Tag Archives: Shakespeare Theatre Company

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Intimate Apparel: The Panties, the Profit, and The Partner, reviewed.

Kimberly Gilbert, Carson Elrod, and Turna Mete in The Profit. (Carol Rosegg)

For your Washington City Paper, I reviewed The Panties, the Profit, and the Purse—a series of linked David Ives comedies adapted, with shrinking fidelity, from a trilogy by the 19th century German social critic Carl Sternheim. That sounds awfully highbrow, doesn’t it? Ives is better at farce than at satire, and the show is a better document of what he likes than what he thinks. I liked it, but I’d like it more if Ives would—in the words of the 21st century social critic Boots Riley—”Sho[his]Ass.” As it were.

Merciless Flight: STC’s Twelfth Night, reviewed.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespeare play. The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Ethan McSweeny-directed production is cleverly staged on a set made to resemble an airport, but it left me cold. In my Washington City Paper review, I try to unpack why. Continue reading

Visions of Diana: King Charles III and I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart, reviewed.

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I’m putting y’all on notice: My reviews of King Charles IIIMike Bartlett’s marvelous blank verse political drama at the Shakespeare Theatre—and Studio Theatre’s world premiere production of Morgan Gould’s I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart are in this week’s Washington City Paper.

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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Totalitarian Recall: 1984 and The Pillowman, reviewed.

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My reviews of the British theatre collective Headlong’s adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, and Forum Theatre’s new staging of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, are in today’s Washington City Paper. Continue reading

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.

Heal Thyself: The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, reviewed.

"The Critic." Scott Suchman/Shakespeare Theatre

I couldn’t make the Monday-night press premiere of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s twofer of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Critic and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound last week, as I am teaching the Sweet Science on Monday nights this season. But I caught up with the show later in the week and my Washington City Paper review went up this afternoon. Stoppard’s play, especially, makes the pain of hackery burn more than usual.

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On Around Town, talking Laugh, Man of La Mancha, The Originalist, and Soon.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 1.02.20 PMMy regimen of smiling and sentence-speaking practice continues as I join host Robert Aubry Davis and Washington Post arts writer Jane Horwitz for another Around Town panel discussion of what’s happening on stage here in Our Nation’s Capitol and its close suburbs. In this batch of videos, which have also been airing irregularly on your public television, we discuss three shows I reviewed for the Washington City Paper and one I didn’t: Beth Henley’s homage to silent film comedies Laugh, the Shakespeare Theatre’s new production of the classic musical Man of La Mancha, Arena Stage’s world premiere play about divisive Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, The Originalist, and Soon, a new musical about the end of the world, kind of, at Signature Theatre.

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The Prince of Wails: Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, reviewed.

Edward Gero as King Henry IV in the Shakespeare Theatre's repertory of "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Part 2," directed by Michael Kahn.

That’s Edward Gero as King Henry IV. I found out only the other day he was in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, a film I loved in 1990 but which has not aged as well as Die Hard or even Die Hard with a Vengeance. I probably didn’t talk about him enough in my tangled but enthusiastic Washington City Paper review of both parts of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s new, Michael Kahn-directed repertory of Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2. Continue reading

Sounds of the 60s: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, reviewed.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Bethany Anne Lind, Tess Malis Kincaid, and Tom Key in Arena's "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner." (Teresa Wood)

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Bethany Anne Lind, Tess Malis Kincaid, and Tom Key in Arena’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” (Teresa Wood)

If you don’t know what to get your playgoing (or at least not-theatre-averse) parents for Christmas, and you can afford the freight, Arena Stage’s Malcolm-Jamal Warner-starring Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum are both good revivals of 1960s items that they’re likely to enjoy.

I liked them, too. But then, I’m big on the music, movies, and TV of the 60s. I review both in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.

Kinky Reboots: Mies Julie and Bondage, reviewed.

Hilda Cronje and Bongile Mantsai in "Mies Julie."(Rodger Bosch)

Hilda Cronje and Bongile Mantsai in “Mies Julie.”(Rodger Bosch)

My reviews of Mies Julie, a South African August Strindberg update, and David Henry Hwang’s Bondage, from locals Pinky Swear Productions, are in today’s Washington City Paper.

A Bit of the Old Albrecht Von: Wallenstein, reviewed.

Colin Carmody and Steve Pickering in WALLENSTEIN.

Colin Carmody and Steve Pickering in WALLENSTEIN.

My enthusiastic review of the Shakespeare Theatre’s ironicized and much-slimmed-down new version of Wallenstein, an epic of the Thirty Years War first performed in 1798, is in today’s Washington City Paper.

Russian Lark: STC’s The Government Inspector, reviewed.

Overdressed and overqualified. (SCOTT SUCHMAN)

A seminal Russian comedy, updated with jokes about teachers’ unions. It didn’t do much for me, but there’s a lot of venerable talent on that stage.

From today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.

They Want Their Money Back If You’re Alive at 33: WSC Avant Bard’s The Tooth of Crime

John Tweel sits atop a throne of guitars as Hoss.

I struggled with Kathleen Akerley‘s production of Sam Shepard‘s The Tooth of Crime after I saw it last weekend. The play is a fascinating time capsule of how much danger and possibility pop music, and rock and roll specifically, must’ve still had when Shepard wrote it back in 1972. That gives it a charm that partially compensates for the fact the (apparently) postapocalyptic world it’s set in is so cryptic and thinly drawn. Continue reading

On Criticism

Critic/profilie writer par excellence Ken Tynan in 1966. Item No. 11 on my list should’ve been “Don’t smoke.”

So on Sunday evening I had the pleasure of talking with a dozen or so very smart high schoolers enrolled in the Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s Young Critics Program. They’ve seen and written about every show in the STC’s season this year, and heard from several other guest speakers. The invitation suggested a few topics and said I should be ready with material enough to speak for 30 minutes, with some additional time after that for questions and discussion. They wanted some basic biographical stuff and some inside-baseball stuff about writing for newspapers, but the part I was most interested in talking about is the basic set of principles I try to use when I write criticism.

I made notes. Since I already went to the trouble of typing them, I’d like to share them here.

I should acknowledge I’ve lifted at least a few of these from a talk my pal the great film critic Michael Phillips, currently of the Chicago Tribune, gave during an NEA fellowship I took part in in Los Angeles in 2009. Hail and thank you, Michael Phillips.

Also, please bear in mind I was trying to make my comments appropriate for an audience of precocious ninth-through-12th-graders. So people much smarter than I am, in other words.

Here’s what I said to them. Continue reading

This production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona had too much U2 in it, even for me.

Nick Dillenburg & Miriam Silverman, fine actors in a shaky production

Reviewed for the Washington City Paper.