Non-Registered Critics: Dana Martin

Feb

Rabbit Hole

2Cents Theatre Group’s current incarnation of Rabbit Hole is decent, with the potential to be exceptional.

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Feb

Last Call

Last Call is more unsettling than it is darkly funny. The intriguing part of the story is the relationship between the aging, ailing parents and the way the family copes with their imminent decline. But the story spends most of its time focusing on the quibbles of the petty, immature siblings. We never get to the heart, the pain or the humor of the story — the kids are too busy bickering.

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Jan

Forever Brooklyn

A nostalgic, unsentimental flashback to simpler times, the story is predominately told through silly, satirical song spoofs and sweet-but-surface impersonations. While the storytelling is often charming, the script ultimately lacks chutzpah.

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Dec

middle8

Middle8 certainly shows sparks of promise; the acting is good and the music is grand. But the story’s many loose ends dilute the play’s overall impact. Ultimately though, it’s a tale as painfully ordinary as it is relatable: some dreams just don’t come true.

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Nov

KING LEAR

King Lear at Zombie Joe’s Underground feels like a visit to your crazy uncle’s house —dramatic, quick and weirdly comforting.

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Nov

Cost of Living

Cost of Living manages to depict humanity at its most vulnerable. None of the characters are victims, nor do they elicit sympathy of any sort. They’re flawed, struggling, trying their best to get by and take care of those they love. They struggle to create meaningful, dignified connections with one other but mostly remain lonely. It’s deeply, hauntingly familiar. – RECOMMENDED

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Nov

THE COLOR PURPLE

Musical director/conductor Patrick Gandy has worked wonders with an already outstanding ensemble of singers. The music is energetic and precise. Director/choreographer Jeffery Polk organizes the staging well, keeps the pace tight and creates lively choreography. Sound designer Julie Ferrin slightly misses the mark as the band sometimes overpowers the singers. Dana Rebecca Woods’ costume design is detailed and attractive. – RECOMMENDED

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Nov

SHE LOVES ME

The musical’s saccharine exterior belies its more serious subject matter. It’s strangely bright considering it involves attempted suicide, infidelity and workplace politics. Everything is treated in sitcom style. The characters are unwaveringly optimistic about love, despite their heartbreak and loss. Still, it’s a classic, old-school musical, and its current incarnation at Actor’s Co-op offers plenty of charm, though comes up short on authenticity.

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Oct

Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta

Ultimately Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta is a celebration of family and community, and it’s entertaining as hell. Marvels, magic, and moments brilliance abound. The Rogue Artists Ensemble have created something truly special, a certain source of pride for the whole city. And that’s no tall tale. – RECOMMENDED

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Oct

BABY EYES

Baby Eyes is a fascinating re-imagining of the relationship between the Greek god Zeus and young Ganymede. The story navigates the dynamics of several intimate relationships affected by ingrained racism, misogyny, sexual orientation, gender identity and power. Underscored by the painfully beautiful bellows of Billie Holiday, Baby Eyes draws you in and then makes you hurt. – RECOMMENDED

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Sep

Native Gardens

Native Gardens is a beautifully crafted botanical metaphor that deserves more weight and exploration of the subject matter. It is lovely, but it doesn’t dig deep.

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Sep

Man of La Mancha

Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott pares the play down to an intermission-less, two hours — a time-frame generally more befitting a modern audience. It almost works. Unfortunately, the show’s pace is largely sacrificed. There’s a constant drive forward at full speed and the play never properly settles; it needs more breathing room. The story’s slower; more tender moments are lost, and therefore the poignancy of the musical’s message is muddled.

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Jun

Ghosts: A Whole New Immersive Theater

Director Johnghee Woo creates a dark, brooding atmosphere. The play’s action is slow and sustained and the emotion is often overwrought. Video projections, also designed by Woo, create depth and rich texture. Excellent sound design by Davy Sumner is moody and dark, electronic and all-encompassing. Briana Pattillo’s lighting design is innovative and dramatic. Set designer Carlo Maghirang makes the room feel massive by placing a steel frame over a dining room table in the center of the playing area… Dream Walker is certainly a company to keep on the radar, as the theatre they’re creating appeals to young people and engages a modern audience. Ghosts… is more than just a play. It’s an experience.

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Jun

Othello & Otis

Bag O’ Bones proposes an end to this cruel war in Othello and Otis, a powerful and impactful hour of examination of white apathy of the black experience.

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Jun

FRANKENSTEIN

Director Zombie Joe effectively engages the audience from every angle and conveys the story largely through movement and the physical environs — a combination that’s engaging and entertaining… Zombie Joe’s latest creation, Frankenstein, is an imaginative, ghoulish and thoroughly unsettling experience.

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Jun

Cult of Love

Director Annie Tippe guides the play’s action with precision and compassion, nailing its unique tone and tempo, and creating an environment in which the characters flourish; she gives them plenty of permission to fall apart. …Cult of Love is a powerful, painful and exciting evening of theatre and IAMA can rightfully be proud, though cautiously.

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Jun

The Color Collective

The Color Collective is a vibrant, lively evening of theatre. The stories told are funny, fresh and necessary. Go, have some laughs, and support these talented young artists.

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Jun

Lorelei: I’m Coming Out

Naturally. Like any good drag queen worth her weight in glitter, Lorelei blazes onto the stage, the belle of the ball, demanding your attention and is entertaining as hell. Her sense of humor is razor sharp, almost prickly, and her humor is quick. She’ll claw and she’ll bite, but playfully.

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Jun

Nephew of the Universe

Ultimately, the show is a success; Bruner is an engaging actor telling and he has an unusual story to tell. Ultimately, his: Be a Good Person. That’s a story worth hearing over and over again.

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May

Seminar

Director Melanie Weisner finds the right tone and pacing of the story throughout and makes excellent use of the unique playing space. Her staging is dynamic, and her eye is impeccable. The lighting, set and costume design, collectively created by the Pop Up Theatre, Inc. team, is simple and adequate. The space itself does much to tell the story and has the large, airy quality of a posh New York apartment. – RECOMMENDED

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