Rousing Folk Rock in Stoneham’s ‘Jonah’ as Real as It Gets

 

By CJ Williams

 

Jonah and the Whale – Book written by Tyler Mills; Music and Lyrics by David Barrow and Blake Thomas; Directed by Weylin Symes; Scenic Design by Katheryn Monthei; Costume Design by Deirdre Gerrard: Lighting Design by Christopher Fournier; Sound Design by John Stone. Presented by The Stoneham Theatre 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180 through March 12.

 

“It wasn’t real,” says a character at one point in ‘Jonah’, the newish musical now making its New England premiere at the Stoneham Theatre. But in this rousing new folk-rock musical, that’s not the answer, rather, it’s a question, and one that runs through the length of the show. As we get our sea legs, so to speak, on the theatrical ship, we’re pressed more and more to ask about reality, both what and why – What makes life worth living? What makes us human? But like that first statement, the answers the play gives are often more questions in disguise.

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Timely Relevance with Brecht on Brecht

 

By Michele Markarian

 

‘Brecht on Brecht’ – Written by Bertolt Brecht. Arranged by George Tabori, from various translations. Co-produced with Boston Center for American Performance. Directed by Jim Petosa; Music Direction by Matthew Stern; Scenic Design by Ryan Bates; Costume Design by Alyssa Korol; Lighting Design by Bridget K. Doyle. Presented at the Black Box Theater at the New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown through March 5.

 

Two men and two women rush out of the wings, wearing red clown noises and pushing a shopping cart. They babble and chant slogans relevant to today (…”nevertheless, she persisted”.  “No war”, etc) before bringing onstage a man in tails (music director and accompanist Matthew Stern) to the piano. “What the heck IS this?” I thought somewhat crankily, before settling in to the very entertaining, often moving, and frighteningly timely kaleidoscope of Bertolt Brecht and his writing, expertly directed by Jim Petosa.

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