Tuesday, February 13, 2018

TCTB Review Roundup: Cardboard Piano

Cardboard Piano at Park Square Theatre is closing this weekend on February 18th. Our bloggers agree that the show is nuanced, heart wrenching and also very well done. 
Cherry and Spoon says, "After the play was over, I was so emotionally exhausted I could barely muster the energy to applaud, much less give the cast the standing ovation they deserved." 
Read the full review here: http://bit.ly/2nX41b8
Compendium - Minneapolis writes, "This production of Cardboard Piano is nuanced, thoughtful, and has clearly been invested with a lot of intention and care."
Read the full review here: http://bit.ly/2EyOBRG

Monday, February 12, 2018

'Noises Off' Gives New Meaning to the Adage "The Show Must Go On" : A Guest Post from Devyn Terry

Watching a play from the wings instead of the seats, Michael Frayn was amused by the entertainment happening behind the set. So logically, the next step was to write a show about an eccentric eight-person love triangle and recovering alcoholic that are forced to go onstage and act out being alone in a house where ancient tellies and sardines disappear through slamming doors to the equally chaotic backstage where the apparting objects are now bottles of whiskey and flowers being shuffled among love interests. This story morphed into the sitcom-esque show that premiered in London in 1982, making it to Broadway in 1984 where the show won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble.Trying to find seats in Artistry’s Schneider Theater, I noticed that I was the youngest person in the auditorium by like, forty years. Based off of that, I assumed Noises Off was a production aimed at an older crowd. Or, it could just be the Artistry theater company. In an effort to get more young people in their theater, they offer $12 tickets to people 30 and under. Considering the demographic of the audience, I was expecting this play’s humor to go over my head. But lot of the humor was. . . demonstrated (think bodies contorted into oral sex positions trying to fix costumes). As the curtain descended at the end of act one, each character begrudgingly assumed a cheesy pose, creating the equivalent of a promotional picture for a Netflix drama. I could easily see why Noises Off had two successful Broadway revivals - this is a show that knows how to pull off slapstick. Noises Off is a play-within-a-play – each act of Noises Off equals one run of Nothing On, gradually increasing in disaster each time. Act one begins with a caffeine-deficient cast pulling an all-nighter, trudging through their dress rehear– sorry, technical rehearsal – before their show opens in less than twenty hours. This gives some exposition and sets a (hilarious) baseline for the next two acts. During intermission, the set does a one-eighty. Act two is a run of Nothing On from the “backstage” perspective, so the audience can partake in the drama on both sides of the set. By the third and final act, the initial appeal of watching a show crash and burn was starting to fade. Now that I was familiar with two stage environments, I was curious to see what the third act would bring. I was half expecting some unconventional set style, upping the absurdity of it all, but instead the stage had returned to the exact same setup as the first act. Like the set, the rest of the third act was repetitive, give or take a few sardines. Oh, and there goes Brooke, mouthing everyone's lines again. . . and yep, the sardines are still missing . . . The concept of seeing a plot three times under different circumstances is a unique idea (and worth watching all three times), but the quality of first two acts had me expecting some fantastic finish. In order to make the three performances work in its favor, the show needed to intensify exponentially, when instead it opted for a more linear route.That said, if you don't mind a little déjà vu and you're looking for laughs between now and February 18, I would highly recommend a trip to the Bloomington Arts Center to see Noises Off.

This post comes to the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers from Devyn Terry. Devyn Terry is a senior in high school. She does show choir, theater and is in an a capella ground called the Unaccompanied Minors. She hopes to have a theater-filled future as well as continue to learn Spanish and possibly study linguistics in college. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Wiz - TCTB Review Roundup

The Twin Cities Theater Bloggers all agree, ease on down the road to see The Wiz at Children's Theatre Company, a coproduction with Penumbra Theatre Company
Read more about what all of our bloggers thought below: 

Play off the Page says, "From the stunning costumes to the tremendous talent and energy of the actors and musicians, this was easily one of the best performances I’ve ever seen."
Read the full review here: http://bit.ly/2BzoEhQ

Cherry and Spoon writes, "...the song and dance numbers are fab-u-lous. And this cast is so chock full of local African American music-theater legends, as well as up-and-comers and a few adorable tykes, that it blows the mind."
Read the full review here: http://bit.ly/2EjZvgs

Compendium - Minneapolis says, "The best part of this Wiz, bar none, is the stellar cast."
Read the full review here: http://bit.ly/2rOx2u7

Talkin Broadway writes, "The Wiz is a wonderful, and wonder-filled, experience for all ages. The music will send you, the story will swell your heart, and the show is, well, wicked good."
Read the full review: http://bit.ly/2E4NAQ6

Twin Cities Stages says, "The Wiz is one of the best tickets in town."
Read the full review: http://bit.ly/2E6ywpq

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Maids - TCTB Review Roundup

Dark & Stormy Productions intimate production of THE MAIDS by French absurdist existential playwright Jean Genet had some of our bloggers confused, but not necessarily in a bad way. Click the links below for more.
"This play got under my skin, I can't stop thinking about it... This weight, or lingering feeling stems from two things about the production, firstly the incredible performances by all involved, and secondly my confusion of what I just saw"
Twin Cities Stages:
"This play is fascinating, if perplexing, and worth seeing for the performances of this three-person female cast [Emily Bridges, Jane Froiland, and Sara Marsh] alone."
Cherry and Spoonhttp://bit.ly/cs_maids
More info and tickets: http://www.darkstormy.org/
Photo credit: Rick Ryan

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Last Five Years - TCTB Review Roundup

American composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown's THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a cult fave among musical theater nerds. Several of TCTB's theater nerds saw Artistry MN's new production, and you can read their differing opinions below. The show runs through February 11 but has been virtually sold out since before it opened, so call the box office soon to see what's left for tickets.
Coffee Talk with Brett: http://bit.ly/2Bce8g9
"THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a simple but beautifully crafted story. Artistry produces this production in their Black Box space which adds even more intimacy to the production and is probably one of my favorite parts about it."
Cherry and Spoonhttp://bit.ly/cs_l5y
"The Black Box space is small enough to provide the intimacy the piece needs, with just a sparse two-person band, and a truly fantastic young cast in Aly Westberg O'Keeffe and Ryan London Levin."
Minnesota Theater Lovehttp://bit.ly/2rpjuFj
"Though Ryan London Levin and Aly Westberg O'Keeffe have talent and charm as Jamie and Cathy, director Elena Giannetti doesn't trust the material to tell the story. The simplicity of the show is overshadowed by too much stage business, and the singing is overwrought, losing sight of the storytelling."
(photo by Devon Cox)

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Steady Ran and Ishmael - TCTB Review Roundup

Good Monday morning #TCTheater friends! Here are a couple of shows closing this weekend that you might want to check out while you still can.
Gremlin Theatre: A STEADY RAIN, closing Feb. 3
(photo by DreamFirstBorn Images)
"In what's basically a treatise on toxic masculinity and the damage it can do, playwright Keith Huff has created two complex characters in a brilliantly written play that's impeccably executed by the team at Gremlin. Two incredible acting performances, tight and clear direction, simple yet powerful design that heightens the storytelling, all in an intimate space that makes it feel all too real."
Cherry and Spoonhttp://bit.ly/cs_steadyrain

The Jungle Theater: ISHMAEL, closing Feb. 4
(photo by Dan Norman)
"ISHMAEL feels like a Fringe show in its inventiveness, but raised to a new level with the addition of the music and top-notch design elements."
Cherry and Spoonhttp://bit.ly/cs_ishmael
"Jack Weston's performance as Ishmael, along with multiple other characters, was fascinating to watch. I found it incredible how easily he seemed to be able to switch between characters by subtly changing the way that he spoke and the way that he carried himself."
Twin Cities Stageshttp://bit.ly/stages_ishmael

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Rhinoceros and Our House - Review Roundup

LAST CHANCE! Here are a couple more shows closing this weekend, brought to you by Cherry and Spoon:
Theatre in the Round: RHINOCEROS
"RHINOCEROS reminds us to be wary of large lumbering beasts running through our town and destroying everything we've worked so hard to build. Theatre in the Round's production makes great use of their in-the-round space and a wonderfully committed cast to entertain while also disturbing."
Wonderlust Productions at the Minnesota State Capitol: OUR HOUSE: THE CAPITOL PLAY PROJECT
(Note: the three remaining shows are sold out, but if you arrive early you can put your name on the waitlist beginning 30 minutes prior to showtime.)
"OUR HOUSE is unabashedly sincere and optimistic about the people who work in government, but it's also harshly realistic about the inefficiencies and corruption within the system. It should be required viewing for every citizen."