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Top Five with a Bullet: "High Fidelity," at the District Theatre through May 3 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 20 April 2015 06:00

Tristan Tapscott in High FidelityThursday’s preview performance of the District Theatre’s High Fidelity was, during its first act, a painful experience … because by intermission, my facial muscles actually hurt from smiling so much. While this musical – composed by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, with a book by David Lindsay-Abaire – is, in itself, a lot of fun, director James Fairchild and his cast rocked the hell out of it, presenting its story of a record-store owner’s most recent breakup (in a long line of them) with infectious energy.

 
I May Not Know Arte, but I Know What I Like: "Commedia Dell'arte," at St. Ambrose University, and April 25 and 26 at Additional Davenport Venues PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 20 April 2015 06:00

Sam Jones, Jackson Green, and Amelia Fischer in Commedia Dell'arteSt. Ambrose University’s Commedia Dell'arte, which closed its one-weekend run on April 19 *, was like nothing I’d previously seen on a local stage. Director/writer Daniel Rairdin-Hale and composer Dillon Rairdin put together a production that felt like a sequence of sketch-comedy bits and musical numbers, but one linked by a story about a mistaken romance forbidden by two fathers. Servants step in to help the young lovers, and hilarity ensued by way of juggling, dancing, singing, the playing of instruments, and comical gags both aural and physical, with most of the actors performing in mask.

 
Whole Lotta Shakespeare Goin' on: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through April 19 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 13 April 2015 06:00

Bryan Woods, Stacy McKean Herrick, Angela Rathman, Rebecca McCorkle, and Martha O'Connell in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare AbridgedThe Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is a loosely staged, sloppy mess of the comedy by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. In presenting (almost) every single one of Shakespeare’s plays in about an hour and a half plus intermission, director Tom Morrow didn’t seem to give his five actors much in the way of blocking, leaving them to frequently mill about or form awkward clumps. Yet it’s this unrefined quality that turns out to be the production’s chief strength; it's all the more delightful for feeling less like a scripted piece than an improv show.

 
Parent-Screecher Conference: "God of Carnage," at Scott Community College through April 18 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 13 April 2015 06:00

Sara Bolet and Amanda Dugan in God of CarnageGiven its sharply funny script, Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage is one of the few plays I could see over and over again. And while Scott Community College’s presentation of this story about two sets of parents discussing a fight between their young sons doesn’t quite live up to the brilliance of Reza’s dark comedy, director Kevin Babbitt and his cast and crew still nail the play’s most important points. That includes the necessary on-stage puking, which is just one enjoyable element in what ends up a rather humorous production.

 
Supper Heroines: "The Church Basement Ladies in: The Last (Potluck) Supper," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through May 16 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 30 March 2015 05:00

Kaitlyn Casanova, Deborah Kennedy, Tom Walljasper, Rachelle Walljasper, and Kay Francis in The Church Basement Ladies in The Last Potluck SupperThe fifth time is apparently the charm for writer Greta Grosch and composer/lyricist Drew Jansen, as the final installment in the Church Basement Ladies series is, for me, the most cohesive and amusing from beginning to end. Primarily, this is because there’s a clear plot that ties together the story as, through flashbacks, we learn about the founding of the show's rural-Minnesota church, the initial introduction of the titular ladies to their basement kitchen, and the eventual disbanding of the congregation. This musical is the history of the ladies’ Lutheran church in its entirety, a thread that pulls together the proceedings in a beautiful way.

 
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