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The Comedy of Errors (Review)

Little amiss in Cincinnati Shakespeare's comedy

0 Comments · Monday, April 6, 2009
This might be early, youthful Shakespeare, but it's still Shakespeare, which means it's about splendid language as much as farce. And here's the true marvel of this Cincinnati Shakepeare offering: For all its spaceships, flying nuns and gorillas (yes, there's a gorilla), the language smiles through, intact, respected and as sweet and thrilling as it should be.  

The Foreigner (Review)

The gimmick is only intermittently successful at Cincinnati Playhouse

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
As the foundation for its laughter, 'The Foreigner' asks audiences to accept a lulu of a gimmick. Many comedies do. The problem with gimmicks is that once they're established the playwright must create characters and situations so funny and so convincing that they transcend the gimmickry.   

Onstage: The Foreigner

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 17, 2009
As the foundation for its laughter The Foreigner, now at Cincinnati Playhouse, asks audiences to accept a lulu of a gimmick. Direction by Kenneth Albers is crisp. Most performances are good. Newcomer Raymond McAnally is sly and on target as a way-smarter-than-he-seems handyman. He ignites the play’s funniest sequence. Tuesday-Sunday through April 10.  

Timon of Athens (Review)

CSC gives Shakespearean rarity a contemporary slant that works

0 Comments · Monday, March 2, 2009
What you have in 'Timon of Athens' is perhaps the most obscure, least respected, least performed script in the Shakespeare canon. Contrariwise, what you have onstage at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a sharp-edged, frequently funny, relentlessly caustic, razzle-dazzle production that mines 'Timon' for its cautionary values and hangs tight as it slathers on layers of contemporary satire.  

Hamlet (Review)

Falcon Theatre's production of classic lacks unifying vision

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 25, 2009
What's on the page gets on the Monmouth Theater stage. Words and plot are explicated with energy, clarity and conviction — but there's little resonance to Shakespeare's 400-year-old tale of howling revenge.   

Blackbird (Review)

Playhouse drama is a winner

0 Comments · Friday, February 13, 2009
Sexual contact between an adult and a child is always and automatically abusive. Or is it? Unsettling questions and uncertain answers take the stage at Cincinnati Playhouse in director Michael Evan Haney's flawless production of 'Blackbird,' the 2005 David Harrower script that won an Olivier Award, the English theater's equivalent of a Tony.   

Onstage: Dead City

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 10, 2009
New Stage Collective and Director Alan Patrick Kenny have brightened Cincinnati’s winterscape with a loud, lively, mixed-media production of Dead City that’s a little like watching fireworks. Borrowing structure from James Joyce’s Ulysses, Callaghan awakens thirty-something Samantha Blossom (a smart, skillful Beth Harris) with news that her husband (Ken Early) is having an affair, then sends her on a careening, daylong chase through offices, hospitals, sleek stores, sleeker spas and trendy nightclubs — seeking truths (like Joyce’s Bloom) or at least a few comforting fictions. Thursday-Sunday through Feb. 22.  

Dead City (Review)

Lively, mixed-media production is a little like watching fireworks

0 Comments · Monday, February 9, 2009
New Stage Collective and Director Alan Patrick Kenny have brightened Cincinnati's winterscape with a loud, lively, mixed-media production that's a little like watching fireworks. Explosions of words, thoughts, lights, sounds and images surge into view, glitter for a moment and then fade to black, readying the stage for the next explosion. Both script and production work too hard, trying too frantically to sizzle and amaze, but they're exuberant.  

The Seagull (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare production offers strong, intertwining performances

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This show is strong, nuanced and magical — a lovely whole crafted of lively parts. Example: Sherman Fracher digs deep to illuminate the shallow egocentricity and bitchiness of fading actress Irina, how fiercely she needs to be the epicenter of everything.  

110 in the Shade (Review)

Mariemont Players deliver a fine musical despite challenges

1 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2009
There are moments in '110 in the Shade' when genuine theatrical impact shines through the difficulties of staging a Broadway musical of only iffy merit with a cast of 16. It's presented on a set designed by Dennis Murphy that communicates the play's mood as well as its time and place: a drought-scourged, worry-scurried prairie village in the 1930s. Farmers are giving up hope of a rain that will save their crops and cattle, just as thirtysomething Lizzie Curry is close to giving up hope of ever finding a husband and having children.