‘Or,’ Brings Real Wit to Restoration Era Farce

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Or,’ Written by Liz Duffy Adams; Directed by Adrienne Boris; Scenic Design by Ryan Bates;Costume Design by Erin Eva Butcher; Lighting Design by Emily Bearce; Sound Design by Julianne Mason. Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company and Simple Machine at Chelsea Theatre Works at 189 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea through September 23.

 

Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company and Simple Machine have combined forces to deliver a terrific adaptation of Liz Duffy Adams Or, a 17th century backstage sex farce loosely based on what could have been a single night in the life of Aphra Behn, the English poet and playwright who was one of the first English women to earn a living as a writer. Fueled by solid performances from its three member cast (in multiple roles), Or, is not only wickedly funny, but shows women (and men) in an astonishingly different light than one would expect in Restoration-era England, while paying homage to the life of a literary pioneer.

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“Dames at Sea” a Rollicking Ride

 

by Michele Markarian

 

“Dames at Sea”. Book and Lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, Music by Jim Wise.  Directed and Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins; Music Director, Steven Jones.  Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, through September 24.

 

As two pianists, flanking the stage, play the opening song of “Dames at Sea”, sung by a funny dancing vamp, Mona (the expressive Shana Dirik) a bored, gum-chewing chorus girl, the statuesque Joan (Sara Coombs) taps out the same dance routine in the corner. It’s an offbeat, charming opener, one where you know that what’s going to follow is going to be delightfully unexpected – after all, what is charm but the ability to deliver the unexpected? And like all of the musicals I have seen at this theater over the years, the characters onstage are not just singing and dancing, but have inner lives that make the action that much more exciting and real.

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“DAMES AT SEA” at Greater Boston Stage

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Greater Boston Stage Company, formerly Stoneham Theatre, newest show is “Dames At Sea”, a musical spoof of “42nd Street”, “Anything Goes” and “Singing in the Rain.” It is a musical with books and lyrics by George Haimshon and Robin Miller with music by Jim Wise. It’s a parody of 1930’s Busby Berkeley-style movie musicals in which a chorus girl gets off a bus from Utah to NYC, steps into a role on Broadway and becomes a star.

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‘The Odd Couple” – (Arctic Playhouse West Warwick, RI)

by Cindy Killavey

 

 

The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, The Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington Street, West Warwick, RI through September 17

 

Oscar Madison and his card-playing cronies learn that Felix Unger is missing after his wife ends their 12 year marriage. When Felix arrives on the scene the friends try to cheer him up to no avail.. In the end, Oscar, who isn’t phased by clutter, insists Felix, “Mr. Clean”, stay with him. Oscar learns to regret this decision to the delight of the opening night crowd.

 

The card players include Tony Annicone as Speed; Anthony Capraro as Vinnie; J.P. McCormick as Murray and Bob Mignarri as Roy. This ensemble seamlessly trades barbs and witty dialogue and their reactions to Felix, crying in the bathroom and the mayhem when they think that he has swallowed a whole bottle of pills, draws hearty laughter from the audience.  The stage at this black box theater is intimate and directors John Faiola and Geoff Monti used some creative blocking for the several “chases” in the performance which the cast handled perfectly. Set changes were handled by the card players between the acts, another clever Directorial choice.

 

Henryce “Hen” Zannini and Denise Izzi are Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon These English “birds of a feather” are extremely entertaining.  The way they interact with each other would have you believing they really are sisters.

 

It’s easy to see that Fred Davidson (Oscar) and John Faiola (who wears two hats as Director and as Felix) have performed in these roles before. The chemistry between the two is palpable. Oscar’s eye rolls and bluster are a perfect foil for Felix’s mobile face and gestures. John’s ladle work is priceless.  When Felix turns what Oscar had hoped would be a romantic evening with the Pigeon sisters into a group sob fest, it’s the last straw.

 

Co-Director and first time Stage Manager Geoffrey Monti keeps things running smoothly throughout and the music choices are perfect.

 

For a wonderful evening of terrific theater, laugh-out-loud humor and delicious popcorn & cookies, don’t miss this show. Call for reservations as several performances are already sold out!!

 

www.TheArcticPlayhouse.com

401-573-3443

 

It’s the End of the World as We Know It, So Let’s “Burn All Night”

 

By Mike Hoban

 

Book and Lyrics by Andy Mientus. Music by Van Hughes, Nicholas LaGrasta, and Brett Moses. Directed by Jenny Koons. Scenic Design by Sara Brown; Choreography by Sam Pinkleton; Costume Design by Evan Prizant, Lighting Design by Bradley King; Sound Design by Jessica Paz; Music Direction by Cian McCarthy. Produced by the American Repertory Theater at Oberon, 2 Arrow St, Cambridge, through Sept. 8

 

There’s a scene in the second act of “Burn All Night”, the millennial musical now making its world premiere at Oberon, where four friends are partying hard while waiting for the apocalypse, when they decide to engage in a faux philosophical game of “What would you do if the world were ending tomorrow?” The answer by one of them – that he would essentially get spectacularly wasted – angers the alleged deep thinker of the group, who was undoubtedly hoping for something a little more substantial. The unintentional irony is that the same holds true for much of “Burn” a frothy new work by Broadway and television star (and first time playwright) Andy Mientus, who has created a show that delivers high energy entertainment – but little of its promised depth.

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LOST IN YONKERS New England Repertory Company, Sinai Stage

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

New England Repertory Company’s current show is “Lost in Yonkers”, Neil Simon’s 1991 Pulitzer Prize winning play. New England Rep’s new performing space is at Sinai Stage. This show is set in 1942 and it examines the relationships of the emotionally crippled Kurnitz family. It is the coming of age story that focuses on two brothers, Artie and Jay, left in the care of their Grandmother Kurnitz and their Aunt Bella in Yonkers, NY.

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“THE LITTLE MERMAID” Company Theatre

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Company Theatre’s summer musical is “The Little Mermaid”, based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. It is also based on the 1989 Disney movie of the same name. It tells the story of Ariel, a beautiful mermaid who wants to become human after rescuing a handsome prince from drowning. This goes against her father, King Triton and his advisor, Sebastian’s warnings that contact between merpeople and humans is strictly forbidden.

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ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS (Renaissance City Theatre, Westerly, RI)

“ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre’s current production is “One Man, Two Guvnors” by Richard Bean. It is an English adaptation of “Servant of Two Master’s”, a 1743 Commedia dell’arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. This version changes the locale from Italy to Brighton in 1963. The man, Francis finds himself having to pick up an second job to just scrape together enough money to buy himself a pint of beer. But he soon finds out having two bosses is more trouble than it is worth.

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“CALENDAR GIRLS” Renaissance City Theatre Inc, (Westerly, RI)

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity of the Granite Theatre’s fourth show of their 17th season is Tim Firth’s delightful comedy “Calendar Girls” which is the true and “revealing story” of a women’s group in England who decided to drop everything and raise money for a new settee for the hospital waiting room in honor of one’s husband who died of leukemia. It is based on Firth’s “Calendar Girls” movie from 2003.The news of the “alternative calendar” charitable venture spread like wildfire and ultimately raised over a million dollars.

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“YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN” (Norton Singers, Wheaton College)

“YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Norton Singers summer musical this season is “Young Frankenstein”, the musical. Based on the classic film directed by Mel Brooks and written by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, the tribute to the Frankenstein movies of the 1940’s is an hilarious spoof of this genre. The story follows bright young Frederick Frankenstein (that’s Fronkenstein) as he attempts to finish his grandfather’s unfinished masterwork of bringing a corpse back to life.

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