Their Reviews

September 19, 2014


The Devil in His Own Words . Celia Wren . Washington Post
The Devil in His Own Words . Chris Klimek . City Paper
Yentl . Doug Rule . MetroWeekly
Belleville . Doug Rule . MetroWeekly

“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)


Closes Oct 12
The critics respond to Belleville
Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene    Herzog’s characters face moron dilemmas, as in how to survive in the face of idiotic decisions.|
Doug Rule . MetroWeekly   
I quickly lost interest, to the point I didn’t much care how it ended, just that it finally did.
Riley Croghan . DCist
    characters and circumstances that don’t ring quite true.
Megan Kuhn . Baltimore Post-Examiner
like watching a car crash on interstate 95. You may want to look away but curiosity is too strong.
Eve Tushnet . AmericanConservative    Demanding happiness makes us more ashamed, and less self-aware.
Susan Berlin . Talkin’Broadway    smoothly directed by David Muse with a solid four-member cast.
Peter Marks . Washington Post 
leaves you, after all is ominously said and done, a bit creeped out but less than sufficiently gripped.

Rebecca J. Ritzel . City Paper   
the exposition doesn’t make sense—from little things like dates not adding up, to some rather preposterous final lies.
John Stoltenberg . MagicTime!    a psychological and emotional depth charge—far more horrible than any choreographed physical struggle or onstage gore could ever be.
Benjamin Tomchik . BroadwayWorld
    a powerful piece with characters that are terrifyingly real
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins . DCMetroTheaterArts    a chilling indictment of a lost generation.


Closes October 5
The Critics respond to Cancun
Rosalind Lacy . DCTheatreScene     a richly-layered comedy, brilliantly-written four hander
Andrew Lapin . City Paper    light and bubbly
Kim Palchikoff . MDTheatreGuide    a hilarious and witty tale
Jane Horwitz . Washington Post    fizzy romp
Robert A Spiegel . DCMetroTheaterArts    such a unique experience for the audience is that we are kept guessing right up to the very end


Closes October 5
The critics respond to Clybourne Park
Gina Jun . DCMetroTheaterArts    witty, honest, and insightful


Closes Sept 21
The critics respond to The Cole Porter Project
John Dellaporta . DCTheatreScene     If you’re in the mood to hear some great Cole Porter tunes sung by some excellent singers, you’ll get that.
Elliot Lanes . MDTheatreGuide    a mixed bag. Porter’s songs are always good…
Ramona Harper . DCMetroTheaterArts    a two-hour hoot of a blast of great Cole Porter music and lyrics


EXTENDED!! Closes Oct 5
The critics respond to Colossal
Steven McKnight . DCTheatreScene     a rare theatrical experience not to be missed.
Steve Charing . MDTheatreGuide    this vibrant, talented cast crosses the goal line before the clock runs out.
Susan Berlin . Talkin’Broadway    an involving and unexpected evening of theater, if perhaps a little overstuffed…
Peter Marks . Washington Post    aims for the goal post and succeeds
Rick Westercamp . DCMetroTheaterArts    visually stimulating, as well as emotionally and physically exhausting in the most cathartic way.


Closes October 5
The critics respond to The Devil in His Own Words

Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene    there is a moment in which he revisits tortures at Salem – and he could have as profitably attended a beheading or a waterboarding – which makes Satan seem Saintly, and you and me and also God seem unholy.
Chris Klimek . City Paper 
Kyd’s Satan never seems to tire of his partners’ realization that their deal with him won’t turn out like they wanted.
Celia Wren . Washington Post
lively and sometimes moving
Anna Brinley . MdTheatreGuide
   Wonderfully verbose and darkly engaging
Sophia Howe . DCMetroTheaterArts    There is no end of fun to be had in writing about the Devil, and Marcus Kyd finds it all.

Pamela Roberts . BroadwayWorld    the pieces contrast vividly in tone, pace and intensity, highlighting Kyd’s artistic range and strength.


FATAL SONG: The Great Opera Murders
Closes Sept 21
The critics respond to Fatal Song
Ben Demers . DCTheatreScene    a melodious sendup of the raw deals handed to opera divas by their “sadistic” composers.
Terry Ponick . DigitalNews   Their opera-centric banter is Ms. Cahill’s wry, witty, and sometimes uproariously funny way of setting the scene
Robert Catlin . MDTheatreGuide    a lot of fun.
Jessica Vaughan . DCMetroTheaterArts    If you are an opera buff, the many winks and nods to the excesses of the genre will delight…  


Closes Sept 27
The critics respond to Fool for Love
Richard Barry . DCTheatreScene     
peaks out from behind dusty blinds to explore the murk of male and female love as well a family history’s leviathan grip.
Susan Berlin . Talkin’Broadway
  a showcase for two fine actors in the central roles.
Heather Nadolny . BroadwayWorld     a collaboration that truly works
Nelson Pressley . Washington Post 
    a twisted cowboy romance, 75 minutes of “Git out!” and “Don’t go!”
David Siegel . DCMetroTheaterArts    full of the stickiness of love and repulsion



Closes September 21

The critics respond to King Lear
Tim Treanor . DCTheatreScene    comes across to me as self-conscious and a little confusing, but also facile and knowing.
Gail Choochan . Fredericksburg Star 
   Thoroughly engaging from start to finish,
Charles Shubow . BroadwayWorld    You will never forget these performances.
Chris Klimek . City Paper     it feels like we’ve all wrestled with an insoluble text and not been utterly worn down by it.
Peter Marks . Washington Post    well played, compact.
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts    This Lear triumphs …for the simplicity of its presentation brought forth in spitting-distance before our eyes and ears.
Morgan Halvorsen . MDTheatreGuide    the show manages to inject humor without disturbing its own emotional appeal.


Closes September 21
Shakespeare Theatre

Center Stage
Performs Oct 17, 18
The critics respond to The Magic Flute
Debbie Jackson . DCTheatreScene   big time…masterful production
Mike Paarlberg . City Paper    a riveting original work
Jeffrey Walker . BroadwayWorld     Mozart and Marimbas.
Peter Marks . Washington Post     You haven’t heard Mozart until he’s been played on marimbas.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins . DCMetroTheaterArts    The South African Isango Ensemble makes a joyful noise with soaring, full of life signature flair


Closes November 9
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
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom    it’s the dancing that turns heads.


Closes September 21
The critics respond to Metamorphosis
Richard Barry . DCTheatreScene    Ari Jacobson’s performance as Gregor makes for the play’s most compelling interpretation.
Cyle Durkee . DCMetroTheaterArts     There is an innocence derived from elegance that pervades the choices made on stage.
John Stoltenberg . MagicTime!
   a live action graphic novel…captivates and fascinates way beyond words.
Jennifer Perry . BroadwayWorld    not quite innovative and new, but it’s not the same old thing either.
Barbara Trainin Blank . MDTheatreGuide
    the highly physical performances—reminiscent of silent-movie acting—should provide humor, but don’t.



Closes September 21
The critics respond to Molly
Richard Barry . DCTheatreScene   Love is lonely business in the literary-historical, one-person play Molly by George O’Brien.
Malcolm Barnes . CDN    Danielle Davy delivers a riveting performance
Chris Klimek . City Paper   It seems shortsighted or worse to dismiss Allgood’s story… as a mere footnote of literary history.
Missy Frederick . Washingtonian   Meet Molly. She’s a hard woman to root for, and a hard woman to relate to, and the audience has to spend quite a bit of time with her …
Michael Poandl . DCMetroTheaterArts   Scena has gone green, and I’m not talking about reusable grocery bags.


Closes September 28
The critics respond to Seven Guitars
Roy Maurer . DCTheatreScene       Shay masterfully provokes a bravura performance from the ensemble cast…
Celia Wren . Washington Post    an able cast brings out the humor, poignancy and eloquence of “Seven Guitars,”

David Siegel . DCMetroTheaterArts    plenty of sharp humor to protect and medicate from the pain.
Keith Tittermary . BroadwayWorld    solid, but not perfect.


Closes September 21
The critics respond to Shining City
Mark Dewey . DCTheatreScene   Shining City raises a question about our demons: do we make them up to punish ourselves, or do they exist outside us in the world?
Chris Klimek . City Paper   [Conor McPherson] was newly divorced and newly sober by the time of Shining City, a vivid and convincing dissection of regret.
Andrew White . BroadwayWorld   Then there are …the chimeras of lives we might have led and relationships just within our grasp that, for whatever reason, were never meant to be.
Roger Catlin . MDTheatreGuide   Shining City is thought to be the pinnacle of playwright Conor McPherson’s powers,
Cyle Durkee . DCMetroTheaterGuide  
Conor McPherson loves the supernatural. His plays exude an otherworldliness that seeps into the dialogue and infects the players.


Closes September 28
The critics respond to Spark
Jennifer Clements . DCTheatreScene    Spark is a triumph.
Celia Wren . Washington Post    
disappointing … One wishes that some dramaturgical drill sergeants had insisted on revisions during the writing of “Spark…
Chris Klimek . City Paper
   Long stretches of the play are devoted to two of the three Glimord sisters sitting around wondering where the third one is.
Jennifer Perry . BroadwayWorld    It doesn’t ignite, but it doesn’t fizzle either.
Kyle Durkee . DCMetroTheaterArts    I love theater that makes you think!



Closes September 21

The critics respond to Sunday in the Park with George
Jayne Blanchard . DCTheatreScene   inspires like a great work of art. You never tire of looking at it and you see new things, feel new things every time you take it in.
Geoffrey W. Malada . Washington Jewish Week    You may not leave Sunday humming or dancing, but its characters – with all their intelligence, humor and pathos – will linger in your mind…
Jordan Wright . Alexandria Times    …whisks audiences to Victorian Paris.
Doug Rule . MetroWeekly   a fresh, snazzy production of Sondheim’s Seurat-inspired musical Sunday in the Park with George
Trey Graham . City Paper    “Color and light,” as one number in Sunday in the ParkWith George puts it in deliciously staccato rhythms, are what the post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat was obsessed with manipulating.
Esther . WeLoveDC   
….seeing Signature’s production is absolutely essential. In fact, it’s vital.
Charles Shubow . BroadwayWorld   Director Matthew Gardiner works wonders with Sondheim musical.
Barbara Mackay . Theatermania
   Turning chaos into order, dot by dot.
Tim Smith . Baltimore Sun   Has any creator in the realm of musical theater ever considered each syllable of text, each note and harmonic turn as deeply as Stephen Sondheim?
John Glass . DramaUrge   A play that reflects the creative process should be messy, chaotic, come with stretches of ennui, sound discordant, and contain characters that take on a life of their own.
Peter Marks . Washington Post   Sometimes, a painting strikes you as so glorious it seems to sing to you. On far rarer occasions, it actually does.
Mark Beachy . MDTheatreGuide   You will never look at a painting the same way again …
David Friscic . DCMetroTheaterArts   … each element of Signature Theatre’s stunning production of Sunday in the Park with George flows seamlessly together to create one unified artistic entity.


Closes October 11
The critics respond to Take Me Out
Brett Steven Abelman . DCTheatreScene    As moving, painful, and entertaining as a ballgame – where someone, of course, must lose so that another can win…
Missy Frederick . Washingtonian    Marzac’s conversion—and Downs’s infectious enthusiasm—is one of the sheer pleasures of this funny, poignant, and at times troubling play.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins . DCMetroTheaterArts
    thoughtful production about major matters
Michael Poandl . DCMetroTheaterArts
   hilarious and moving, with deeply memorable characters.
Jamie McGonnigal . BroadwayWorld    Adam Downs as Mason was a revelation. We found ourselves waiting for his return every time he left the stage. 

Closes October 18
The critics respond to Toast

Ben Demers . DCTheatreScene   an interactive, empowering production wherein quirky inventors guide the audience toward game-changing technological advances.
Chris Klimek . City Paper   looks like a corporate retreat. It feels like on, too.
Peter Marks . Washington Post   
not fully cooked.
Jessica Vaughan . DCMetroTheaterArts    very much a work in progress.



Closes September 28

The Critics respond to The Understudy
Jayne Blanchard . DCTheatreScene      combines the farcical backstage antics of Noises Off with Kafkaesque flourishes
Tim Smith . Baltimore Sun     there’s something to be said for a play that manages to mix humor and hubris; bromance and bananas;
Anthony C. Hayes . Baltimore Post-Examiner     Rebeck’s dialogue is peppers with dark comedic lines and lots of insider jokes.
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom     Silence is not beautiful. Understudies are not bitter.
Jack L. B. Gohn . BroadwayWorld    Is Theresa Rebeck serious? In The Understudy, a play where the audience is constantly laughing, is she reaching for something profound?
Robert Michael Oliver . DCMetroTheaterArts    Theresa Rebeck’s The Understudy opened this week to a chorus of satiric laughs and biting, insightful one-liners.
April Forrer . MDTheatreGuide    …begins as a seemingly simplistic comedy about the trials of being an underpaid and underused actor, …becomes a lesson in profound, stark truths. 


Closes September 20, 2014
Shakespeare Theatre
Performs Oct 19
Center Stage
The Critics respond to Venus and Adonis
Debbie Jackson . DCTheatreScene    world class artistry.
Mike Paarlberg . City Paper   a much less focused mishmash of opera, theater, ballet, and percussive performance….
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins . DCMetroTheaterArts    passionate and innovative
Ellen Burns . BroadwayWorld
    this joyous, multitalented, charismatic company could stage my grocery list.



Closes September 28

The Critics respond to We Are Samurai
Jennifer Clements . DCTheatreScene    a compelling, and certainly unique, evening of participatory theatre at its most accessible.
Alan Katz . BroadwayWorld    wild, well-made and weird
Michael Poandl . DCMetroTheaterArts    Deborah Randall’s hallucinatory production, it is pure floating bliss.
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom    Unlike anything previously staged at the Playshack 



Closes October 5

The critics respond to Yentl
Alan Katz .    a wonderful story that is both essentially Jewish and essentially universal, speaking to the needs of acceptance, drive, and even sometimes resignation in our present culture.
Doug Rule . MetroWeekly    The show needs punchy music to match the punch of the story…
Tanya Pai . Washingtonian    two parts Twelfth Night plus one part Boys Don’t Cry, with a generous pinch of Fiddler on the Roof.
Jeffrey Walker . BroadwayWorld    the gender-bending central role is not just a plot device. Singer’s Yentl has no other choice but to live her life as a man, in the time and place in which the story unfolds.
Amanda Gunther . TheatreBloom    an invigorating and refreshing new production
Peter Marks . Washington Post    …overlong, awkwardly encumbered “Yentl” — comes across more like a body with two brains: a play and a musical of clashing styles forced to inhabit the same space.
John Stoltenberg . DCMetroTheaterArts    … such profound new life has been breathed into Isaac Bashevis Singer’s beloved novella that at its heart this retelling is more transformative than any before. 

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