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Animal Magnetism: "Life’s a Dream," at the Rock Island Masonic Temple through May 18 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 14 May 2008 02:18

Eddie Staver III in Life's a Dream Say what you will about the Prenzie Players' latest presentation, but you can't say that the classical-theatre troupe, with its production of Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life's a Dream, is merely resting on its laurels.

 
Unreasonable Doubts: "12 Angry Men," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through May 18 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 14 May 2008 02:16

12 Angry Men ensemble members Near as I can tell, there are two types of people: those who like Reginald Rose's jury-room drama 12 Angry Men, and those who haven't seen it yet. So speedy and smart, so filled with personality and (mostly) unforced emotion, the work seems practically indestructible, and I actually fall into a special subset of people: those who love 12 Angry Men with a passion bordering on mania. (Between Sidney Lumet's 1957 film version and the 1997 television remake, I've watched it - and this is a conservative estimate - more than three dozen times.) So it was with nearly delirious excitement, and just a touch of dread, that I attended the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Saturday-night presentation of the show, the first stage production of Rose's piece that I'd seen.

 
Writers’ Block Party: "Romance Language," at Augustana College through May 11 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 02:29

Brian Bengtson, Katie Wyant, and Kyle Roggenbuck in Romance Language If you majored in English, or are currently majoring in English, or simply wish that you'd majored in English, Peter Parnell's comic fantasia Romance Language might sound like an almost obscene amount of fun. Or perhaps merely obscene, as Augustana College's latest presentation finds Walt Whitman traveling cross-country with Huck Finn, Ralph Waldo Emerson pining over the deceased Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson abandoning her lesbian lover for a Native American warrior, Louisa May Alcott embracing her wild side as an uninhibited dance-hall girl ... . The experience of Romance Language is like tumbling down Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole and landing smack in the middle of a 19th Century American Literature course.

As an English major myself, I say: Awesome.

 
Class Clowns: "Miss Nelson Is Missing," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through May 10 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 02:13

Miss Nelson is Missing ensemble members The latest presentation at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse is titled Miss Nelson Is Missing, and as family-oriented stage entertainments go, Miss Nelson is about the only thing that is missing from it. An hour-long one-act based on a pair of popular children's books by Harry Allard and James Marshall, this show - snappily directed by Brad Hauskins, who also co-stars - bubbles with color, personality, and wit. And the people wearing the costumes aren't too shabby, either.

 
Cabin Pressures: "The Melville Boys," at the Green Room through April 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 02:10

Jonathan Gregoire, Colleen Winters, Abby Van Gerpen, and Andrew Harvey in The Melville Boys The Green Room's production of the comedic drama The Melville Boys features a great deal of charm, some dramatic heft, and more than a few laughs. Yet it's difficult to describe precisely where the charm, heft, and laughs stem from, because the show's finest moments have little to do with Norm Foster's script, and lots to do with the inflections and invention of its performers. The playwright's offering is, at best, perfectly pleasant, but the Green Room's acting quartet of Jonathan Gregoire, Andrew Harvey, Colleen Winters, and Abby Van Gerpen - under the lively direction of Donna Hare - oftentimes lends it authentic depth of feeling, and that depth results in warmer, more honest humor, and more earned sentiment, than even Foster may have anticipated.

 
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