A serial killer is suspected to live amongst the residents of Ipswich, UK when the holiday season is darkened by the murder of five sex workers. The town’s safety and reputation are at risk, and national attention only amplifies the danger lurking on London Road. Using verbatim theatre, London Road creators Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork adapt real interviews into a musical documentary that explores all the ways tragedy encouraged a community to come together and expose its negligent prejudice. Shattered Globe Theatre’s extraordinary ensemble cast, directed by Elizabeth Margolius, relives the horrifying events that rocked Ipswich between 2006 and 2008 with compassion, humor, and awe-inspiring skill.
London Road relies on the actors to authentically embody the diverse characters whose interviews make up the production’s entire text. This lofty challenge is executed masterfully by a tight-knit ensemble that works as a team to make a town full of strangers feel familiar. Each performer portrays multiple characters and all effectively change their personalities in the blink of an eye. There is a wealth of talent packed in the cast of eleven and every performance shines. Countless breakout moments bring a beautiful dimension to the production where joy and horror live side-by-side. Continue reading “True Crime Meets Verbatim Theatre in London Road at Shattered Globe Theatre”
The Great Khan by Michael Gene Sullivan is positioned to be a dynamic ensemble play that examines our troubled global history through the eyes of contemporary high schoolers. The theater immediately establishes a youthful setting with vibrant lighting and Chance the Rapper playing over the speakers. In the first scene, we meet a guarded Jayden who is shaken awake by an armed intruder, a young girl named Ant. Redtwist Theatre’s summary of this play promises that these are our two main characters. This premise is lost well within the first act, and Ant quickly becomes a background character on Jayden’s journey. Continue reading “‘The Great Khan’ Muddles the Past, Present and Plot”
Alma has dreamed about her daughter getting a perfect SAT score since first coming to the United States. On the evening before the big test, Angel reveals that she has other plans. With college around the corner and the 2016 election results looming overhead, Alma and Angel wrestle with an unknown future and the threat of deportation. Playwright Benjamin Benne captures the quotidian tension, dread, and overwhelming concerns that grip households with mixed citizenship status across the country. With heartfelt direction by Ana Velazquez, Alma finds power in the bond between mother and daughter.
Continue reading “‘Alma’ at American Blues Theatre Interrogates the American Dream”
All the Tucker women are under the same roof again and Mama is making her legendary recipe. Known simply as “The Stew,” this traditional dish is prepared for only the most special occasions. Director Malkia Stampley turns up the heat on this gripping kitchen-sink drama and brings simmering tensions to a rolling boil. Stew by Zora Howard is a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama that depicts the seemingly unbreakable patterns that connect three generations of women.
Continue reading “Shattered Globe Serves Up a Satisfying Regional Premiere of ‘Stew’”
It was a dark and not-so-stormy night. A night desperate for deception. Without a cloud in the sky, I turned to a different kind of cumulonimbus: a sound cloud. I hit play on A Theater in the Dark’s A Matter of Red Herrings and found myself in the streets of a rainy 1920s Chicago. This 80-minute audio play by Greg Garrison harkens back to the crime novels that set the standard for fiction’s greatest detectives. Directed by Corey Bradberry, A Matter of Red Herrings cheerfully introduces Detective Stainless Steal to a prestigious line of fictional Chicago sleuths.
Continue reading “A Matter of Red Herrings a A Theater in the Dark is a Love Letter to Noir”
In the Appalachian town of Williamson, West Virginia, jobs are scarce and opioids are plentiful. Spay, a new play by Madison Fiedler, focuses on one Williamson family’s struggle with addiction at the height of the opioid epidemic. Sisters Harper and Noah Attridge, played by Krystel McNeil and Rae Gray respectively, are together again under the same roof after Noah’s public overdose at a youth baseball game. Over the course of one sober and sobering week, temptations come knocking at the door with the promise of relief. But at what cost? Rivendell Theatre’s world premiere production, directed by Georgette Verdin, is the promising introduction of a stellar script that deserves consideration from any theatre company currently planning their next season.
Continue reading “Rivendell Theatre Returns With the Harrowing and Haunting World Premiere of ‘Spay’”
After 15 years behind bars, Lorraine (Linda Reiter) is a free woman, and she immediately sets out to reunite with her former cellmate Marie (Aila Ayilam Peck). It’s just like old times, which comes as both a relief and a concern for the two formerly incarcerated women struggling to rejoin society after imprisonment. This Wide Night by Chloë Moss is the story of a female friendship that was forged by unavoidable intimacy. Locked safely within the dingy walls of Marie’s studio apartment, Interrobang’s Managing Artistic Director Georgette Verdin joins Shattered Globe Theatre and taps into the lifesaving bonds that make it possible to survive life’s hardships.
Aila Ayilam Peck and Linda Reiter carry the weight of this two-woman play with remarkable skill and instinctive teamwork. Peck’s heartbreaking performance as an abandoned woman with a history of substance abuse has the power to pull the audience’s attention – until Reiter comes barreling onstage to break the tension with a hilariously jolting exclamation. Over the course of the play, the distance that has grown between the two after Marie’s release steadily closes. What at first seems like an almost comical inconvenience transforms into a codependent and deeply intimate relationship. Peck and Reiter establish a tragically beautiful connection that transcends their generational divide. Whenever one of them is missing from the stage, the world feels a little wrong.
Continue reading “Shattered Globe and Interrobang Come Together for the Chicago Premiere of ‘This Wide Night’”
An audience that has been stuck inside our homes for the past year is no stranger to the rewatch. There’s something comforting about revisiting a favorite show, especially when you’ve exhausted anything new that Netflix has to offer. After Disney+ fixed their terrible aspect ratio problem, that show for me was The Simpsons. There are some episodes that I know by heart, and others that I was thrilled to rediscover. There is something about a global collapse that just makes you want to curl up on the couch with your favorite four-fingered family. Theatre Wit takes this desire out of your living room and onto the stage with a colorful revival of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn.
Something seismic has happened and the power is gone. Without electricity, modern society crumbles. Survivors who have lost everything work together to salvage the only pieces of their world that remain, the episodes of The Simpsons that they kinda remember. Playwright Anne Washburn, with music by Michael Friedman, explores how stories and pop culture may evolve when society starts over. Washburn roots the script in what is arguably one of the greatest Simpsons episodes of all time: “Cape Fear.” What begins as a few strangers around a fire exchanging punchlines becomes a traveling theatre troupe, which in turn becomes an epic operetta.
Continue reading “‘Mr. Burns, a post-electric play’ at Theater Wit Finds Power in Escapism”
Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a bittersweet tale about love against all odds. This year the annual Lookingglass Theatre tradition is going digital with an on-demand recording of the 2019 production. Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman’s playful take on this holiday tale is a dazzling treat for the whole family. Invite a little magic into your home with this spellbinding hour of holiday entertainment.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ at Lookingglass Theatre is a Whimsical Holiday Treat”
Shotgun Players casts a real-life couple to play opposite each other for its production of The Light by Loy A. Webb, streamed live from the couple’s own living room. Genesis (Leigh Rondon-Davis) and Rashad (Kenny Scott) are celebrating their anniversary and Rashad has an important question to ask. The joyous evening turns sour as secrets are revealed and their shared future splinters. Directed by Nailah Harper-Malveaux, this 70-minute real-time production revisits 2018 to examine the intersection of race and gender.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Shotgun Players’ Multi-Cam Stream of ‘The Light’ is Another Promising Entry to the Digital Theatre Era”