Showboat Majestic closes out the 2009 summer season with the evergreen, ever-lilting, ever-intelligent Alan Lerner-Frederick Loewe 1956 musical 'My Fair Lady,' under Tim Perrino's direction. Much of this show is brightly energetic and cleverly staged, though occasionally ragged in execution on the postage stamp stage. All 18 cast members give the piece their Showboat best.
Imagine the result if Noel Coward had written 'King Lear.' Imagine the savagery that families reserve for their most bitter internecine battles but verbalized in the lilting, wit-lit language of drawing-room comedy. That's the effect of 'The Lion in Winter,' which is opening Season 16 at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company with seven most familiar and ordinarily persuasive performers directed by artistic guru Brian Isaac Phillips.
With a zippy production of Anthony Shaffer's 1970 thriller 'Sleuth,' Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has launched a year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Almost 40 years after its 1,200-performance Broadway run, 'Sleuth' survives and thrives under Michael Evan Haney's crafty direction — surprises and intricate trickery intact. Further, while keeping the thrills chilling, Haney instilled some nicely leavening humor.
At The Carnegie, director Greg Procaccino, producer Joshua Steele and music director Alan Patrick Kenny have devised a 'Secret Garden' that's good looking and difficult listening. Leading performances are fetching, especially Ty Yadzinski as a dour, bedeviled widower and Charity Farrell as the cheeky then cheerful orphan who discovers the locked garden and transforms it into a colorful, healing retreat.
Go prepared to laugh with little letup. A single actor/athlete uses well-honed skills to both re-tell and lampoon Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film, 'The Seven Samurai,' in which good prevails over evil but at great cost to both losers and winners.
All you worshipers in the temple of the theater, shout "Hallelujah!" After engagements in New York and Chicago, storyteller-actor-writer Jim Loucks is lighting up one corner of the Fringe Festival with his solo show, 'Cemetery Golf': 75 minutes of fresh, amusing, often moving recollections of a North Georgia childhood.
In a pre-Fringe interview writer-producer-director Brad Cupples said his show "embraces blasphemy" and lambastes creationism (aka "intelligent design") as non-science and "an abomination to common sense." Well, that might have been his intent, but intentions aren't performance — in the theater or anywhere else, but especially not in the theater.
At 100 minutes, 'Free at Last/Land of Confusion/The Good, The Bad and The Evil: Angels vs. Demons' is at least 60 repetitive, mind-numbing, ear-assaulting minutes too long. It seeks to weld dance, poetry, music, sound and images together into salient social commentary.