Monthly Archives: March 2017

Suspenseful! Route 66 Theatre Presents The Source at The Den Theatre (March 30, 2017)

A journalist and a documentary filmmaker are summoned to a hotel in a large foreign city. They are there to meet The Source, an unidentified leaker of classified US documents about spying on citizens. They receive very specific instructions about what to do in order to be sure they are not being surveilled. This includes putting their cell phones into the freezer and unplugging the landline. The two strangers are very suspicious of each other to start. As they learn more about each other, the drama and the suspense builds. Who is The Source? When will they arrive?

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The production expertly creates a suspenseful scene. Projectors display a timer and sweeping lights creat a very modern feel. The fast paced music creates a sense of importance and urgency. When someone loudly knocks on the door, the audience is on the edge of their seat to see who it is.

It’s a gripping tale that is all too relevant in today’s political culture. The issue of security verse privacy is a tough one to solve.

Get tickets now for The Source through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

 

Very Witty! Remy Bumppo Theatre Presents Born Yesterday at Greenhouse Theatre (March 27, 2017)

If witty barbs delivered by a sharply dressed cast is your thing, Born Yesterday is for you. This absorbing play takes the audience to Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of World War II, where Harry Brock and his girlfriend Billie Dawn are moving up in the world, thanks to Harry’s shady business dealings.

But the audience soon learns that Billie isn’t satisfied with just being Harry’s girl and singing show tunes (e.g. “Anything Goes). She has a desire to expand her knowledge of the world and her place in it. They watch Billie transform from an idle, would-be socialite into a bespectacled revolutionary. She delves into book after book and scribbles newly learned facts in a tiny notebook (London is in England? Who knew?!).

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She revels in her new knowledge of literature and history, and her transformation is delivered in a way that makes her funny and vulnerable. The play’s message is never heavy handed, even when Billie is debating exploding her own life to live a more moral one. Billie forces not only herself, but the people around her, to question their motives and the societal implications of their actions. Born Yesterday leaves the audience with more questions than answers, which seems to be the point.

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Get tickets now for Born Yesterday through April 30th!

Jen Hubert

Thrilling! WildClaw Theatre Presents The Woman in Black at The Den Theatre (March 25, 2017)

The Woman in Black is the longest running non-musical in London’s famous West End. It’s about a man who hires an actor to help him tell a ghostly story to friends and family.  He is seeking deliverance from regular nightmares in the retelling. The story from this man’s past involves a woman whose hauntings terrify and transform the neighborhood and it’s inhabitants.  As the tale unfolds, the audience finds themselves transported most believably to the time and setting of the horrifying events.

The production starts off a bit slow, but it does build to be very exciting. It’s very thrilling as the man searches through the house in almost complete darkness. The sound effects set the scene perfectly and create a very theatrical show. It’s a great touch to play Willy Moon’s “Railroad Track” at the end of the show. Also, the set is full of cobwebs and old wood.  The hall of broken mirrors at the entrance to the stage is a great choice to get the audience slightly unnerved.

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Get tickets now for The Woman in Black through April 23rd!

Quinn Delaney

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Live Review! Youngr at Schubas (March 22, 2017)

For those of you who appreciate a performance, and have ever felt underwhelmed by a DJ who you believed to simply be pressing the “play” button, look no further. Youngr is an emerging artist who is the opposite of passive—he is immersed in his music. He is literally surrounded by all of his instruments and special effects, which he plays and layers on top of each other.

While he’s not quite a one-man-band—he has his brother playing back-up guitar, and another musician on percussion—it is remarkable to watch him move from the keyboard, to a microphone, to his guitar, to his bass, back to a microphone, to his electronic drum set, all while fine-tuning knobs and dancing to his own rhythms. His music, while mostly electronic based, sometimes features almost purely real instruments, such as the song “Daydreamer.” Each song begins with a ripple and builds to a level of anticipation, which is then released as though the ripple at your feet had turned into the mouth of a waterfall above your head with each climactic dance break.

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As he began setting up the waterfall rush of his next song, he paused and said “I’m gonna have a little boogie,” and proceeded to take his own dance break. It’s clear that Youngr thoroughly enjoys performing his music with an attitude that’s casual and fun. He went on to play one of my favorites of his, “Out of My System”—a song about putting off diving into a relationship in order to explore the world and yourself while you still have time to do it. The song is inspiring to everyone who may need to focus on themselves and be selfish for whatever reason. As Youngr says, “I need to dance with my demons/ I don’t want them all my life.”

Youngr’s style is fresh and groovy—almost as much as his afro, which he decorates with a little hanging charm. He clearly has an ear for sound, and is capable of sculpting it all on his own with his plethora of instruments and abilities. His hunger for life and experience is wildly apparent in all of his songs, creating a voice inside his listeners’ minds encouraging them to have the same hunger—or is it hungr?

Liz Lawson

Road Warriors! Atlas Genius at House of Blues Chicago (March 24, 2017)

Atlas Genius are a bunch of road warriors. They have already played 59 concerts in 2017. They have played in Chicago at least 9 times. That’s quite a feat for a band all the way from Adelaide, Australia. All this touring has resulted in a finely tuned live set.

The music comes alive and sounds even better live than on the record. From  “Stockholm” to “If So”, the crowd sings and dances along. They also throw in a cover of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive. It is very well received tonight at the House of Blues. The lead singer gives thanks to the other bands playing tonight, Night Riots & Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Then, they close with their biggest hit, “Trojans”. “Your Trojans in my head!” They definitely left the crowd wanting more, just like all the best bands do.

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Quinn Delaney

Victory! Portlandia at Escape Games PDX

In Portlandia, your roommate has hidden the rent money and you have one hour to find it before your landlord kicks you out. Portland trivia is useful to know to help find the cash, but there is also a travel book in the room with the answers. This room features a very fun surprise that had the whole group excited to discover. Connect 4, Plinko, math problems, combination locks, blacklights, craft beer, and magnets are all used in this adventure.

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Team Vancouver had 8 people who all knew each other and had all played an escape room before. Add in two more people and it made for a very strong team that was able to find the money with 2 minutes to spare. There were lots of puzzles to do at the same time, which makes having a large team very useful.

Book the Portlandia room now at Escape Games PDX!

Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review of Escape from 20,000 Leagues in Seattle.

Exceptional! Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Auditorium Theatre (March 22, 2017)

Walking Mad, the second performance tonight, is a magical piece. It begins with a man entering the stage in front of the curtain. He walks center stage and then seems to lift the curtain revealing a large wall on the stage. He approaches the wall to inspect it and then suddenly the wall pushes him towards the front of the stage. The wall is very interactive with the ability to move, spin, fold down, and split apart. It also has doors that open which the dancers often use. It makes for a fascinating show.

 

Ravel’s Bolero plays during this piece and it’s a perfect fit. It sets the fun playful mood at the start of the relationship. When one of the dancers appears to reach behind the wall and steal the hat off another dancer from over 40ft away, the entire audience laughs. They are also delighted when she then runs behind the wall throwing clothes in the air and then jumps on the male dancer. The music stops for a very intense scene in which the wall folds to form a corner in which the girl hides. Finally, the music transforms into sadness as the couple splits up. It’s an emotional journey expertly expressed through exceptional dancing.

Get your tickets for Alvin Ailey now through Sunday!

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Quinn Delaney