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The Young and the Restless: "subUrbia," at Augustana College through May 5 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 29 April 2013 06:00

John D'Aversa, Joshua Malone, and Bill Cahill in subUrbiaAugustana College’s production of subUrbia features one of the most (if not the most) layered and fascinating sets I’ve yet seen on a local stage, as Adam Parboosingh's scenic design manages to give us both a brick storefront – including parking spaces, cement parking bumps, scaffolding, a dumpster, and even a period-appropriate, mid-'90s pay phone – and the fully stocked interior of a convenience store at the same time. Consequently, Parboosingh’s set rendered Friday’s performance interesting well before the play even started, offering much to take in visually while we waited for the proverbial curtain to rise.

 
Turning Children's Theatre Into Ar-r-r-rt: "How I Became a Pirate," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through May 11 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:03

Chris Causer, Brad Hauskins, Janos Horvath, Sarah Hayes, Nikki Savitt, and Antoinette Holman in How I Became a PirateWhile I’ve loved every children’s production I’ve reviewed at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, How I Became a Pirate marks the first in which I wish I had the soundtrack to enjoy with my partner’s nine-year old daughter Madison on our way to and from school each day. With music and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman (both of whom also wrote the musical’s book), the songs are worth revisiting for their singable melodies and enjoyable styles, particularly the calypso numbers and a speedy, staccato, complexly rhymed nod to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.” After Saturday's performance of the show, in fact, Madison and I were singing lyrics from several of the songs on our car ride home, which I hope suggests how fun and memorable they are.

 
Berger's Joint: "Hair," at the District Theatre through April 28 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:02

Chris Causer and Bryan Tank in HairUnder no circumstances would I publicly suggest that you indulge in mind-altering substances before seeing the District Theatre’s Hair. I would, however, recommend that you ask for a hit of whatever actor Chris Causer is high on – even if it’s just the exhilaration of performing – because, clearly, its side effects include having, and giving, the time of your life.

 
Miller Time: "Death of a Salesman," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through April 21 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:01

Jim Driscoll and Dana Moss-Peterson in Death of a SalesmanThe Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Death of a Salesman marks one of James Driscoll’s most powerful, effective, fully realized performances to date, which is saying a lot given the actor’s résumé, which includes roles such as Long John Silver in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s Treasure Island and his multiple characters in last year’s Anton in Show Business for New Ground Theatre. During Friday’s presentation, I was awed by Driscoll’s ability to shift from sanity to a mental confusion bordering on insanity as his Willy Loman transitioned from his vision of his past to a moment in the present. Driscoll accomplishes this both through physical gestures, such as rubbing his head as if sweating, and vocal inflection, as his voice becomes more frantic and emotional during his state of confusion.

 
Pitch Imperfect: "Blue Sky Merchants," at Scott Community College through April 20 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 April 2013 06:00

John R. Turner and Isaac Scott in Blue Sky MerchantsScott Community College’s Blue Sky Merchants is an interesting idea that doesn’t reach its potential, mainly due to its absence of subtlety. Local playwright and actor John R. Turner’s play about a man (simply named Deskman, and played by Turner) who listens to, and then green-lights or rejects, ideas for television shows could be a poignant commentary on modern society's tastes in entertainment. Yet while Turner has a laudable knack for dialogue, Thursday’s production left me with too-little question as to his intended message, mainly because his Deskman character clearly states the author's intent, rather than allowing the audience to decipher it.

 
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