by Mike Hoban
“The Little Dog Laughed” – Take Your Pick Productions
The Happy Medium Theater Company may have taken their final bow with last summer’s production of Ronan Noone’s “Brendan”, but HM founders Mikey DiLoreto and Audrey Lynn Sylvia have gotten off to a roaring start with their new company, Take Your Pick Productions, with a very funny and touching production of “The Little Dog Laughed” by Douglas Carter Beame.
Directed by Cassandra Lovering, with an outstanding cast featuring Aina Adler, Matthew Fagerberg, Victor L. Shopov and Audrey Lynn Sylvia (in her finest performance to date), “Little Dog” tells the tale of closeted movie star Mitchell Green (Shopov), who may have finally found true love after Alex (Fagerberg) shows up in his hotel room one night. Unfortunately for Mitchell, Alex is a directionless young prostitute – with a stunning girlfriend (Adler) who appears to be his soulmate as well. His agent and beard, Diane (Sylvia), is none too thrilled about the situation, especially when she decides to option the rights to a play for a movie whose success is contingent on the box office appeal of the ‘straight’ Mitchell. Although it’s a comedy, there are a number of heartfelt scenes, as Adler, Shopov, and Fagerberg provide real depth to their characters, while Sylvia comically scorches the earth as the bitchy Hollywood agent. This is well worth a look. (Through April 9th) Tix at: https://www.goldstar.com/…/b…/the-little-dog-laughed-tickets
“Our American Hamlet” – Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Steven Maler and The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company have migrated from the Boston Common to the cozy confines of the Babson College campus (where they are the resident theater company) to present the world premiere, “Our American Hamlet”, an intriguing (and disturbing) new work by Jake Broder (who also plays a supporting role). “Hamlet” is an historical fictionalized account of the Booths, an 1800’s American theatrical family, whose most famous (and least talented) member was John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Lincoln at the Ford Theater in April of 1865.
Broder provides us with some perspective on the assassin by focusing primarily on the booze-soaked dysfunction in his family, beginning with his father, Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., a prominent Shakespearean actor with massive drinking and philandering issues. He favors his older son, Edwin, who would become one of America’s finest interpreters of Shakespeare, but also shares his father’s love of the drink. The lack of love from his father and the dismissive attitude with which Edwin treats young John (both professionally and as a human being) contributes to John Wilkes mindset, which culminates in the horrific act. This is a cleverly conceived, well-directed piece, with a stellar cast (including Boston favorites Will Lyman and Maureen Keiller) that includes a manic interpretation of John Wilkes Booth as man-child by Joe Fria. Unfortunately, the production closed April 2, but with a few inevitable tweaks, is definitely worth a re-staging.