Category Archives: Theatre Reviews

Exceptional Value! The New Colony Presents Small World at The Den Theatre (Through May 4, 2019)

A disaster strikes Disney World. Three employees are trapped inside the “It’s a Small World” ride. Kim is seriously injured but she tries to stay calm. Donny is sure they won’t be rescued and is determined to find a way out. Becca is caught between them, unsure of what to do.
This ensemble piece, written by Jillian Leff (Missed Opportunities) and Joe Lino (Grace, Fun Home) is a very dramatic play with life or death stakes. However, it is also very humorous. An especially fun scene is when they successfully stop the music from playing. It’s a fun moment of celebration in a tough situation.
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The acting in this production is fantastic. Stephanie Shum (Plainclothes) is so funny as Kim, trying to stick to the Disney rules in this time of crisis while also wailing in pain. Patriac Coakley is great as Donny, manically searching for an escape. Lastly, Jackie Seijo is excellent as the normal one reacting to these two big characters.
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Get tickets now for Small World through May 4th!
Cost of a ticket: $25
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney
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Excellent! Requiem for a Heavyweight at The Artistic Home (Through April 14, 2019)

Mountain McClintock is a prize fighter past his glory days. After a brutal defeat, his pain only deepens following a visit from the doctor sharing devastating news that his next best move is retirement. He has been boxing for 14 years now and and he cannot visualize any other career.. His friend takes him to a job agency where he struggles to describe his talents. The woman working at the agency takes a strong interest in him and is determined to find an alternative passion. On the other hand, his manager wants him to take up professional wrestling, an idea Mountain strongly opposes.

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It’s a story many people can relate to. What do you do when lose the job you’ve had for so long? You’ve become so specialized, it seems impossible to do anything else. This play really captures Mountain’s inner battle.

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It is seating in the round for this show which creates a very intimate atmosphere. The boxing is happening just inches away. It is actually a bit too close and loud when the entire cast is clapping their gloves together violently. Thankfully, this only happens a couple times.

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The acting in this production is excellent. Mark Pracht (School for Lies) is fantastic as McClintock, a man lost without his former sense of purpose. Patrick Thornton is also great as his manager, a man just trying to figure out where he can make his next dollar.

Get tickets now for Requiem for a Heavyweight through April 14th!

Cost of a ticket: $36
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Excellent Acting! Landladies at Northlight Theatre (Through April 20, 2019)

Christine is a single mother working at Casa Taco House. She lives in a dump of an apartment where the landlady, Marti, doesn’t fix anything. Her boyfriend is a drunk struggling to stay sober. When she starts to work for Marti, things start to look up for her leading to an exciting climax.

Unfortunately, the resolution to this climax is quite unsatisfying. A long time jump takes place that comes out of nowhere without an intermission break. The whole final scene just seems out of place with the rest of the play.

The set is very impressive. Walls slide in and out transforming the stage from one apartment to another. A couch flips into a wall. A stove appears out of nowhere. A giant hole in the floor features prominently.

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Also, the acting in this production is excellent. Leah Karpel is solid as the young mother trying to provide a good life for her daughter. Shanesia Davis is strong as a landlady trying to be nice to her tenants while focusing on growing her business. Lastly, Julian Parker (Pass Over) is hilarious as the deadbeat boyfriend.
Get tickets now for Landladies through April 20th!

 

Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Review: A Bronx Tale at The James M. Nederlander Theatre (Through March 24, 2019)

There’s a reason this show was completely snubbed by the Tonys and received zero nominations. It’s a dud. Let’s start with the good. The dancing is high-energy, acrobatic and a thrill to see. Richard H. Blake, who originated the role of Lorenzo, turns in a notable performance. But that’s it. The book is terrible. The songs are instantly forgettable. Every joke lands flat. The plot is thin and tired.

The show’s marketing clings to a quote that bills the show as “a combination of ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘West Side Story,’” a lazy observation based on the fact that there are men crooning under street lamps and an interracial love story. But the show does not even tangentially approach the level of quality of either musical. Or whereas “Guys and Dolls” gives us the timeless “Luck Be a Lady,” this show gives us the painful “Roll ‘Em” with lyrics like “shut your trap or get in the crapper.”

 

If you loved the film version of the story and you never see musicals, go ahead and buy a ticket. Otherwise, save your money.

 

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Get tickets for A Bronx Tale through March 24th.
Cost of a ticket: $33 to $94
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Don’t Bother
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

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Dramatic and Funny! The Humans at Alley Theatre in Houston (Through March 24, 2019)

The Humans is about a family gathering in New York City on Thanksgiving. They are celebrating at the new duplex of the daughter and her boyfriend. Her mother is upset that they are moving in together before they are married. Her father doesn’t seem to mind, but he has a secret that he is very hesitant to share. Her sister has a chronic illness that caused her to lose her job and maybe her girlfriend too. Lastly, the grandmother is suffering from dementia.

 

Given the magnitude of the various interpersonal dynamics between the characters and the life complexities they are faced with, this play results in a stimulating experience for the audience. Additionally, it is also packed with continuous humor. It’s a real slice of life play that draws you in slowly with great dialog and excellent acting. The two-story set excellently recreates a duplex in Manhattan. The sounds of the neighbors and the trash compactor set the scene very well. While the title at first seems quite generic, it actually describes the play quite well in its simplicity.

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When the boyfriend mentions that this is quite a Thanksgiving experience, the mother says that he should just wait for Christmas! Here’s hoping for a sequel that invites the audience back for that dinner! This winner of the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016 surely deserves it.

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Get tickets now for The Humans through March 24th!

Cost of a ticket: $40
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Review: The Gift Theatre Presents Doubt at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through March 31, 2019)

A nun suspects the priest is engaging in inappropriate behavior with an altar boy. After the boy met with the priest, his breath smelled of alcohol and he acted strangely. The priest completely denies these allegations. The nun wonders what to do with this limited evidence. Is he innocent until proven guilty or is a suspicious circumstance enough to evict him?

 

Trailer for the 2008 film version featuring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

In this performance, Mary Ann Thebus plays the nun. She is often holding a script. She has had trouble remembering the lines due to medication she is currently on. They do have an understudy. While her passion for theatre is admirable as it allows her to preserve through these difficulties, in tonight’s production, the director should have utilized the understudy as it caused too much distraction impacting the quality of the performance. On the other hand, Michael Patrick Thornton is fantastic as the accused priest. His acting style is so smooth and he draws in attention expertly.

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The setup is very intimate in Steppenwolf’s smallest stage. The audience is split into two sets of seating areas with the stage in between. For those in the 2nd row or further back, their view is partially blocked by other people. In multiple scenes, the actors stand at opposite ends of the stage talking to each other. The audience is forced to swivel their heads back and forth like a tennis match. This could have been set up much better.

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Despite the issues, the powerful script by John Patrick Shanley shines through. It’s still a good show, but it could have been much better.

Get tickets now for Doubt through March 31st.

Cost of a ticket: $58

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

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Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Haven Theatre Presents The Total Bent at The Den Theatre (Through March 17, 2019)

A record producer from London comes to Montgomery, Alabama to record an album by Marty Roy, a rising musical star. Marty is the son of Joe Roy, a gospel star with a big personality. Marty does his best to distance himself from his father and create his own music and style.

The music in this show is fantastic. It’s rock and roll with a gospel flavor. The entire cast sings expertly supported by a full band on stage. It’s an impressive performance of 100 straight minutes of mostly music with no intermission. It’s a bit difficult to concentrate this long on the lyrics and it’s likely you’ll stop paying attention to the words and just feel the music at a few points. At a concert, this wouldn’t be an issue, but you could miss key points of the story. Thus, a break midway in the play would be a great addition.

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Robert Cornelius (Rightlynd, Lottery Day) is fantastic as Joe Roy. He has such a good voice and such a strong presence that fits the character perfectly. Also, Gilbery Domally (Memphis) is excellent as Marty Roy. Just like his character, his is surely a rising star.

The writer of the play, STEW, recorded the music for this play with his band, The Negro Problem. It is available on Spotify. Check out “Why Do Black People Still Believe in G~d?” for a good sample of what this show is all about.

Get tickets now for The Total Bent through March 17th!

Cost of a ticket: $40

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

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Quinn Delaney