performed with more subtlety than those aforementioned roles, but one that still employs Turley's amusing brand of dry, sarcastic, slightly dark humor.

 
Take a Walk on the Wilder Side: "Our Town," at the District Theatre through February 9 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 27 January 2014 06:00

Shelley Walljasper in Our TownDirector Bryan Tank’s production of Our Town fits the District Theatre’s stage like a glove. Or rather, I should say Tank uses the stage so well – especially in his placement of actors and set pieces – that this play seems a perfect fit for the space. With its beautiful employment of backlighting (particularly when we first see the characters grouped together) and set designer/co-star Chris Causer’s large, white pieces of fabric stretched over and draped across the back wall of the stage – and covering set pieces until they're being used – this production, aesthetically speaking, is breathtaking in its simplicity.

 
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