Tag Archives: play reviews

Less Is More: John and Underground Railroad Game, reviewed.

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Criticism imitating art imitating life: My Washington City Paper review of Annie Baker’s John at Signature Theatre is three times as long as my review of the touring Underground Railroad Game at Woolly Mammoth, just as John is three times as long as Underground Railroad Game. And roughly a third as rewarding.

Your mileage, as ever, may vary.

Language Bury Her: Studio’s Translations and Folger’s The Winter’s Tale, reviewed.

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I’ve got reviews of two shows I enjoyed in this week’s Washington City Paper: Studio Theatre second-in-command Matt Torney’s confident new production of Brian Friel’s 40-year-old Irish classic Translations, and Aaron Posner’s The Winter’s Tale over at the Folger. The former as a lot of superb performers who haven’t worked a lot in Washington before. The latter has a bunch of Posner’s favorite actors (and mine), but it’s Michael Tisdale as the maniacal King Leontes who’s the standout.
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John Brown’s Body: The Raid, reviewed.

Copy of CSH_1676As much as like going to Ford’s Theatre to see plays about Abraham Lincoln, going to Anacostia to see plays about Frederick Douglass is a rarer pleasure. Here’s my review of Theatre Alliance’s production of Idris Goodwin’s The Raid, from this week’s Washington City Paper.

What’s Past Is Prologue: The Great Society, reviewed.

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I wrote about Arena Stage’s production of Robert Schenkkan’s LBJ play The Great Society in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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Apprentice v Apprentice: Vicuña & The American Epilogue, reviewed.

CSH_3795 copyMy Washington City Paper review of Jon Robin Baitz’s already-anachronistic Trump satire Vicuña, which is getting a lavish second production at Mosaic Theatre after premiering in Los Angeles last year, is here.

The Strangest Yard: Whipping, or The Football Hamlet, reviewed. Plus: King Kirby.

Em and Kamau

My review of Kathleen Akerley’s latest opus, Whipping, or The Football Hamlet, is in today’s Washington City Paper, along with a few paragraphs about another show that has regrettably already closed: Crystal Skillman & Fred Van Lente’s King Kirby, a bio-play about legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby and his lifelong struggle to be fairly compensated for the dozens of Marvel Comics characters he created—or co-created with Stan Lee. They don’t agree on who did what, and therein lies the tale.

If this subject interests you, I recommend Sean Howe’s 2012 history Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

Woolly Mammoth’s Hir and Rick Foucheux’s possibly-career-capping Avant Bard King Lear, reviewed.

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My review of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’srich and fervent” production of Taylor Mac’s family tragicomedy Hir is in this week’s Washington City Paper, along with a shorter one of WSC Avant Bard’s latest King Lear — which just might be the swan song of one of DC’s most venerable actors, the great Rick Foucheux. Pick up a paper copy for old time’s sake.

Taking Trump Literally: Building the Wall, reviewed.

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Robert Schenkkahn’s Building the Wall, a terrifyingly plausible future-history of the Trump Administration that Forum Theatre has scrambled to shoehorn into their season, is a cry of warning that requires little suspension of disbelief.

I saw the show at Arena Stage last week in the first part of its bifurcated, two-venue run. It’s at Forum’s Silver Spring performance space May 18-17. Go. My review is in this week’s Washington City Paper, along with one of The Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s more-is-less Macbeth.

Court Disorder: Roe, reviewed.

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My review of Lisa Loomer’s Roe — an “openly didactic wiki-play” that was never meant to be as timely as it is — is in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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Kitchen-Sink Drama: The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family, reviewed.

Hungry<br /> Public Theatre<br /> LuEster<br /> HUNGRY<br /> Written and Directed by Richard Nelson<br /> Featuring Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Amy Warren<br /> Sets &amp; Costumes Susan Hilferty<br /> Lighting Jennifer Tipton

Amy Warren, Maryann Plunkett, Lynn Hawley, and Meg Gibson in “Hungry” at the Public Theater, March 2016.

Notice is posted: My review of playwright/director Richard Nelson’s three-play cycle The Gabriels, which I took in during a single nine-hour period at the Kennedy Center last Sunday, is in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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Bad Times, Good Times: Studio’s Cloud 9 and Constellation’s Urinetown, reviewed.

Studio Theatre's "Cloud 9" (Teresa Wood)Constellation Theatre Company's "Urinetown."

For various critic-related, theater company-related, and publication-related reasons, my reviews of Studio Theatre’s production of Caryl Churchill’s anticolonial sex romp Cloud 9 and Constellation Theatre Company’s new production of the Y2K-era Greg Kotis-Mark Hollman musical Urinetown have taken a long time to see print. But they’re in this week’s Washington City Paper, and online, too.

Be Brief, I See into Thy End: Fear, reviewed.

Jennifer J. Hopkins, Tom Carman, and Vince Eisenson in "Fear."

I had the good fortune to interview Star Trek’s resident alien linguist Marc Okrand this week, for a video that’ll posting next week as part of Air & Space / Smithsonian’s coverage of Trek’s 50th birthday. I met Marc through his involvement in DC theatre. After the shoot, we got some coffee and talked about—well, okay, yes, about his work on various Trek movies mostly, again, some more. But we also discussed how much we both enjoyed writer/director Kathleen Akerley’s ambitious new play FEAR, which I review in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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Sock Pulpit: Hand to God, reviewed.

Liam Forde in "Hand to God" at Studio Theatre. (Amy Horan)

My review of Studio Theatre’s terrific production of Robert Askins’ Broadway hit Hand to God is in today’s Washington City Paper.

Law and Border: District Merchants and El Paso Blue, reviewed.

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District Merchants, Aaron Posner’s new Reconstruction-era DC gloss on The Merchant of Venice for the Folger Theatre, is an intriguing muddle; GALA Hispanic Theatre’s production of Octavio Solis’ El Paso Blue is a surrealist hoot. Both reviews appear in this week’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are still hanging on.

The Man Trap: STC’s The Taming of the Shrew and Mosaic Theatre’s When January Feels Like Summer, reviewed.

Directors have reckoned with the misogyny of The Taming of the Shrew in many ways. Ed Sylvanus Iskandar’s fix — cast only men, and let the female characters express themselves via covers of old songs from Duncan Sheik, a man — is at least, and most, strange. I review Iskandar’s perplexing boys-only Shakespeare Theatre Company Shrew in today’s Washington City Paper.

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Unconvention Centers: The Welders’ Transmission and Solas Nua’s Wild Sky, reviewed.

Megan Graves and Dylan Morrison Myers in "Wild Sky" (Solas Nua)

In today’s Washington City Paper, I review two new plays being staged in unusual environments. The Welders’ Transmission, by playwright/performer Gwydion Suilebhan, is a thoughtful meditation on the hazards of storytelling, while Deirdre Kinahan’s Wild Sky is a human-scale look back at a pivotal moment in Ireland’s struggle for self-governance. It’s also the first show from Solas Nua in five years. I’m glad they’re back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losin’ It: All the Way and The Mystery of Love and Sex, reviewed.

Jack Willis as President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Bowman Wright as Martin Luther King, Jr. (Stan Barouh)

Prince is all I’ve thought about in the can-it-really-be-only-a-day since the world learned of his death, but here are the two theatre reviews I filed earlier in the week for the Washington City Paper. Arena Stage does Richard Schenkkan’s 2014 Tony winner All the Way, and Signature Theatre stages Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sex.

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A Silver Spoonful of Sugar: The Lion, reviewed.

hires_thelion_02I struggled with my Washington City Paper review of The Lion, a strong, brief one-man musical play by the singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer. This was a case where learning about the circumstances of the show’s creation—as one is wont to do when writing about art—made me like it less in hindsight than I did the moment the performance ended. Is that fair? I’m still not sure. You can observe my attempt to work through my consternation while still giving the artist his due here.

Less Is Moor: Othello, reviewed.

Ryman Sneed and Faran Tahir in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of "Othello," directed by Ron Daniels. (Scott Suchman)

I reviewed the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s new Ron Daniels-directed Othello, starring Jinn‘s Faran Tahir as the Moor of Venice, for the Washington City Paper. Jonno Roberts’ Iago is the best reason to go.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Dearth: Guards at the Taj and You, or Whatever I Can Get, reviewed.

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My reviews of Rajiv Joseph’s marvelous 2015 Guards at the Taj, now at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and of Flying V’s new musical comedy You, or Whatever I Can Get, are in this week’s Washington City Paper. You are alerted.