I went to "Blue Man Group" at the Peabody last night and my eyes, my ears, my intelligence, my taste and my patience were all violently assaulted. This sort of production is aimed at audiences who won't be satisfied unless they're left staggering out the doors, reeling from sensory overload.
The Webster Conservatory has mounted a simply terrific "Into the Woods"! I always say that your best bang for the buck in entertainment comes from university theatres—and the Conservatory is right at the top of my list when it comes to unfailingly excellent musical theatre.
What can one make of "Hamlet"? Last night I learned that if someone is very intelligent and gifted she can "Make Hamlet" into a refreshing, gripping delight.
It's been two-and-a-half years since Deanna Jent's remarkable play, "Falling", premiered at the Mustard Seed Theatre. This has been a busy time for Ms. Jent and her play. An off-Broadway production in 2012 was met with glowing reviews (and a nomination for a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Play"). "Falling" was produced in Los Angeles in 2013 and is appearing all over the country this year. Next year Brazil!
When I went to grad school at the University of Leeds in England—way back in 1960—some of the theatre folks there still told tales of a "crazy Nigerian" student who used to hang by his heels at cast parties. Well, that crazy Nigerian was Wole Soyinka and he went on to become one of Africa's greatest playwrights and novelists. In 1986 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Webster Conservatory has revived Craig Lucas’ fantastical little comedy, "Reckless", from 1983. We find Rachel, a pretty young wife and mother, experiencing an attack of euphoria on Christmas Eve. Rachel (as more than one critic has said) is something of a Candide in her irrepressibly optimistic attitude toward life. But she’s blended with a large dose of June Cleaver (for those of you old enough to remember “Leave it to Beaver”). She’s blissful in her conventional domestic role.
Harold Pinter is one of the few playwrights who have become adjectives: you know, like “Shakespearean”, “Shavian”, “Chekhovian”, “Brechtian”. We so easily say “Pinteresque” to convey that sense of muted menace seeping through the cracks of mundane detail in his dialogue. In Pinter the pauses seem to carry far weightier meaning than the words themselves.
"Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" is still merrily dancing and skipping in my ear. Will I ever get it out? Why in the world would I want to?
The Rep has opened that hilarious backstage slap-stick sex-farce, "Noises Off". This amazing play by Michael Frayn has left audiences breathless with laughter since 1982 when it won both the Olivier and the Evening Standard awards for Best Comedy. With the help of a few modernizing touch-ups by the playwright over the years it shows no sign of aging. It's still bright and fresh and goofy and wild and delightful—AND an immense challenge for any company attempting it.
Ko-Ko san and Nanki-Poo compete for the hand of the lovely Yum-Yum as Pish-Tush and Poo-Bah tend to civic duties in the town of Titipu in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado".