Theater

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (review)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (review)

THE PLAY: A teenager on the autism spectrum sets out to find out who killed the neighbor’s dog and discovers much more.

 

THE PRODUCTION: I don’t usually compare productions, but I saw this show on Broadway, where the design was so dazzling that I didn’t recall much about the story. This production is a bit more focused. Michael Manocchio is convincing and compelling in the lead. The supporting cast (all of whom are excellent) plays numerous roles and even inanimate objects. Director Nathaniel Shaw has created complex stage pictures that sometimes challenge focus (apparently having actors lurk around the edges of the stage is one of his favorite tropes). The music cues in Act 1 are overbearing, but were better controlled later. Act 2 feels like a more cohesive narrative, perhaps because the focus is more on the emotional aspect and less on the visuals. As for the tech, there’s a glowing framework set (Tennessee Dixon) and lots of large and small projections (Daniel Brodie). Perhaps they’re meant to reflect the sensory overload that distresses the pivotal character, but all this flash distracts from an emotional thru line that could have created a more affecting impact. NOTE: Be sure not to rush out after the curtain call, because there’s a coda featuring an entertaining bit of math. Running time: 2:20

 

THE POINT: This production is a technical spectacle that sometimes distracts from the story, but it’s still an accomplished, interesting production.

 

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

At Virginia Rep thru 10/14

 

Emelie Faith Thompson, Raven Wilkes, Irene Ziegler, Michael Manocchio, Andrew Boothby, Sara Collazo, Adam Valentine and Matt Davies. Photo by Aaron Sutten.

Living in the Key of “B” Unnatural (review)

Living in the Key of “B” Unnatural (review)

THE PLAY: A woman who used to be a successful physician is now living in a ratty one-room apartment and street soliciting for money. Her friends try to help her cope, especially when an important letter arrives.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This is a new work by Jarry Maple, Jr., who also wrote their production of “The Dream Seller and the Forest Dwellers” (my review here). Unfortunately, it’s very flawed: clunky plotting with abrupt transitions, unmotivated emotions and illogical outcomes. So, this production is already hampered by the script. Director Toney Q. Cobb hasn’t helped matters by allowing an acting style that’s more presentational than natural. His staging is either static, aimless or awkward. Although the cast obviously has skill, Haliya Roberts is the only actor who manages to feel natural (Isaiah Entzminger grabs glances at the audience, which takes us out of his character). Running time: 1:16

 

THE POINT: The numerous challenges of this clumsily-written play aren’t helped by overacting and ungainly direction.

 

1 Stars (1 / 5)

 

A production of The Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company at Hickory Hill Community Center thru 9/22

 

Crystal Wiley-Perry (front), Haliya Roberts & Isaiah Entzminger (back)

Count Dracula (review)

Count Dracula (review)

To read this review visit Richmond Magazine’s website.

Boeing, Boeing (review)

Boeing, Boeing (review)

THE PLAY: A lothario in ’60s Paris juggles his affairs with 3 different airline stewardesses.

 

THE PRODUCTION: Even though the curtain call confusingly put Brent Deekens in a supporting role, his distractingly over-the-top performance must be addressed first. He’s created a character who’s neurotic, effusive and swishy with no charm or sincerity: just unbridled ham. As the unsuspecting visitor, Travis Williams brings more comic control with his befuddled reactions. The stewardesses fared better, although much of their personalities were in their accents (the New Yorker would have benefited from one). Sara Sommers adds dry delivery to her maid’s cynical comments. Much of the credit for the leaden, laughter-deprived effect of the show goes to recent CNU grad Glenn Abernathy. He’s over-directed every aspect (and allowed Deekens his excess). Pat Walker’s large white room had 7 doors with a primary color accents. Designer Chris Stepp includes side lights that cast unnecessary shadows on the actors. Running time: 2:50

 

THE POINT: An effective farce requires restrained, skilled comic ability. This production has neither.

 

1 Stars (1 / 5)

 

At CAT thru 9/22

 

Paige Reisenfeld, Travis Williams, Brent Deekens, Marcia Cunning (Jeremy Bustin Photography)

CAT CONTINUES

CAT CONTINUES

The Boards of Directors of CAT Theatre and the Northern Henrico Civic Association just announced that CAT Theatre will continue its current theater series in its longstanding home on N. Wilkinson Rd.

 

Last month, it was announced that CAT would end its 54-year run, because of the inability of the 2 parties to come to a suitable rental agreement. “When we announced CAT’s closing, we were immediately overwhelmed by a strong show of community support,” explained Kelly St. Clair, President of the CAT Board.

 

Virginia Rep’s leadership met with both boards and helped them find a way to work it out.  “To finance the funding gap between the two leases,” explained Nathaniel Shaw, Artistic Director, “Virginia Rep will be offering spring break and/or summer camp experiences at the NHCA facility.”

 

In the coming months, Phil Whiteway and Bruce Miller, Founding Producers of Virginia Rep, will provide a theater management consultancy with the CAT Theatre board to help board members develop short and long term financial strategies designed to ensure CAT’s sustainability. “Virginia Rep is NOT taking over CAT,” stressed Jeff Gallagher, Chairman of Virginia Rep’s Board. “Our staff leadership has decades of experience running theater operations in Richmond and beyond. They were able to offer a creative solution to help our friends at CAT stay the course and return to sustainability.”

 

Boeing, Boeing, the first production in CAT Theatre’s 2018-19 five-show season, opens tonight and I’m sure it will be a joyous evening. For more information visit the CAT website.

Invalid (review)

Invalid (review)

To read this review visit Richmond Magazine’s website.

Sondheim on Sondheim (review)

Sondheim on Sondheim (review)

To read this review visit Richmond Magazine.com.

CAT closing

CAT closing

After 54 years, the CAT Theatre Board of Directors has announced that the theatre will close its doors as of October 31, 2018. The reason is because they cannot obtain a satisfactory lease for the building.

 

In the spring of 1964, a group of neighbors met and decided to form a community theatre. It was originally named the Chamberlayne Actors Theatre and later became professional when they began to pay their actors and crew.

 

The first Bifocals show, The Poetry Recital and Fancy Hat Society, will play September 17 at 2:30 and 7 pm. In addition, Boeing Boeing, the first mainstage show of this season will run September 7-22.That will be the final production.

 

Patrons who have bought season subscriptions will get refunds for the remainder of the season. Members of the Board express their gratitude to the many theatergoers who have supported them in the past.

 

This is sadly ironic since the theme of this year’s ARTSIES is “Location, Location, Location,” which focuses on the challenges theatres face in finding and maintaining places for their productions.

Announcing more than the names

Announcing more than the names

The concept for the season revolves around the central characters in each show searching for their own happiness. To generate excitement (and sales) for the upcoming season, TheatreLAB’s Artistic Director Deejay Gray has taken a bold step. Most of the shows are being announced complete with director and CAST!

 

Significant Other By Joshua Harmon, Direction by Matt Shofner (9/13-29)

From the writer of “Bad Jews,” this is about a single man who meets Mr. Right and things get complicated.

Featuring Deejay Gray, Kelsey Cordrey, Jessi Johnson, Mallory Keene, Matt Polson, Dan Cimo and Jacqueline Jones. [Produced in association with Richmond Triangle Players]

 

A Doll’s House By Henrik Ibsen, Direction by Josh Chenard (12/6-22)

This is Ibsen’s 1879 classic about a troubled marriage.

Featuring Katrinah Carol Lewis as Nora and Landon Nagel as Torvald.

 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler, Direction by Deejay Gray | Music Direction by JS Fauquet (2/14-3/16, 2019)

This is one of Sondheim’s most popular musicals about a barber who provides the ingredients for Mrs. Lovett’s pies.

Featuring Alexander Sapp, Bianca Bryan, Matt Polson, Ali Thibodeau, William Anderson, Paul Major, Audra Honaker, and Matt Shofner. [Produced as part of the 2019 Acts of Faith Festival]

 

Women’s Theatre Festival

This inaugural event features 4 one-woman plays performed in rotating repertory over four weeks! [Co-produced by 5th Wall Theatre] Direction by Carol Piersol, Katrinah Carol Lewis, Debra Clinton, and Melissa Rayford (Titles and dates to be announced soon.) This will also mark the launch of the Carole Piersol Scholarship, which will be awarded to a woman either in college or recently graduated.

(3/28 – 4/20)

 

An Octoroon By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Direction by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates (5/16-6/1)

In 1859, a famous Irishman wrote this play about slavery in America. Now an American writes his version. Winner of the 2014 OBIE Award for Best New American Play.

 

Xanadu Music& Lyrics by Jeff Lynne & John Farrar, Book by Douglas Carter Beane, Direction by Maggie Roop, Music Direction by JS Fauquet (7/11 – 8/10)

From the 80s film musical about a Greek muse who descends from Olympus to Venice Beach.

Featuring Rachel Marrs, Trevor Craft, Audra Honaker, and Georgia Rogers Farmer.

 

Level 4 A World Premiere by Dante Piro, Direction by Chelsea Burke (8/22-8/31)

This play examines how we react to the limits of the world we live in against a video game backdrop.

Piro is a recent TheatreVCU grad.

 

Deejay told me that they have already sold more subscriptions for this season than for the past 3 seasons combined, so Season Subscriptions are now available.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (review)

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (review)

To read this review visit Richmond Magazine.com.

 

Crimes of the Heart (review)

Crimes of the Heart (review)

THE PLAY: Three Southern sisters come together to reminisce, cry, fight and ultimately support each other.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This play revolves around the idiosyncratic expressions of the sisters. Luckily, this trio (Maggie Roop and relative RVA newcomers Irene Kuykendall and Lexi Langs) are all delightful. Langs is a bundle of quirky energy, while Kuykendall (whose accent sometimes seems forced) handles the complexity of her character with skill. Of this outstanding threesome, Roop is the stand out. Her sheepish quality is sweet, complex and touching. Matched up with 3 additional fine actors, this ensemble is all-around excellent. Director Steve Perigard has elicited wonderful chemistry from the siblings and made the family adventures winning fun (even though it dips in energy in the last 2 acts). There’s another of Terrie Powers’ spot-on interiors, which extends amazingly in deep directions. Running time: 2:30

 

THE POINT: This play is all about 3 slightly eccentric Southern sisters and this trio delights with their enthusiastic energy and enjoyable characterizations.

 

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

A Virginia Rep production at Hanover Tavern thru 8/26

 

Lexi Langs, Maggie Roop, Maggie Bavolack (Photos by Aaron Sutten)

 

Hand to God (review)

Hand to God (review)

To read this review visit RichmondMagazine.com.

Page 1 of 42123»