Great acting brings a callous world to life
0 Comments · Monday, October 21, 2013
Most of the characters in Of Mice and Men
are victims of bigotry and persecution, and life is treated callously.
Lennie and George’s friendship, built on
familiarity and kindness, is sadly trampled by an uncaring world, quick
to judge and destroy. This is a deeply moving production.
Women with issues
0 Comments · Monday, October 14, 2013
The play’s title, a distillation of its
evolution of emotion and circumstance, is a lyric from an obscure Rock
tune, and it’s an apt précis of the story’s arc. The script could easily
have descended into a soap opera-like drama or a silly comedy, but it
does not. Gionfriddo is a masterful writer of witty, provocative
dialogue, and her characters are painfully real.
Deep scars, painful memories
0 Comments · Monday, October 7, 2013
Wartime tortures its victims long beyond the battlefields
and combat. Especially when a war tears apart the population of a single
nation, the scars run deep, last long and profoundly change lives.
That’s the circumstance of the characters in Martín Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun, receiving its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
Running hot and cold
1 Comment · Thursday, September 5, 2013
The white-hot heat of a family tearing itself apart, the
cold fear of submerged emotions spilling forth — these elements fuel
this powerful drama.
by Rick Pender
at 09:18 AM | Permalink
It might be hard to imagine that a show like Legally Blonde: The Musical
could stir up controversy, which it did last fall at Loveland High
School. But that's not stopping other theaters from putting it onstage,
including Northern Kentucky University, which opened a campus production
on Thursday (and continues through March 3). It's the familiar story of
Elle Woods, spurned by her fiancé, off to Harvard Law School in pursuit
of him, only to discover that she's got the smarts to be more than just
a girlfriend. Not profound, but certainly entertaining. Tickets: 859-572-5464
On Wednesday evening, I attended the first performance of Slow Descent from Heaven,
a world premiere play by local writer Catie O'Keefe. Presented by New
Edgecliff Theatre (O'Keefe is their playwright-in-residence), it's an
ambitious work, presented in a converted classroom at the Clifton
Cultural Arts Center (3711 Clifton Ave.) in a production directed by Ed
Cohen. The central character, Molly (Elizabeth A. Harris), is a NASA
scientist whose story is bookended by space shuttle disasters in 1986
and 2003. She's an angry, tense character, and her involvement with men
has affected her career and her attitude. The story has a reverse
chronology, so we peel backward in time to learn more about why she's
the way she is. I'm glad to have seen this, but I think the script needs
more work in delving into Molly's psyche. Right now, her angst is all
on the surface, and her interface with the two men in her life (plus the
funny mother of one of them) is too predictable. Nevertheless, it's
great to see a group like NET encouraging the development of new work.
Another group producing new work is Thompson House Newport
(the venue formerly known as Southgate House). They are staging a new
Rock musical, Variables, the comic story of five friends
out for a night on the town. Their evening takes a serious turn when
it's interrupted by disturbing news. It's the work of composer Jered S.
Ryan and lyricist Mark D. Motz. Performances are on Feb. 23, 28 and
March 2. I haven't seen it, so I can't offer an assessment, but it's
another example of our fertile local theater scene. Tickets: www.thompsonhousenewport.com
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of Dangerous Liaisons (review here) is a listless interpretation of a show that should
be deliciously (dare I say "dangerously") nasty. There are some fine
actors onstage — notably Giles Davies and Corinne Mohlenhoff, both
longtime favorites at CSC — and moments when the chemistry works, but
not enough of them. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.
Several Cincy Shakes actors are doing a fine job on another stage, in Know Theatre's production of When the Rain Stops Falling, a compelling story of multiple, intersecting generations of two families. (review here) It's a fascinating piece of writing by Andrew Bovell, and
a taut, engaging 100-minute production, staged by CSC's Brian Phillips.
If you're looking for the one show to see this weekend, this is the one
I'd point you to. Tickets: 513-300-5669
Decline and fall
2 Comments · Monday, February 11, 2013
This dense, provocative script is a challenging work, but director
Brian Isaac Phillips has staged it beautifully with nine excellent actors who are
breathtakingly powerful in a complex tale that spans 80 years and four generations of two intricately interwoven families.
A whole lotta talking
0 Comments · Thursday, January 24, 2013
It’s Sept. 3, 1939. The father of psychoanalysis, Dr.
Sigmund Freud, has invited to his London flat a young scholar of
literature and theology from Oxford, C. S. Lewis.
CSC portrays the fall of a king
0 Comments · Monday, January 14, 2013
Audiences seeing Richard II will wonder why it’s not presented more often because this production works so well. The common wisdom is that Richard II is
more about head than heart. Shakespeare’s other histories are full of
glory and combat, whereas this play focuses on a king whose weakness
leads to his downfall.
CCM production blends classic fairytales with new zest
0 Comments · Monday, February 27, 2012
One of the songs in Into the Woods
warns, “Careful the things you say. Children will listen.” In the case
of the current production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s a
blender full of fairytales, some familiar and some not, the “children” —
that is, CCM’s performers in training — clearly listened well as Aubrey
Berg directed them in a remarkably mature and thoroughly entertaining
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Theater
at 03:41 PM | Permalink
Support local drama students and see a range of original works
Think Cincinnati Fringe Festival goes to college. This weekend, drama students from University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music will strut their stuff as they create and execute every aspect of producing a play. The fourth annual Transmigration festival will feature five 30 minute works covering a spectrum of thought-provoking, creative topics. One, Booth, retells the tale of the Lincoln assassination; another, forget me not, tells the story of a 20-year-old woman with struggling to reconcile adulthood with her lust for imagination. Watch America melt down in Y2012K, see a modern take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol in The Eddie Shanahan Show or see a mystery unfold in Knock Knock, a Clue-like mystery demonstrating that every story holds two sides. It's your choice; see one, see four. Attending the fest is not only a way to support your local arts scene — watch the creativity and talent unfold of some of Cincinnati's brightest young thespians. The performances are free, but reservations are required. Call the CCM Box Office at 513-557-4183. Performances will be scattered throughout the Corbett Center for Performing Arts. Click here for more information about Transmigration.