Denise Yoder in As You Like It

The Prenzie Players' As You Like It starts out in true Prenzie form, with short vignettes taking place before the show actually begins. The first person we see is Denise Yoder as Touchstone, the fool of William Shakespeare's comedy, and as she performs some funny bits involving origami and audience interaction, Yoder's opening scenes seem mostly improvised. I will say, though, that during the December 8 preview, there was a lot more going on during this prelude, with a guitarist playing off to the side, and different music playing in the background over the dialogue – it was almost too much, and hard to hear what was being said. But once we actually got to the script, director Kitty Israel's production was off and running.

Craig Cohoon and Jordan Smith in Stocking Stuffers

'Tis the season to be … silly?

That certainly seems the case for the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's production of Stocking Stuffers. Chock full of funny characters and Christmas spirit, this show by author Geff Moyers offers everything from hip reindeer to talking stockings – a collection of sketches, with no real storyline, designed to get you in the holiday mood.

Abby Van Gerpen, Pat Flaherty, and Brant Peitersen in Buried Child

One thing I love about QC Theatre Workshop productions is that from the moment you walk into the building, you’re not walking into a converted gymnasium – you're walking into a specific space in which the story you're about to see takes place. I've previously participated in a couple of QCTW shows, one of them a Sam Shepard play, and can say that the company did a fantastic job of re-creating its space for the October 14 performance of Shepard's Buried Child. Scenic designer Matt Elliott and painter Emma Brutman have created a set that creeps you out from the moment you step foot into the playing area. The moldy walls appear to be crying, bleeding, or both, and the mold ends in jagged, sharp edges that look like bite marks, giving the whole set a sense of decomposition that fits this play perfectly.

Adam Cerny, Jason Platt, Pamela Briggs, Nancy Teerlinck, and Jason Dlouhy in Deathtrap

Spoiler alert: Deathtrap, now running at the the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, is awesome. In fact, since I started reviewing a little less than a year ago, this was certainly the most enjoyable night of theatre I've yet had.

Victor Angelo and Joe LoGiudice in The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks, the 1960 musical with a score by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics and book by Tom Jones, is a love story with a twist, and the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre production that I saw on August 11 offered some sweet moments propped against a score I did not particularly care for. Its central idea and story, however, I loved.

Hillary Pieper-Erb, Joel Kolander, and Troy Stark in Children of Eden

When walking into Quad City Music Guild’s production of Children of Eden on August 7, I had no idea what sort of beautiful music my ears were about to be treated to. The story I was familiar with. Composer Stephen Schwartz's score, however, was all new to me, and director Bill Marsoun has assembled a fantastic cast with which to tell this biblical story of the Earth's creation.

Donnalynn Waller, Megan Opalinski, Sarah Hayes, and Whitney Hayes in Menopause: The Musical

Being a 33-year-old male, I don’t know that I'm the prime demographic for the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Menopause: The Musical. But then again, maybe I am. I certainly learned a lot about the “change, change, change,” as they refer to it in the opening number set to the tune of “Chain of Fools,” and at the July 5 preview performance, I witnessed a very polished performance – even if I did find myself asking a lot of questions.

Andrew Slater and Andy Curtiss in The Revenger's Tragedy

You’ve probably all heard of the Avengers. You’ve probably not heard of the Revenger's.

The Prenzie Players' production of The Revenger’s Tragedy takes a dark look at ambition, lust, a lover’s vengeance, and the drive to achieve it, and is lacking any real superheroes. Director Matt Moody modernizes this Thomas Middleton play written in the early 1600s mostly with the employment of modern clothing, and although the work is centuries old, a lot of its subject matter, unfortunately, is still relevant today.

Joanna Mills, Molly Ahern, Gage McCalester, and Nathan Bates in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Within this review, be prepared to read the gushings of a 33-year-old man re-living a childhood story he has not experienced in probably 15 years. In re-living it, after a decade-plus of growing, there's also some disappointment in struggling to r...

Kermit Thomas, Jim Strauss, Don Faust, and Shellie Moore Guy in A Woman Called Truth

"Tell your story!" "But who will listen?"

Those opening lines from A Woman Called Truth, now playing at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, get the audience ready to hear a character's tale. What the audience does not yet get in those opening lines, however, is how very important that story is, and how beautifully it will be told by a diverse and talented cast.

Pages