Their Reviews

October 31, 2014

JUST IN

Rage . Elizabeth Bruce . BroadwayWorld
Our War . Terry Ponick . DigiNews
Our War . Barbara Mackay . Theatermania

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“I don’t always agree with my fellow critics, but I still value what they have to say – it balances against my own views. …we’re the start of the critical conversation around the theatre, not the end.” Mark Shenton . The Stage (UK)

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ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}
Closes Nov 9
Website
The critics respond to ABSOLUTELY! [perhaps}
Rebecca Evans . DCTheatreScene    Every fifteen minutes of Luigi Pirandello’s absurdist play brings a new comical gimmick
Doug Rule . MetroWeekly .
might as well be called TMZ, since nearly everyone acts as employees do at that modern-day media tabloid
Riley Coghan . DCist    pretty enough to look at and funny enough to be well worth your time. Definitely. Maybe
Pamela Roberts . BroadwayWorld
Ashley Ivey as Lamberto Laudisi propels the play forward with great fun and flair.
Terry Ponick . DigiNews  
a farcical, fun, obsessional fusillade of half-truths, one-liners, faux profundities and outright lies
Chris Klimek . City Paper    the lasting impression is of a joke with a long, convoluted setup and a slender, confusing punchline.
Roger Catlin . MDTheatreGuide
    this fun and fast-moving kaleidoscope of color and cunning fills the bill absolutely (and not just perhaps).
Jane Horwitz . Washington Post    eye-catching but frustrating
Michael Poandl . DCMetroTheaterArts    fast paced, colorful, and cheesy in the best way.

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DC DEAD
Closes November 1
Website
The critics respond to DC Dead
Ryan Taylor . DCTheatreScene   I had a hell of a lot of fun zombie-slaying my way through my old Fringe haunts. So much, in fact, that I’m already gathering a team for a return trip. Maybe I’ll even make it out alive this time.
Riley Coghan . DCist    You really feel like Will Smith or some other action hero Chris Klimek . City Paper    “The stairs up to Redrum”—one of Fort Fringe’s stifling second-story theaters—“are like the Exorcist stairs. We knew wouldn’t have to do any set-dressing.”
Jamie McGonnigal . BroadwayWorld    for thrills and screams – make sure DC Dead moves to the top of your list.

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ELMER GANTRY
Closes Nov. 9
Website
The critics respond to Elmer Gantry
Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene    The first Act is easy to take, if a little light; and the second Act packs a real wallop
Chris Klimek . City Paper    Pollock’s slinky athleticism and his seductive way of down-tuning the last word of a line make it feel like Matthew McConaughey’s part.
Charles Shubow . BroadwayWorld   just plain heavenly
Missy Frederick . Washingtonian    Signature Theatre is doing everything it can to make Elmer Gantry sing; there just probably should be a little less singing.
Iain Armitage (video review)       Miss Nova, to hear her sing, is like a wonderland for your ears.
Keith Loria . Theatermania    Pollock shines in the title role of the Depression-era evangelist who has trouble balancing religion and sopranos.
Peter Marks . Washington Post    a smooth and confident ride, especially when it’s cruising along on the Bible-thumping vocal power of a cast 20 strong.
Brian Bochicchio . MDTheatreGuide    sprinkled with faith, ambition, and unbridled passion
Bessel and Brasswell . DCMetroTheaterArts     the musical numbers are the highlight of the show

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FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN
Closes Nov. 2
Website
The critics respond to Fetch Clay, Make Man
Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene      Power has not simply written a history play (and believe me, Fetch Clay is as much a history play as Richard II.) He has brought history to life.
Susan Berlin . TalkinBroadway    Orman brings dignity and self-possession—as well as a dark sense of humor—to his portrayal of Fetchit.
Peter Marks . Washington Post    an interesting undercard to history.
Chris Klimek . City Paper    a pair of extraordinary lead performances that meet the challenge of inhabiting two of the most famous men of the 20th century.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins . DCMetroTheaterArts   
has race politics on its mind but at its heart this knockout of a story is about identity.
Roger Catlin . MDTheatreGuide
 
   an exhilarating night at the theater that, dare I say it, could also be considered a knock out.
Lorna Mulvaney . BroadwayWorld    the over-ambitious script and unexciting scenic design fail to live up to their subject matter.

 

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GROUNDED
Closes Nov 16
Website
The critics respond to Grounded
Charles Shubow . BroadwayWorld     it’s Anderson and the wonderful work by Director Goldman who brings this story to life.
Lynne Menefee . MDTheatreGuide    Megan Anderson keeps you captivated for 75 minutes as the character rides a roller coaster of human emotion.
Gina Jun . DCMetroTheaterArts    an absorbing, emotionally-brimming, one-woman drama

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HEDDA GABLER
Closes Nov 23
Website
The critics respond to Hedda Gabler
Roy Maurer . DCTheatreScene   
could be considered hip and spry, if digested in the right frame of mind.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkings . DCMetroTheaterArt  
This updated version of Hedda’s self-loathing, deeply flawed character and despicable actions appear too one-dimensional – and too easy to dismiss.
Madison Kaigh . BroadwayWorld    intriguing and memorable, bringing new meaning to a classic drama

 

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THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU
Closes Nov. 2
Website
The critics respond to The Island of Dr. Moreau
Jennifer Clements . DCTheatreScene   theatre for the haunted house set—with heightened plot, characterization, and production values one would expect
Chuck Conconi . Washington Life  
this production never feels menacing even though it has its bloody moments.
Kate Wingfield . MetroWeekly   the music and dance carry this production and they alone are more than enough to make this an exciting interpretation of H.G. Wells’ strange tale
Susan Berlin . BroadwayWorld     a chilling story
Maya Oliver . MDTheatreGuide    exhilarating to watch.
Chris Klimek . City Paper    A sci-fi tale about an island of tragic monsters is ripe vessel for the choreographers and the design team to go nuts. They do.
Andrew White . BroadwayWorld 
   Move over, Bela Lugosi: there’s a new smooth-talking villain in town, and he wants your flesh. Not to drink it mind you, he just wants to slice-and-dice it a bit.
David Siegel . DCMetroTheaterArts    not yet an altogether satisfactory theatrical production. There is something missing; a deep emotional resonance to go along with the showmanship…

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LA VIDA BREVE
Closes Nov 1
Website
The critics respond to La Vida Breve
Rosalind Lacy . DCTheatreScene    a tragic opera about an impassioned gypsy girl who loves too much and not well.
Jessica Vaughan . DCMetroTheaterArts    The singers are impressive, the music is fun

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MEMPHIS
Closes November 9
Website
The critics respond to Memphis
Alan Katz . DCTheatreScene        moments that reach for power and soul, but never quite get there.
John Harding . DCMetroTheaterArts    dazzles with performers rather than spectacle
Mark Beachy . MDTheatreGuide    this musical is electrifying and a must see!
Jack L.B. Gohn . TheBigPicture    fiery, precise dancing, tuneful belting of catchy songs, great period costumes.
Steve Charing . BaltimoreOutLoud    should not be missed.
Mary Johnson . BaltimoreSun    “Memphis” proves that no smash hit is too big for Toby’s to produce with pizazz.
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom    it’s the dancing that turns heads.

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NEXT TO NORMAL
Closes Nov. 16
Website
The critics respond to Next to Normal
Jayne Blanchard . DCTheatreScene    affirms the manic magnificence of Kitt and Yorkey’s words and music in a visually stunning production
Tim Smith . Baltimore Sun
Anthony C. Hayes . Baltimore Post Examiner   Less than lyrical rock musical meanders aimlessly at Centerstage
Charles Shubow . BroadwayWorld    enjoyed it so much, I’m going to return to see it again!
Gina Jun . DCMetroTheaterArts    Spectacularly daring, brilliantly unconventional and bittersweet,
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom    The strongest performances were delivered surprisingly from the supporting characters

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OUR WAR
Closes Nov 9
Website
The critics respond to Our War
Alan Katz . DCTheatreScene     a resounding success
Terry Ponick . DigiNews  
is stubbornly single-minded when it comes to exploring history and thought. It’s a missed opportunity
Barbara Mackay . Theatermania   
successful at intelligently and sensitively offering new perspectives on one of the most important eras of American history.
Nelson Pressley . Washington Post  
   the general collection doesn’t transcend the gimmick of the concept.
Susan Berlin . TalkinBroadway  
 
this audacious theatrical experiment is, for the most part, a success.
Jennifer Perry . BroadwayWorld
    nothing if not ambitious.
Sophia Howe . DCMetroTheaterArts    an unforgettable production,

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RAGE
Closes Nov 16
Website
The critics respond to Rage
Alan Katz . DCTheatreScene   I was emotionally drained when I left the theater.
Elizabeth Bruce . BroadwayWorld
    rarely is the anguished reasoning of disaffected and marginalized youth presented as clearly and articulately as it is in RAGE,
Celia Wren . Washington Post    sometimes feels like a thought experiment shoehorned into the limelight.
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts    Both actors do a fantastic job navigating the emotional rollercoaster that is Rage

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SEX WITH STRANGERS
Closes Dec. 7
Website
The critics respond to Sex with Strangers
Jayne Blanchard . DCTheatreScene    a booty call with brains.
Lindsey Clark . Pamela’s Punch   Twyford and Sottile are a strong match on stage, and give their characters a tangible, deep connection
Heather Hill . MDTheatreGuide     Witty, full of crackling dry humour, amused stabs at generational differences, poetry,
Chris Klimek . City Paper  It’s the sexiest show of the year, but you’ll love it for its mind.
Susan Berlin . TalkinBroadway    serious yet funny and sexy play
Peter Marks . Washington Post    a high-end bodice-ripper — albeit minus the purple prose.
Jennifer Perry . BroadwayWorld    strong acting and the timely, provocative, and challenging script
David Siegel . DCMetroTheaterArts    an easy crowd-pleaser on its polished comic surface, but, oh what a delicious depth it has!

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SYLVIA
Closes Nov 16
Website
The critics respond to Sylvia
Jon Boughtin . DCTheatreScene     Sherry Berg is a big presence with big energy, unafraid of outlandish and ridiculous performances, and Sylvia is no exception.
Andrew White . BroadwayWorld
    [Berg's] shameless, joyful romp is the highlight of the show,
Terry Byrne . DCMetroTheaterArts   a frisky comedy that turns animal rescue on its head

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THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Closes Nov 2
Website
The critics respond to The Taming of the Shrew
Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene    Pallas Theatre Collective, as it has in the past, shows great ambition in tackling this formidable Shakespearian comedy,
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts    not only funny and feisty but the play’s ethical conundrum is negotiated and transformed.

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THREE SISTAHS
EXTENDED!
Closes November 9
Website
The critics respond to Three Sistahs
Alan Katz . DCTheatreScene     a high-tempo musical that does Anton Chekhov proud.
Susan Berlin . Talkin’Broadway    The women drink wine, reminisce, toss recriminations at each other, and try to bridge the gaps between them—but the show only really comes to life when the women sing.
Celia Wren . Washington Post    From the moment in which these splendid performers make their entrance, buoyantly parading down the aisle as they sing a gospel number titled “In My Father’s House,” you’re always on tenterhooks waiting for another song.
Brian Bochicchio . MDTheatreGuide    a powerhouse show that rocks the house
Michael Poandl . DCMetroTheaterArts    foot-tapping, gut-busting and tear-jerking family drama 

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VISIBLE LANGUAGE
Closes Nov 16
Website
The critics respond to Visible Language
Ryan Taylor . DCTheatreScene      
The level of difficulty that director Tom Prewitt and the rest of the Avant Bard team is working with here is off the chart.
Chris Klimek . City Paper    it would be disingenuous to say the artists have solved all or even most of the daunting problems they’ve assigned themselves.
Nelson Pressley . Washington Post    Mary Resing’s script and Andy Welchel’s bright, jaunty songs (with lyrics by Resing) make plain how deep and personal the issue is.
Ellen Burns . BroadwayWorld    lacks a certain polish, and is in need of editing and focus that I think the story requires and deserves, it is an important and enlightening work
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts    Combining history with entertainment is never easy: it’s a balancing act, and Mary Resing has done an admirable job
Tina Ghandchilar . MDTheatreGuide    on the whole there were many beautifully highlighted moments.

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THE WOLFE TWINS
Closes Nov. 2
Website
The critics respond to The Wolfe Twins
Jennifer Clements . DCTheatreScene        No one in this play is without a secret, and twist by twist they come to light.
Rachel Kurzius . City Paper    Making Dana likable is a huge challenge, and Huppuch nails the smile of a person who isn’t very happy
Barbara Mackay . Theatermania    Rachel Bonds offers at once too much and too little information to make her characters into people an audience can care about.
Ellen Burns . BroadwayWorld     Despite being too long, The Wolfe Twins is provocative and entertaining, and shows a great deal of promise.
Sophia Howes . DCMetroTheaterArts    Small, surprising moments are the pleasures of The Wolfe Twins

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