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Parent 'Hood: "Things My Mother Taught Me," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through November 2 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 30 September 2013 06:00

Daniel Crary and Cara Chumbley in Things My Mother Taught MeThe Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s Things My Mother Taught Me, which is about a young New York couple moving into a new apartment in Chicago, is one of those plays that requires patience, as the first half of the first act takes a while to get on its feet and bring in the humor. While Brad Hauskins’ Polish building superintendent Max elicited hearty laughs during Friday's performance through the actor's adept comic delivery and (eventually overused) “Uh-oh”s, not much else, early on, was all that effectively funny. Until, that is, the parents of the cohabitating Olivia and Gabe arrived, at which point it was clear that director Warner Crocker’s pacing for the rest of the show was going to be remarkable, and the comedic chaos amplified by the play's four parents fussing over their children.

 
Theorems and Relativity: "Proof," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through September 22 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 16 September 2013 06:00

Bryan Lopez and Stephanie Moeller in ProofBryan Lopez’s charm seems key to enjoying the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s production of Proof. That’s not to say that he's the only reason to take in director Steve Parmley’s presentation of author David Auburn’s material, but I do want to acknowledge that it’s his character’s grace and agreeableness that draw you into the play, as he's our sympathetic and likable connection to the plot’s proceedings. During Friday's performance, the eagerness with which Lopez's Hal tried to lure Stephanie Moeller’s Katherine out of her house to hear his band of math geeks perform held such sincerity that I hoped she’d say yes solely for his sake.

 
Family Affair: "How I Learned to Drive," at the QC Theatre Workshop through September 21 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 September 2013 06:00

Angela Rathman, Mike Schulz, Jessica Denney, Chris Page, and Karen Jorgenson in How I Learned to DriveThere’s a beautiful humanity in the QC Theatre Workshop’s production of How I Learned to Drive, which presents playwright Paula Vogel’s pedophilic tale with realistic characters rather than caricatures clearly defined as “good” and “evil.”

 
Oldies and Goodies: "Let's Face the Music: A New Musical Revue," at the District Theatre through September 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 September 2013 06:00

Wendy Czekalski, Sheri Olson, Bryan Tank, and Erin Lounsberry in Let's Face the Music: A New Musical RevueLet’s Face the Music: A New Musical Revue is a production of songs by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George and Ira Gershwin, conceived and directed by Lora Adams, and performed by four of the best singers (and one of the best dancers) in the area-theatre community. While the tempo and energy of the numbers change, the District Theatre’s presentation maintains a mellow mood throughout the hour-long show, with the only glaring fault in Saturday's performance being that the piece wasn't also presented in a 1940s nightclub, so that the audience could complete the experience by stepping into the period presented on stage.

 
Depression? What Depression?: "Southern Crossroads," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through September 21 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 19 August 2013 06:01

 Brad Hauskins, Tom Walljasper, Rachelle Walljasper, Lora Adams, Andrew Crowe, and Jody Alan Lee in Southern CrossroadsWith its charm, high spirits, optimism, and infectiously fun tunes selected and arranged by Steve Przybylski, there’s a wonderful specialness to playwright Warner Crocker’s Southern Crossroads. And in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's current production of the show, what's particularly special about what is already a good musical has a lot to do with director Curt Wollan’s cast members, who have an apparent love for the material and exude a palpable enjoyment in their performance of it. This piece transcends traditional musical theatre in a way that’s all too rare, pulling in its audience through a spell of song and hope.

 
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