Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Boy and Robin Hood - TCTB Review Roundup

The TCTB weighs in on Trademark Theater's The Boy and Robin Hood, playing now through June 11th at the Ritz Theater.

"Nathan Barlow [who] absolutely steals the show as Alan, Robin's right hand man. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Alan is really the hero of the show entire - brave, strong, kind, thoughtful, surefooted, and Barlow plays him with such strength and vivacity that it is impossible to look at anyone else while he's on stage." - Compendium - Minneapolis

"Here’s the thing, I watched the whole play, and they executed the heck out of this story - but I’m still not sure precisely what story they were trying to tell, or why they were trying to tell it." - Single White Fringe Geek

"TradeMark Theater's inaugural production has solidified their spot as a theater to watch in the coming years. The Boy and Robin Hood has the perfect balance of humor, heart, and tragedy." - Coffee with Brett

"For this is not a simple, happy, heroic Robin Hood tale. Rather, it harkens back to the very origins of the legend (see the helpful timeline in the program) with a much darker and more brutal Robin that the one we think of today." - Cherry and Spoon

Monday, May 29, 2017

Refugia - TCTB Review Roundup

Here at the TCTB, we had a LOT of thoughts about Refugia by The Moving Company at the Guthrie. Much discussion has ensued, and we're hoping these discussions will continue and expand.

Our bloggers said:

"What message is The Moving Company sending to their audience? They’ve both silenced the oppressed characters and given them a singular voice instead of allowing them to have individual voices. I identify as a female person of color with an immigrant mother, and it saddens me to not have found any reason to connect to this show. I commend them for their attempt at inclusivity, but if you’re looking for an authentic story of displacement, I’d implore you to look elsewhere as Refugia is short-sighted, white-centric and indulgent." - One Girl, Two Cities

Photo by Dan Norman.  
"So, at the end of the day, should you go see Refugia? I honestly don't know. I can't deny that in it's individual elements, Refugia is a beautifully crafted piece of drama. On the other hand, I have some very strong reservations about the script itself. I may believe that the authors intended this well (and I really do believe it), but somewhere in all the madness the point of the story - of refugees, of those who are suffering, of those who are forgotten and overlooked, of those to whom it is far too easy to turn a cold shoulder - is utterly lost." - Compendium

"So there you have it, the good, the bad, the ugly. As I said to my fellow TCTB, if one of the goals of theater is to start a conversation, then Refugia is a raging success! As long as we keep making art that matters, trying new things, being open about how we feel about what we're doing or what we're seeing, and take the time to listen to each other, I think we'll be OK." - Cherry and Spoon

"It’s like reading a self-published book. Some of the time, it’s great storytelling, captivating, and delightful. Other times, you wish the author had found a good editor. Refugia is a series of stories that deal with refugees and the fears and frustrations they endure. It left me with questions: Are we all refugees, traveling from one place to another, transitioning from one stage of life into the next?" - Play Off the Page

"This new work, playing on the Guthrie's McGuire Proscenium stage, aims to explore "exile, borders and the displacement of people," but we found the piece problematic, seeming to focus on white characters and stories and to underuse its few actors of color." - Minnesota Theater Love

Here's a few more reviews from the theater community:

Quest for Identity Drives Refugia - Rohan Preston, Star Tribune

With Refugia, The Moving Company Finds Its Place - Dominic P. Papatola, Pioneer Press

Refugia - Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

Refugia - Christine Sarkes, Aisle Say

Refugia: Serrand & Co. Do Gorgeous Work - Mari Wittenbreer, How Was the Show

Review of The Moving Company’s “Refugia” at the Guthrie Theater - Quinton Skinner, Medium

No man's land: 'Refugia' travels through time without borders - Jay Gabler, City Pages
And some background info:

Refugia Newsletter - Guthrie Theater (pdf)

Dominique Serrand talks about 'Refugia' - Pamela Espeland, Minnpost

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Red Velvet - TCTB Review Roundup

JuCoby Johnson (photo by John Heimbuch)
Red Velvet at Walking Shadow Theatre Company at The Southern Theater through May 28. This play sparked a lot of thoughtful analysis by our bloggers.

"Weirdly, Red Velvet seems to be more about white people’s racism than it is about the person who is the recipient of it. Ira Aldridge is the most interesting character here, but there’s a whole lot of white people crowding him out of his own story."
Single White Fringe Geek:

"The world of theater, for the most part, is more progressive than other communities, but we are no less susceptible to blind spots, biases, and strong prejudices. Red Velvet presents a powerful story of just that and how it affects those artists trying to fight against the tide."
The Room Where It Happens:

"I always love seeing new stories find the stage, particularly ones about historical figures who are underrepresented or otherwise forgotten, and that of Ira Aldridge certainly fits the bill.
Compendium - Minneapolis

"At the center of the play is the debate about art and politics. Should art be merely escapist entertainment (which some of Ira's colleagues thought wasn't possible when they went to the theater and saw a black man, during the time when the abolition of slavery was a hot topic)? Or is art, by its very nature, a social and political commentary on the world we live in?"
Cherry and Spoon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Charlie Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery - TCTB Review Roundup

Eric Sharp. Photo via Mu's website
Charlie Francis Chan Jr's Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery by Mu Performing Arts plays at the Guthrie Theater through May 28.

Featuring a witty, insightful script by Lloyd Suh, a fantastic cast, and an outstanding lead performance by Eric Sharp (pictured), CFCJEOMM is "a weird and trippy mash-up of stories, often told in exaggerated style, that effectively and poignantly exposes and skewers the stereotypes surrounding us while paying homage to the pioneers of Asian American theater." (Cherry and Spoon)

Read what our bloggers had to say and GO SEE IT! It's in the Dowling Studio, so you can't beat the price ($9.00!)

Cherry and Spoon:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Little Wars - TCTB Review Roundup

PRIME Productions is a new theater company that "seek[s] to explore, illuminate and support women over fifty and their stories through the creative voice of performance." Yay!

Their first show is Little Wars, which runs through May 21 at Mixed Blood Theatre Company.

Vanessa Gamble, Sue Scott and Candace Barrett Birk.
Photo by Joseph Giannetti.

Our bloggers had a LOT to say:

Compendium - Minneapolis:
"We need more pieces like Little Wars to keep pushing ourselves forward and to learn to harness the gifts that all members of our society, no matter how young or old, are able to give." 

Single White Fringe Geek: "Little Wars is a great launching pad for Prime Productions, and a great showcase for all these engaging performers. Treat yourself."

Say Entirely: "If you’re looking for a story about nice girls who nod and agree and live happily ever after, look elsewhere. If you like your stories raw and your heroines with a glass of liquor in hand, Little Wars is it."

Talkin' Broadway: "What are we to make of a play that works so hard to sanitize the biographies of people like Stein and Toklas (and Christie) and to imagine them as so much better than they were?"

Cherry and Spoon: "Go support the work of female artists in their prime telling a story of historical female artists in their prime, in what is also an engaging and entertaining evening of theater."

Sweet Land, The Musical - TCTB Review Roundup

Sweet Land, The Musical runs at the History Theatre through May 28 and our bloggers loved it.

Especially Cherry and Spoon who wrote:
"I couldn't be more thrilled for and proud of the all-female and mostly local creative team for making it to this new beginning for Sweet Land."

Ann Michels (photo by Rick Spaulding)
Play off the Page agrees, writing
"Thank you, Will Weaver, for writing this beautiful story that inspired the creative spirits of other Minnesotans to bring it to life on stage."

The Room Where It Happens:
"If you’re looking for an uplifting, heartwarming show to enjoy on an evening after spending a day soaking up this wonderful spring weather, this show’s for you."

Special extra:
Read Cherry and Spoon's interview with Sweet Land's Playwright/Lyricist Laurie Flanigan-Hegge!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ragtime Women and The Rink - TCTB Review Roundup

Last chance to catch Ragtime Women and The Rink! Strong women abound in these shows, so they are perfect to bring your mother to this weekend!

Ragtime Women at Elision Productions (through May 14 at Dreamland Arts).

Tierney at Say Entirely: "While the music of the day (some of it written by the historical Julia, May, and Gladys) plays, the characters sing their stories of love, defiance, and work." More at:

Compendium - Minneapolis: "How often do you see a story told entirely from the perspective of women, without a single element of the male gaze around to change it?" More at:

Cherry and Spoon: "In just a brief 75 minutes, Ragtime Women manages to tell a compelling story about four real life women who composed music in the early 1900s, while sharing over two dozen songs of the era, many of them written by these women." More at:

AND, take a day trip down to DalekoArts to see their production of the little-performed Kander and Ebb musical: The Rink (also through May 14).

Don't know The Rink? Here's Cherry and Spoon to tell you all about it:

"Set in a dilapidated roller rink on a fading east coast boardwalk (think a less classy Atlantic City) in the late '70s, it's full of great songs in the Kander and Ebb style (clever, funny, poignant lyrics, beautiful interesting melodies) with a compelling story about a mother and daughter reconnecting and coming to terms with their past mistakes." More at:

P.S. Minnesota Theater Love loved it as well and highly, highly recommends it. It features a marvelous central performance by Karen Weber, and by Bobby Gardner, who is not only funny but has a marvelous voice, and has just made it on their one-to-watch list. The entire cast is marvelous and the production makes one wonder why it's not performed more often.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Redemption - TCTB Review Roundup

Photographer: Mathieu Lindquist
nimbus theatre's latest original work, Redemption, deals with the tricky issue of reentry into civilian life after time spent in prison. 
This play is rife (ripe?) for discussion. Check out what our bloggers had to say and check out the play at the Crane Theater through May 14, 2017.

Single White Fringe Geek:

Friday, May 5, 2017

We Are the Levinsons - TCTB Review Roundup

We Are the Levinsons at MN Jewish Theatre Company through May 14, starring the marvelous Robert Dorfman. Our bloggers had all the feels.

"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll likely recognize your own family somewhere." Cherry and Spoon

"If you go to see We are the Levinsons, you will be moved, you’ll laugh and you’ll feel warm inside, and you might just find you have a craving for tongue sandwiches." Kit Bix in TC Jewfolk

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Bluest Eye - TCTB Review Roundup

Photo by Dan Norman
So, Twin Cities Theater Bloggers... What did you think of The Bluest Eye at Guthrie Theater? (now through May 21)
"Have you ever seen something that made the pit of your stomach drop out of your body? Something that physically reached into your chest and pulled out your literal heartstrings?" 
Play off the Page caught the show and a post-play discussion: 
"Some stories are there for our delight, to make us laugh or bring us joy. Other stories shed light into the dark places. And, we need to tell them all, read them and watch them, so that no one, or their experiences, are forgotten." 

Cherry and Spoon adds: "This cast and creative team, most of whom are new to the Guthrie, bring Toni Morrison's story to heartbreakingly vivid life in an intense, engaging, at times humorous, and incredibly moving hour and 45 minutes of theater."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Year with Frog and Toad - TCTB Review Roundup

"The story telling is divine, and we always leave feeling just a little bit better about the world we live in." 

Read what our bloggers had to say about A Year with Frog and Toad at Children's Theatre Company (now through June 18th!)