‘Fish Food’ Delivers A Hilarious Take On the Luxury Hotel Biz


By Mike Hoban


‘Fish Food’ – Written and Directed by Michael O’ Halloran; Presented by Avenue Stage, and performed by Geoffrey Pingree, Desmond O’Halloran, Eunice Simmons, Jennifer Jones, Molly O’Halloran, and Miss Mary Mac. At the Boston Playwrights Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, July 20-23.


 Fish Food, a coming of age tale which premiered at the Dot 2 Dot Café in Dorchester before the company heads to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, is a charming little comedy loosely based on playwright Michael O’Halloran’s experiences as a young adult in the hotel industry. Set around 1990, the play gives us O’Halloran’s fictional stand-in, Joe Bacon (portrayed by O’Halloran’s lookalike son Desmond in an appealingly innocent turn), who just turned 21 and is seeking a job at a swank downtown hotel (the ostentatiously named Grand Plaza Court). Owned by shady financier Avery Grand, whose modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to that of the current POTUS (right down to his book, “The Deal is Everything”), the play sends up the boozy, amoral world of luxury hospitality.


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GSC’s ‘Bank Job’ – Robbery Goes Wrong, Comedy Goes (Mostly) Right


By Mike Hoban


Bank Job – Written by John Kolvenbach; Directed by Robert Walsh; Set Design by Jon Savage; Lighting Design by Russ Swift; Costume Design by Linda Ross; Sound Design by David Wilson. Presented by Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester through June 10.


If you were of television-watching age during the late sixties and you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the Smothers Brothers downed a few cans of Red Bull and then robbed a bank – now’s your chance to find out. Gloucester Stage Company is presenting the New England premiere of John Kolvenbach’s somewhat uneven but very funny Bank Job, which takes us on a lightning-paced ride which slows down only when the bank robbing brothers take time out to relive their Smothers Brothers-esque unresolved childhood squabbles.

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Jenson Channels the Spirit of Lester Bangs in ArtsEmerson’s ‘How To Be A Rock Critic’


By Mike Hoban


‘How To Be A Rock Critic’ – Based on the Writings of Lester Bangs; Written by Erik Jenson and Jessica Blank; Performed by Erik Jenson; Directed by Jessica Blank; Lighting Design by Lap Chi Chu; Scenic Design by Richard Hoover; Sound Design by David Robbins; Dramaturg: P. Carl; Produced by Thomas O. Kreigsmann at Emerson/Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, 559 Washington Street, Boston, through May 21.


If you are a music fan of a certain age who experienced the evolution of Rock n Roll from the late sixties to the early eighties with any degree of enthusiasm, ‘How To Be A Rock Critic’ – a kind of one-night stand with the (deceased) seminal rock critic Lester Bangs – is not to be missed. Erik Jenson, who plays the speed and cough syrup-fueled pseudo-journalist and bona fide creative writer Bangs with a beautifully unhinged bravado, perfectly captures the near spiritual experience of what happens when people like Bangs (and me) hear those three chords that unleash the mind-bending power of a truly great rock song.

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WFT ‘s Spins Delightful ‘Charlotte’s Web’ with New Staging

(Glenn Cook photo)


By CJ Williams

‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E.B. White in adaptation by Joseph Robinette;  Scene Design by Jim Byrne; Directed byEmily Ranii; Stage Management by Katie Graves;  Choreographed by  T. Lawrence-Simon;  Costume Design by Zoe Sundra; Lighting Design by Frank Meissner Jr; J Sound Design by Josh Northcutt, playing at Wheelock Family Theater, 80 Riverway, Boston, MA 02215 through May 14th

‘Charlotte’s Web’, now playing at Wheelock Family Theater, is a delight up and down. But just because it’s delightful, doesn’t mean it doesn’t run deep. In fact, anyone who knows E.B. White’s charming classic knows the themes dance from levity to despair, new life to the ever-threatening shadow of death, humor to poignancy. All the same, if you’ve seen a story, you’ve seen it, right?


Maybe not.

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“BREAKING LEGS” (Footlights Repertory Company, Swansea)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Footlights Rep’s current show is the very funny “Breaking Legs.” The setting is an Italian restaurant in a small New England university town where the worlds of the Mafia and theatre clash hilariously with each other. A professor who is a playwright seeks funding for his new play from a former student’s family. The former student is a lusty, unwed woman who has a major crush on and is hot for the professor.

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Hell – It Ain’t Paradise, but “Paradise” May Show the Way Out


By CJ Williams


‘Paradise’ – Written by Laura Maria Censabella; Directed by Shana Gozansky; Scenic Design by Jenna McFarland Lord; Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley; Lighting Design by Karen Perlow. Presented by Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave. Cambridge, MA -2139 through May 7


Hell is other people, goes the famous saying. But perhaps the proverb is just plain wrong. In “Paradise”, we get a glimpse of another possibility: maybe, just maybe, Paradise – and freedom from prejudice, loneliness, and lovelessness, can only be found by bridging the judgment gap between you and me.

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Flat Earth Delivers Luminous ‘Silent Sky’


by Mike Hoban


‘Silent Sky’ – Written by Lauren Gunderson; Directed by Dori A. Robinson; Set Design by Debra Reich; Costume Design by Cara Chiaramonte; Lighting Design by PJ Strachman; Props Design by E. Rosser; and Sound Design by Kyle Lampe. Presented by Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Arsenal Center for the Arts), 321 Arsenal Street in Watertown, MA through March 26.


If the thought of spending an evening watching a play about the life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt – the groundbreaking astronomer who discovered “the relationship between period and luminosity in Cepheid variables” – has you reaching for your appointment calendar to schedule some dental work, try and fight the urge. Dental hygiene can wait, at least until you’ve seen Flat Earth Theatre’s “Silent Sky”, quite possibly the most enjoyable production I’ve seen so far in 2017, a year that has already delivered a plethora of terrific shows.

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‘Sister Anonymous’ Adds New AA Chapter with Compassion, Humor


By Mike Hoban


Sister Anonymous – Written by Catherine M. O’Neill; Directed by Kelly E. Smith; Presented by Second Act Productions at the Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston  through March 18.


Ever since Alcoholics Anonymous emerged from the shadows with the publication of Jack Alexander’s Saturday Evening Post article in 1941, any account of the formation of the fellowship that would transform the lives of millions of “drunks” and their families has always focused on its founders, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. But as Wilson and Smith readily admitted, they received a lot of help – divine and otherwise – in launching and building upon their ideas.

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