Non-Registered Critics: Iris Mann

Jul

Renovations for Six

This is a flawed effort, but the script’s limitations would be hard for any company to overcome.

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Jul

Naughty with a Band

It must be said that Shaw is a true triple threat; she moves well (although Zakk Allen’s choreography tended to be repetitive), has a strong voice and a deep well of emotions. But these talents are not displayed to her best advantage in this production.

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Jun

Anne, A New Play

The most effective performances are those of Rob Brownstein as Anne’s father, Otto Frank, and Kevin Matsumoto as Peter van Pels, the son of the family sharing the Franks’ hiding place. Brownstein is every inch the wise, benign leader of the group, and a loving father. His presence is gently authoritative, and he provides one of the few genuinely touching moments with his speech at the end in which, as the sole survivor, he relates his family’s ultimate fate.

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Jun

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW

Given the play’s shallow limitations, director Brandon Baer does a credible job with the staging and the performances.

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May

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

The most successful work is achieved by Amanda Conlon and Ann Ryerson as the two “welcoming,” but intrusive neighbors who want to save the mad sister’s soul. Conlon in particular has a very funny turn as a professed teetotaler who keeps imbibing Myra’s scotch after a fight with her husband.

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Apr

Diana of Dobson's

Unfortunately, this is a jewel of a play not fully realized, largely due to misdirection. The material demands a lighthearted surface, resting on a foundation of realistic, spirited commentary about society's inequities. Yet Stangl helms the proceedings with a heavy hand, and sets an unvarying pace in which the action too often verges on hysteria.

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Apr

The Things We Do

Given the play's weaknesses, director Elina de Santos and her cast do the best work possible. De Santos has staged the action so deftly that a steady pace is maintained. It is even more praiseworthy, that, under her guidance, each of the characters comes across as an individual, totally distinct from the others.

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Feb

Miss America's Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me

The humor is strengthened by its foundation of genuine pain and angst. Grant's air of vulnerability, her sense of having been through the fire, draws the audience into her journey. Always in command, she drops comedic gems in a deadpan manner; avoiding an obvious play for laughs, she relives painful moments in a conversational style and without any self-pity — making those moments all the more potent. In addition, her exasperation at some of the after-hours phone calls from her mother is made visible by an arch delivery. - RECOMMENDED

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Feb

THE POW AND THE GIRL

But the combination of a predictable story and a lackluster production leaves our expectations unfulfilled. What should be highly impactful due to the weighty theme lacks any real punch. The spectator is neither drawn into the proceedings nor involved with the characters, and so is left emotionally unaffected. There is also an unfinished quality to the production, as though it were still in the rehearsal stage.

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Jan

Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy

Conversely, Faugno, who fares the best in this production, displays palpable passion for his lover. The actor commits fully to a range of emotions and holds the audience's attention throughout the evening. As Chrys, a pedophilia victim who now swims endlessly in his late molester's pool, Dlugolecki also acquits himself admirably, while Breihan does as well as she can with an ill-conceived role. On the whole, though, this production is a misguided exercise.

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Oct

The Little Foxes

The drama is staged with a sure hand and great finesse by director Cameron Watson, who wisely allows Hellman's incisive scenario, dialogue, and fascinatingly malicious characters to confront the audience unvarnished. He choreographs the action seamlessly and elicits uniformly excellent performances from his cast. - RECOMMENDED

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Oct

Radiant Vermin

Director Tim True does an expert job of staging on a very spare set that consists of stairs and poles, symbolizing an unfinished house. He establishes just the proper pace for unfolding a procession of nefarious acts, and he elicits fascinating, focused, and fully involved performances from his cast. - RECOMMENDED

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Sep

FIRE IN A DARK HOUSE

Fire in a Dark House is a well-crafted play that could attain theatrical importance with stronger, deeper and more incisive execution.

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Sep

Infidel

Despite the flaws in his writing, however, Vened has done a very credible job as director, staging the action smoothly on a bare stage and focusing his actors adeptly. The cast performs, for the most part, with deep involvement.

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Aug

Jews, Christians, and Screwing Stalin

Playwright Lonow does not fare much better as a director. The ensemble's over the top style of delivery doesn't work given the limitations of the material.

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Jul

Screwball Comedy

Screwball comedy was a product of its time and is difficult to recreate in the current culture, but this delicious production definitely delivers the goods. - RECOMMENDED

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Jul

The Death and Life of Mary Jo Kopechne

It is hard to ascertain what Lefcourt is trying to say. He states in the program that the play is “an attempt to give her a voice and to restore to her, if only posthumously, the life that was so abruptly taken from her.” But the story focuses more on the cover-up than it does on Kopechne.

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Jun

Life on Hiatus

As writer, Bray does an admirable job of encompassing volumes within these slices of life, yet at the same time creating an overarching sense of surrealism. But while the monologues are skillfully written, their complex structure, filled with rhymes and alliterations voiced too rapidly, lends itself more to being read than heard.

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Jun

Freebird Goes to Mars

Laced with humor, the conversational text speaks volumes as it entertains. And Moore's interpretation is delightfully authentic; it's easy to identify with what she has to say. Her drawl, her timing, and her physicality hit just the right notes as her character unselfconsciously shares some of the most intimate details of her history. And her movement, which switches to balletic slow motion as Betsy becomes weightless in space, is beautifully rendered. RECOMMENDED

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Jun

Mexican Day

What ensues is a series of confrontations, revelations and a limited victory. While the work is informative, Jacobson has packed it with so many themes — racism, sexism, homophobia, pedophilia, personal angst, the conflict between principle and job security as well as the conflict between upholding journalistic objectivity and taking a stand based on morality — that its main message is diluted. In this case, less would be more.

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