Friday, April 28, 2017

GOOSETOWN @ NEW WORLD PERFORMANCE LAB



April 28, 29 & 30 and May 26, 27 & 28, 2017
(330) 867-3299
Or devilsmilk.bpt.me

Bob Abelman
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

Mark Horning
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura KennellyNo review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.
David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SOMETHING ROTTEN @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through May 14, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


“Something Rotten!” is the kind of big, boisterous and brassy musical theatergoers think about when the word “Broadway” is mentioned.  This tour meets all expectations and is an absolute treat to watch.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Something Rotten” is a theatrical treat…a wonderfully conceived and performed musical farce.  Anyone who wants to go to the theater and have a great time, unburdened by a complicated plot, listen to fun lyrics, see dynamic dancing and experience two acts of non-stop laughter…this is the must see musical!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

Mark Horning
Everything you have heard about this show is true. It is a fast pace, highly energetic, extraordinarily funny huge hit that everyone will want to see. Half of the fun is discovering all of the Broadway references sprinkled throughout the show. You are guaranteed to leave the theater laughing.    
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS @ OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL



Through April 30, 2017
(330) 673-8761

Roy Berko
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

Mark Horning
With a spacious two tiered set, period costumes, the olde world feeling of the theatre and profoundly adept actors one feels as if they are at the Globe taking in an exceptional performance. While for some Shakespeare conjures up nightmarish visions of high school studies, one OSF performance will have you falling in love with the wit and wisdom displayed in this comedic work which will hopefully whet your appetite for more.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura KennellyNo review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.
David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU @ KARAMU THEATRE


Through May 7, 2017
(216) 795-7070  

Bob Abelman (Guest critic Gwendolyn Kochur)
As you exit the theater rejuvenated and well entertained, it is clear that – where pure pleasure is concerned – you really can take with you.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


For those who like to go to the theater to have fun, get away from their own work-a-day world of angst, “You Can’t Take It With You” is your thing.  Don’t’ expect a professional level production, most of the cast are not Equity carrying members, but there is enough comedy, ridiculousness, and delight to make even the Grinch smile.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


If your taste in entertainment favors the absurd and madcap this is must see theater. While limited in Equity members, the large cast manages to bring forth the excitement and craziness of the original production. It is fun theater for the sake of entertainment and should not be missed.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.



HAND TO GOD @ DOBAMA



Through May 21, 2017
(216) 932-3396

Bob Abelman

Everything the playwright has to offer lands with resonance as well as audacity.  And, under Matthew Wright’s sleight-of-hand direction, even the dropping of f-bombs is raised to an art form.  His actors offer a masterclass in balancing horror with humor, vulnerability with vulgarity, and playing impertinence with a straight face.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Hand to God” is a brilliant production, and places a spotlight on lost people caught up in their inabilities to cope with grief and abandonment.  In fascination, we watch as these people lose healthy reality, replace it with abject pain, interspersing horror with laughter.  This must-see staging, has to be one of the highlights of this theater season!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

The ensemble performances are quite adept. But it is Wehner’s star turn as the man with the devil stuck on the end of his arm that steals the show and is worth the price of admission.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

...Director Matthew Wright and his fine-tuned cast wring the comic profanity and real pathos from Robert Askins' script...The undisputed star of the show is Tyrone, voiced and manipulated with such skill and ease by [actor Luke] Wehner, you'll find yourself forgetting the two are one...enjoy the wickedly entertaining puppet show."

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

FREAKY FRIDAY @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through May 14, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

'Freaky Friday' causes Cleveland Play House and Playhouse Square to swap souls.
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


If you go to the theater for enjoyment, Cleveland Play House’s “Freaky Friday” is your thing.  If you go to the theater to see marvelous talent, in a well-directed, well-conceived show, “Freaky Friday” is your thing.  If you don’t go to theater but have always wondered what a Broadway show is like, “Freaky Friday” is your thing.  Yes, if you don’t go see “Freaky Friday” you are going to miss out on a special event!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop

Mark Horning


For those looking for a family safe and suitable show that entertains and delights, this is the one to see. With a well developed cast, functional sets, believable costuming and a number of dazzling song and dance numbers it is an evening of solid entertainment wrapped up in a nice moral tale with a happy ending.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

The potentially tender, lightly amusing and affecting fantasy is crushed under the brutal treads of the Kitt/Yorkey pop-rock sonic muggings and music director Andrew Graham’s unrelenting intensity. 

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly


Never mind “being in someone else’s shoes.” How about exchanging bodies? That’s the premise of Freaky Friday, the Cleveland Play House’s last show of the 2016-2017 season. This Disney pop/rock theatrical production takes a light look at the common “You just don’t understand” wail that often comes from both mothers and daughters.  After Disney movies plus TV shows based on the idea (and in this musical’s case, specifically on Mary Rodger’s novel, Freaky Friday), the comic story itself won’t surprise.

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's review at Cool Cleveland.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's blog

David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS @ CHAGRIN VALLEY LITTLE THEATRE



Through April 22, 2017

(440) 247-8955

http://www.cvlt.org/

WORTH NOTING: 
In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved list, members of the Circle who attend a community or educational theater production that is perceived as of high quality will have the option of listing that production on the CCC blogsite.  This review falls into that category.

Mark Horning


This 35 year old dark comedy chestnut of a musical still manages to bring a smile and a laugh to audience members, especially when superbly done. Chagrin Valley Little Theatre fills the stage with equal amounts of whimsy, fun and Doo-Wop making for an enjoyable theater experience.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through April 23, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


They don’t give Pulitzer Prizes for titles. 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Between Riverside and Crazy” is an interesting set of character investigations within a plot which probably won’t fascinate, but will instill interest.  The production is excellent, the set fascinating, the laughs enough to keep attention and diminish some of the angst, and offers viewers a chance to experience seldom used runway staging.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey


The excellent Cleveland Play House cast invests the proceedings with plenty of wry characterizations to bring out the humor in this rather seedy narrative.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene



Friday, April 7, 2017

DEATH OF A MAN @ NEW WORLD PERFORMANCE LAB



Through Sunday, May 14, 2017

(330) 867-3299


Kerry Clawson

Somber lighting, chanting and the ritual shaking of a tree branch by Colombian actor Jairo Cuesta has the Man warding off evil spirits as the story unfolds of more than two decades of terror and enslavement of the indigenous Uitotos by the rubber supplier. ... Directed by co-artistic director James Slowiak, the bald, shirtless Cuesta moves fluidly, at one with the jungle as he portrays a hissing snake, snarls as a four-legged animal and perches on a box like a large bird.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

LABIO DE LIEBRE @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE


Through April 15, 2017
(216) 631-2727


Mark Horning

What this play attempts to do is to put names and personalities to what for many of us are obscure newspaper reports from other parts of the world. It does a good job at this. Through. this work, the nameless and faceless victims come alive in our minds as we begin to ask questions as to what can be done to stop these atrocities. 

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey


Although nuance and subtlety are not the production’s long suits, this 90-minute piece eventually makes a powerful statement about tragedies that have befallen many people.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Sunday, April 2, 2017

HAMLET@ Great Lakes Theater

 
March 31-April 15, 2017
Tickets:  216-664-6064 or wwwgreatlakestheater.org

Bob Abelman


By featuring male and female twins in “The Comedy of Errors” and “Twelfth Night,” Shakespeare capitalized on the humor that comes from mistaken identity and the provocation found in issues grounded in gender roles and social politics. 

By double-casting the title character in “Hamlet” with a male and a female  actor in alternating performances, the only thing Great Lakes Theater director Charlie Fee meant to capitalize on was his deep and diverse talent pool of performers.   

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


The preview performance of “Hamlet” grabbed and held the audience’s attention.  Laura Welsh Berg was convincing and gave a “different” dimension to the role of the Prince of Denmark.  Though Shakespeare traditionalists may scream “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (GLT), others who see the “female” version of the play should leave saying, “Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning

One thing is for certain, whichever performance you choose to see, be it Hamlet portrayed by a man or a woman, you will be witnessing one of Great Lakes Theater’s finer productions and a premiere adaptation of a great and noble work. 

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Andrea Simakis

Happily, the production delivers the jolts and jibes we've come to expect of what is arguably Shakespeare's most famous play.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.




Friday, March 24, 2017

HARMS WAY @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM



Through April 15, 2017
(216) 687-0074

Roy Berko


“Harm’s Way” looks at the underbelly of humanity, people who engender no positive emotional connection for many, in a frame work that follows Wellman’s abstract writing style.  If that’s your thing, then you’ll appreciate the happenings. 

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey


In Harm’s Way, now at convergence-continuum theater, we are plunged into the distorted world of playwright Mac Wellman, a world where common aspects of our lives—violence, con games, dead Presidents—appear as if reflected in a fun house mirror. And then you realize, maybe this view isn’t so distorted after all.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

A SKULL IN CONNEMARA @ NONE TOO FRAGILE



Through April 1, 2017
(330) 671-4563

Roy Berko


Partake in the free shot of Jamison, which is the hallmark of the pre-show ritual at none-too-fragile, sit back, and allow yourself to be immersed in an Irish black comedy, complete with skull battering, blunt language and a wee bit of fun.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


If you like your theater with a heavy Irish brogue and freewheeling insults and cursing, this work that borders on sacrilegious is for you. The story and characters are engaging and the mystery holds up well to the very end. Have a jigger of Jamison on the house and enjoy a bit of Irish whimsy. 

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Kerry Clawson

"A Skull In Connemara" is a sick play.  But this black comedy by Martin McDonagh sure is a funny one at None Too Fragile in Akron’s Merriman Valley. The Irish-English playwright is famous for his vicious but hilarious brand of humor, and Skull does not disappoint on that front.
 .
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

David Ritchey

"A Skull in Connemara" has the most convoluted script produced by the none too fragile (NTF) theater in a long time.  The play is part comedy and part serious drama.

To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

OCCUPATION DAD @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE


March 17-April 2, 2017
Tickets:  216-321-2930
or http://www.ensemble-theatre.com

Roy Berko

“Occupation Dad” has many laughs, is often thought provoking and gets a nice production.  This is not a great script but offers a nice escapist evening of theater. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.




Monday, March 20, 2017

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME@PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through April 9, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Touring ‘The Curious Incident’ astounds more than it engages.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


The script and visual technical aspects of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is outstanding on every level.  Unfortunately, on opening night, the touring production did not take the play to the heights that it deserves.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

 "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" begins with a sudden assault on our senses, with extreme sound and light ushering us into a stressful experience in protagonist Christopher’s life.  The play, a faithful adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel, is highly physical theater that offers excellent ensemble storytelling as well as inventive staging and multimedia effects that create the world of 15-year-old Christopher’s mind.

To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop

In a national touring production of a non-musical play (quite a rarity), “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” seemed to have grabbed Tuesday’s opening-night audience by the throats and never let go.  And it’s not just because of the behemoth title.  Yes, we discover the answer to the mystery of the dog, but the bigger mystery of autism — and how it is experienced — is what makes this stage thriller so riveting.

Mark Horning

This is a coming of age story about a sheltered young man attempting to strike out on his own. In spite of his handicaps he utilizes the talents that he has been blessed with in order to function in the real world. Combining lights, sound and choreography with exceptional acting it paints a clearer picture of the lives of these least understood members of society while leaving lots of room for post show discussion.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Christine Howey

In the remarkable production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by London’s National Theatre, Simon Stephens has adapted British playwright Mark Haddon’s eponymous novel into a thrilling excursion. 

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly


Gross: As we enter the Connor Palace theatre and look to the stage what greets our eyes? A dead dog impaled by a pitchfork. And that dog and its discovery triggers all subsequent action in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's blog at artstillmatters.com
To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

In the moving mind blower that is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" we literally climb into the head of Christopher Boone, a Swindon, England, teen. . . . Good art teaches us to see the world how other see it.  Great art helps us feel what it's like to walk in another's skin, connecting us to each other and reminding of our shared humanity, a vast and beautiful ocean.  It's a fitting metaphor, though no doubt one to which Christopher would object.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR @ CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE



Through April 9, 2017

(440) 331-0403

https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=cplay

WORTH NOTING: 
In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved list, members of the Circle who attend a community or educational theater production that is perceived as of high quality will have the option of listing that production on the CCC blogsite.  This review falls into that category.


Mark Horning

While clearly a romanticized look at traditional Irish rural life, Outside Mullingar has enough truth to balance it out. With an outstanding cast who blend well you quickly find yourself falling in love with the characters and their stories. With most Clague Playhouse productions selling out you would be wise to get your tickets quickly in order to enjoy this well produced gem of a play.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Christine Howey

Shanley, whose play Doubt won the Pulitzer and Tony in 2005, and an Oscar for Moonstruck, knows his way around dialogue. And he has constructed a play bristling with witty one-liners and intriguing family dynamics. The cast under the wise direction of Anne McEvoy hits all the notes, although there are a couple wrinkles.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MAMMA MIA! @ Connor Palace



March 14-19, 2017
Tickets:  216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org


Roy Berko

“Honey, Honey,” “The Name of the Game,” is “The Winner Takes All” when you go to see what may well be the final tour of “Mamma Mia!.” Yeah, be a “Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance on Me” and be a “Winner [who] Takes It All.” 

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

FLOYD COLLINS @ Blank Canvas Theatrre



March 10-25, 2017
tickets:  blankcanvastheatre.com or 440-941-0458

Bob Abelman

Blank Canvas’ ‘Floyd Collins’ is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Floyd Collins” is an unusual musical that receives rare productions.  It gets a very proficient staging at Blank Canvas and is very well worth seeing due to strong musical performances and a nice interpretation of the melodramatic story.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Christine Howey

Without a firm sense of Floyd’s adoration of the cave world and all its mysteries, we aren’t able to fully appreciate his ironic predicament. As “The Ballad of Floyd Collins” says, with admirable brevity: “He went looking for his fortune underground/Sure enough, his fortune is what he found.”

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene





Friday, March 3, 2017

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through March 26, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


It has taken 20 years for Paula Vogel’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning “How I Learned to Drive” to appear on the Cleveland Play House stage.  But as we learn from the predatory pedophile at the center of her disturbing story,  patience has its rewards.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“How I Learned to Drive,” in spite of its excellent staging, is not an easy play to watch.  It is haunting, dark, and the topic is not something to which everyone can relate.  But it deals with a realistic subject that is more prevalent in our society than is often recognized and if you’re willing to open yourself up to the emotional upheaval that the story may induce, this is a play well-worth seeing.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


This winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama takes a hard look at a near epidemic world problem using drama rather than visual simulation to tell a realistic story of unchecked lust. The courageous theater goers who witness this 80 minute one act play may have to deal with their emotions afterward but regardless they will end up more informed than before. Disturbing, touching, realistic and heartfelt all at the same time and a challenge for the senses.  

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Howard Gollop

There are a few more bumps from uneven cast members. Perhaps they could have used more help from director Laura Kepley to hone the nuances of their multiple, briefly appearing characters.
Fortunately, occasional soft performances do not undermine the power of Vogel’s drama and this production.

 

Christine Howey

There are many kinds of sexual abuse of minors. But when the abuse is doled out by a person whom you have grown close to and loved, the pain is beyond imagining. And this play comes as close as you can to that conflicted state without lapsing into easy regret and facile recrimination.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly

It’s a great ride through risky territory. Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive looks honestly at family, sexual desire, puberty and pedophilia, and yet — magically — avoids being a mere lecture about the evils thereof. 

To see a full review of this show see Cool Cleveland or read Laura Kennelly's blog at ArtStillMatters

Andrea Simakis

We can rejoice that "How I Learned to Drive" feels as fresh and fearless as it did two decades ago...and mourn for the same reason.  "Fresh and Fearless"

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.