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To Helen, Back Again: "The Miracle Worker," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 November 2013 06:01

Cayte McClanathan and Laila Haley in The Miracle WorkerWhen it matters most, the Playcrafters Barn Theatre gets A Miracle Worker right, and does emotional justice to author William Gibson’s tale of Annie Sullivan (Cayte McClanathan) teaching the blind, deaf, and mute Helen Keller (Emma Terronez) how to communicate through sign language. The scenes shared by McClanathan and Terronez are powerful, and their chemistry palpable, in Annie’s fight to force young Helen to learn, and Helen’s stubborn efforts to resist. But in truth, Saturday’s performance didn’t really find its footing until McClanathan and Terronez first shared the stage about halfway through Act I.

 
Sleeping Booty: "I Take This Man," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 November 2013 06:00

Sarah Ade Wallace, Bryan Woods and Tommy Ratkiewicz in I Take This ManTo be frank, I didn’t find the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's comedy I Take This Man all that funny, at least not consistently. However, playwright Jack Sharkey’s plot – about a single woman who brings home an unconscious Boston Marathon runner in order to finally have the romance she’s long wanted – is incredibly interesting, particularly considering the gradual pace at which Sharkey’s story unfolds, leaving you constantly wondering what will happen next. I may not have laughed as much as Sharkey would have liked, but I was certainly entertained during Thursday’s performance.

 
Nine Singers Walk into a Bar ... : "Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim," at the QC Theatre Workshop through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 November 2013 06:00

Erin Churchill, Don Denton, Allison Swanson, Patrick Gimm, Angela Elliott, Jamesd Fairchild (standing), Mark Ruebling, Sara Tubbs, and Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness (seated) in Last Call: The Songs of Stephen SondheimWhat’s perhaps most beautiful about the QC Theatre Workshop’s Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim aside from it showcasing music by, arguably, our greatest Broadway composer – is the way show creators Tyson Danner and (Reader employee) Mike Schulz weave a story through their revue, offering more than just an “in concert” experience. There’s a natural progression throughout the piece, which they’ve set in a bar where individuals and couples gather to drink, socialize, long for love, or lament love lost. Rather than having a distinct plot and conflict, the production delivers a look at a typical bar evening in which the audience gets to eavesdrop on every table conversation and watch as people mingle, flirt, and attempt to repair relationships. And the flow of this slice of life as told through song is to be admired particularly because it lacks pretense and feels real.

 
Secrets and Lies: "Other Desert Cities," at the Village Theatre through October 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 21 October 2013 06:00

Jared Svoboda, Tracy Pelzer-Timm, Pat Flaherty, and Susan Perrin-Sallak in Other Desert CitiesWhile leaving Friday’s performance of Other Desert Cities, a friend told me that he thought it was the best play he’d seen by New Ground Theatre, and I agreed that, if not the best, it is at least among the best productions by the local company. Director David Turley’s staging of playwright Jon Robin Baitz’s smart, realistic dialogue and intriguing storyline has a tremendous palpability to it, both in the family dynamics of those on-stage and in the tensions and emotions they feel.

 
Farce to Be Reckoned With: "Figaro," at Augustana College through October 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 21 October 2013 06:00

Leslie Kane and Joshua Pride in Figaro (photo by Daisy Hoang, Augustana Photo Bureau)Augustana College’s Figaro is a fine example of how witty, self-referential humor makes for a better farce than does banal innuendo and silly, unrealistic door slamming. Playwright Charles Morey’s recent adaptation of Pierre Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro (written in 1778) is sharply funny, filled with references to Beaumarchais’ original trilogy (“It would take an Italian opera to describe [the plot.]”) and digs at the rich (“How clever of you, sir, to be rich rather than smart.”) There’s still sexual innuendo and slamming doors, but Morey’s script is so much quick-paced, pointedly humorous fun that the two-hour presentation rises above the level of most bedroom farce, especially considering that this production is populated by such a well-cast ensemble.

 
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