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Number One: "Urinetown," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through Sunday, July 9 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 04 July 2006 22:37

"Urinetown" ensemble In the second act of the magnificent musical parody Urinetown, the character of Bobby Strong - a novice revolutionary, and the show's ostensible leading man - sings "Run, Freedom, Run," a rousing call-to-arms to his fellow oppressed. The number, a sort of "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" from Guys & Dolls as seen through a Les Miserables filter, is one of those guaranteed show-stoppers designed to leave audiences cheering. At the Timber Lake Playhouse's Saturday-night performance of the show, however, this production number led to something even more thrilling.

 
Hell Hath No Fury... : "The Tempest," at Riverside Theatre through July 9 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Audra Beals   
Tuesday, 04 July 2006 22:35

Cristina Panfilio and Jody Hovland A theatre company takes a risk when it changes key elements of Shakespeare, as Iowa City's Riverside Theatre has by switching the protagonist in its presentation of The Tempest from Prospero to Prospera. Turning this male character into a female brings an entirely new dynamic to the performance, yet even though this makes for a unique production, it distracts from the tone of Shakespeare's text.

 
Magic Moments: "The Tempest," at Lincoln Park through July 2 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 23:15

Emily Coussens and Pat Flaherty in "The Tempest"The Tempest is one of Shakespeare's most magical offerings - a wildly theatrical concoction set on an enchanted isle populated by fairies, sprites, and spirits, and governed by a benevolent (yet easily enraged) ruler in possession of a supernatural cloak.

Given the built-in limitations in budget and production design at Rock Island's Lincoln Park, though, no one attending Genesius Guild's current production of the play should expect to be wowed by spectacle; Ariel, for instance, won't be flying in on any invisible wires. Yet from its first scene, this Tempest is graced by spectacle of a different variety: the sort of stage alchemy that occurs when fine performers tear into rich material, and when a strong director orchestrates the actors' contributions and stage pictures with inventiveness and grace. Imagination, of course, is its own kind of magic.

 
Murder Ball: "The Mousetrap," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through Sunday, July 8 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 23:11

The Mousetrap As the lights dimmed for the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's production of The Mousetrap - based on Agatha Christie's mystery novel - I already knew whodunnit. But don't be fooled into thinking that I possess superhuman powers of deduction or anything. I was in a high-school production of the play some 20 years ago. (Fine. Twenty-three years ago. Happy, Mom?)

So I'm not exactly fit to comment on how successfully Christie's murderous plot plays itself out here. Yet my familiarity with the story didn't lessen my enjoyment of CAST's endeavor in the slightest. Quite the contrary: I loved this production, because the vigor with which the Mousetrap ensemble played their comically shady characters was positively exhilarating.

 
What’s the Story?: "The Philadelphia Story," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 24 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 20 June 2006 22:45

The Philadelphia Story The morning after attending the Timber Lake Playhouse's production of the romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story, I drove to my local video store and rented the DVD of the beloved 1940 film, which I had never seen. I would love to report that Timber Lake's production put me in such a happy state that I was simply eager to re-live the stage experience. But unfortunately, the rental was more of a necessity than an indulgence; I had to see what about Philip Barry's play made the movie such a treasure, because its reputed charms, sadly, weren't at all apparent on the Mt. Carroll stage.

 
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