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Home on the Ranch: "Of Mice & Men," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through January 19 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 13 January 2014 06:00

Cody Johnson, Ed Villarreal, and Greg Boulijon in Of Mice & MenThe Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men begins with a scene in which Cody Johnson’s George and Ed Villarreal’s Lenny share a slow and (mostly) gentle conversation about their plans to work as ranch hands, and their dreams of using their money to buy their own piece of land and “live off the fat” of it. The patient way in which Johnson, with obvious compassion, speaks with Villarreal’s not-so-bright Lenny leaves no doubt as to George’s sincere concern for his daft companion, and Lenny's wide-eyed trust, shown as he hangs onto every word George says, suggests the loving connection Lenny has with George. Their relationship is immediately both clear and touching, and sets the foundation for the deeply emotional events that transpire through the course of this story.

 
Turn of the Scrooge: "A Christmas Carol," at the District Theatre through December 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 December 2013 06:00

Doug Kutzli in A Christmas CarolOn Saturday evening, I was reminded of the local treasure that is the District Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Written by Tristan Layne Tapscott with music by Danny White, this holiday musical is something special: a locally created piece so good that it could, and should, be staged by theatres throughout the country. And this year – the second the theatre has produced the show – brings some notable changes from last winter's staging of this theatrical gem.

 
Italian Beefs: "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," at the QC Theatre Workshop through December 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 December 2013 06:00

Adam Michael Lewis and Sergeant Leon Maxwell Edison VonPepper in The Two Gentlemen of VeronaThe women of The Two Gentlemen of Verona shine in the Prenzie Players’ latest production. Maggie Woolley’s effervescent Julia and Catie Osborn’s enrapturing Silvia – characters courted by the two gentlemen of the title – are especially captivating, thanks to Woolley's and Osborn's layered portrayals of ladies in (and later out of, and then back in) love. They’re among a group of female actors here that offer dynamic, entertaining performances filled with notable nuance, aplomb, and, when called for, titillating humor. And they are a credit to director Andy Lord’s vision for what seems to me one of William Shakespeare’s weaker, less refined plays. The women help add emotional depth to the text, while Lord wisely places the comedic aspects of the tale at the forefront through his cast's energetic performances.

 
Holly Dazed: "A Christmas Survival Guide," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through December 8 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:10

Chris Castle and Tom Naab in A Christmas Survival GuideQuad City Music Guild’s A Christmas Survival Guide, with its sentiment, irreverence, and cheeky humor, is almost exactly my kind of holiday celebration. Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal – and the show was so finely polished that I hardly think it necessary to state that it was a dress rehearsal – had me smiling, chuckling, and itching to sing along with the familiar songs included in this musical revue.

 
Holiday Cheerful: "A Fairy Tale Christmas," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 28 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 02 December 2013 06:00

Kelly Lohrenz and Cara Chumbley in A Fairy Tale ChristmasFemale fans of princesses will likely enjoy the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s children’s-theatre holiday offering A Fairy Tale Christmas. Thanks to the always-impressive costume designer Gregory Hiatt and actors Cara Chumbley and Kelly Ann Lohrenz, respectively, Cinderella and Snow White each bear striking resemblances to their characters' Disney designs. Despite slight variations in style, Hiatt’s costumes are remarkable re-creations of the most well-known looks for the two princesses, and Chumbley and Lohrenz amusingly mimic the fluttery voices and laughs of the storybook ladies.

 
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