Saturday, April 28, 2012

 
GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES
ENSEMBLE THEATRE

April 27-May 20, 2012 
www.ensemble-theatre.com or call 216-321-2930
Bob Abelman

Much like Rajiv Joseph’s ”Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist that takes place during the Gulf War, the two characters in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” are trapped within their own personal cages.  And while the Gulf war serves as a powerful reminder of the self-destructive nature of the human animal—a nature from which there is no clear or viable release—nothing drives this point home any better or more dramatically than watching Doug (Dan Folino) and Kayleen (Celeste Cosentino) attempt to escape their ill-fated, accident-prone destinies. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Roy Berko

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Ensemble Theatre again takes on a Rajiv Joseph script.  Though, due to some staging decisions, it is not as audience engaging as it could be, GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES is a thought provoking concept, that is filled with pathos. 

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

Fran Heller
Making this funny, sad play so appealing is the ingenuousness of the characters, played with unflinching honesty and realism by the two actors. It never becomes cutesy or artificial; you feel for these loveable losers from the get-go. 

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
There are eight scenes that attempt to capture the relationship of Doug and Kayleen from ages 8 to 38, and some resonate with depth, subtlety, and dark humor. But Ensemble's two-person cast is not consistently well matched, leaving other scenes lacking in both visceral impact and thematic heft.

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

Marjorie Preston
In “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” the characters’ injuries haven’t caused their failures, and yet they have allowed themselves to be defined by them.  Unfortunately, a great concept and succinct writing are complicated by choppy pacing.  Despite its tragic tone and the difficulties of wardrobe and makeup changes, the drama is gripping and lingers in your mind.

To see a full review of this show, read Marjorie Preston's blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Two One-Act Plays
(Elegy for a Lady and Three Women)
Cesear's Forum
April 13-28, May 11-26 (Friday and Saturday), April 29 (Sunday)
For tickets:  216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org


Roy Berko

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Cesear’s Forum’s production philosophy centers on making social commentary while presenting experimental theatre.  Though not a traditional type of production, the evening of one-acts is a good example of thoughtful theatre.

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

Fran Heller

Looking for a challenging evening of theater?
Consider the pair of one-acts being produced by Cesear's Forum: "Elegy for a Lady" by Arthur Miller (1915-2005) and "Three Women" by Sylvia Plath (1932-63)
Expressionistic in nature, elusive in understanding, this is an evening for the adventurous and open-minded theatergoer interested in sampling lesser works by these two American literary giants.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
Two flawed pieces by famous writers aim to engage but mostly just spin their wheels.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan


 
God Of Carnage
DOBAMA THEATRE
April 20-May 13, 2012

note:  run has been extended until May 20, 2012
For tickets:  216-932-6838 or www.dobama.org
Bob Abelman

Bile and bad behavior take center stage in Dobama’s ‘God of Carnage.’  The result is hilarious. To a point.  Fortunately, any dissatisfaction with the play is alleviated by this production’s superb ensemble.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.


Roy Berko
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GOD OF CARNAGE is a well written comedy that evokes constant laughter.  It gets a top-notch production at Dobama.  If you want an evening of totally delightful entertainment, to experience rationality being replaced by riot, this is a must go-see!

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

Fran Heller

We're all savages under the skin.  It's far from an original concept, but French playwright Yasmina Reza takes it to new satiric heights in her razor-sharp comedy of ill manners, "God of Carnage."  Husbands and wives, who begin as allies, become the bitterest of enemies in this bruising battle of the sexes.
 

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey

None of the characters has much to lose or gain in this situation, other than momentary embarrassment, so the eventual take-away feels a bit hollow. Still, Carnage will delight anyone who enjoys seeing supposedly refined sophisticates taken down a peg or three. And who doesn't love that?
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review here.

Marjorie Preston

GOD OF CARNAGE is well-acted, intense and full of dry humor.  GOD OF CARNAGE is full of honest and committed portrayals exaggerated for comedy’s sake.  GOD OF CARNAGE is a roller-coaster ride of shifting emotions and allegiances, a tragedy, really, with a lot of comedy along the way, featuring bold performances from its cast of four. 

To see a full review of this show, read Marjorie Preston's blog here or visit Cleveland.com here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In The Next Room (or the vibrator play)


IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY
CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE
APRIL 13-MAY 13, 2012Tickets: www.clevelandplayhouse.com or 216-241-6000
In a salacious age when little or nothing is left to the imagination, there is something inexplicably refreshing in looking from a 21st-century perspective at a play about sexual ignorance set in the late 19th century.


Bob Abelman

The Sarah Ruhl rules apply to this as well as her other quirky comedies:  She calls attention to taken-for-granted phenomena (in this case, the divide between women’s lives and and men’s perceptions of them), features lost women who find themselves through modern technology, and is theatrically adventurous with a metaphysical twist.  Good stuff.  Oh, and there's a naked guy.


To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Roy Berko


IN THE NEXT ROOM (or the vibrator play) is filled with laughter, views of the needs of women, na├»ve treatment of the “weaker sex” by men, excellent acting, and a beautiful set and costumes. This is a production well worth seeing!!!

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

Fran Heller

Ruhl's idiosyncratic voice is one of the freshest, funniest and most original among contemporary writers for the stage and a personal favorite of mine.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey

Back at the end of the 19th century, when this play is set, the issue was agreed upon by both genders: women didn’t have sexual urges or needs, they had “hysteria.” This elegant production at the Cleveland Play House fairly glitters, and is a frequently laugh-out-loud experience.


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


Kory


Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s scandalous In The Next Room, or the vibrator play stirs chatter, gasps and scandal at Cleveland Play House‘ Second Stage!



To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog at New102.com.


Art Thomas


The play engages the audience first as a broad farce that stairizes morals and manners of Victorian rigidness. Then playwright Ruhl deftly moves us into a world where repressed women take ownership of their own bodies and pleasures. Finally there's a reconciliation in the battle of the sexes. Come for the comedy; stay for the substance; enjoy the high production values.




Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Kerry Clawson


Folks certainly do a double take just reading the title of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, a play whose story stems from the clinical use of a certain electric device in the 1880s. But this tender comedy by Sarah Ruhl -- set in Saratoga Springs,  New York, in the buttoned-up Victorian era  just after the dawn of electricity -- is really about so much more. It’s about women discovering themselves and ultimately finding fulfillment and intimacy with their husbands.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Romeo and Juliet


ROMEO AND JULIET
GREAT LAKES THEATRE
April 13-April 28, 2012
TICKETS:
216-241-6000 or visit www.greatlakestheater.org.
Bob Abelman

Creative vision, not passion, drives Great Lakes Theater's "Romeo and Juliet."

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's review at the News-Herald here.

Roy Berko


ROMEO AND JULIET gets a credible performance at GLT, highlighted by an enchanting performance by Betsy Mugavero as Juliet, good pacing, and some fine supporting acting, but the production does have some problematic elements.

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


Fran Heller

Like impetuous teenagers, Romeo and Juliet fall head over heels in love, a passion that only deepens when challenged by the forces that conspire against them. Such is the impact of Durso's and Mugavero's towering performances, that even knowing the outcome, I felt like I was experiencing these immortal characters for the very first time.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey

Even though there are a couple small missteps and R&J’s love never quite blossoms as fully as it might, this is an intensely involving evening that flies by.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review in Scene.

Friday, April 13, 2012

IPHIGENIA 2.0


IPHIGENIA 2.0
Cleveland Public Theatre
April 13-28
Tickets: 216-631-2727 or www.cptonline.org

Roy Berko

IPHIGENIA 2.0 is a thought provoking, emotionally insightful piece of theatre that assaults the senses. It may be too abstract for some theatre-goers. Since I saw a preview performance I can only hope that the projection problems and some over-the-top acting will be reigned in as the run continues.

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


Fran Heller
It was a long, costly and unnecessary war, instigated by motives that were questionable at best, resulting in the untold loss of human life and the bankruptcy of a great power. If you are thinking of Iraq and Afghanistan, you might not be wrong, but the war I'm talking about took place 2,400 years ago in Charles L. Mee's "Iphigenia, 2.0" a clever re-imagining of Euripedes's "Iphigenia in Aulis" and the mythical Trojan War.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
Staged with entertaining, sinewy energy by director Matthew Wright, the production slaloms smoothly through the many narrative wickets established by the playwright. The morality of war and the craven nature of leadership are on display in this intensely theatrical production.

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


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Addams Family


THE ADDAMS FAMILY
PLAYHOUSE SQUARE--PALACE THEATRE
April 10-22, 2012

216-241-6000 or going to www.playhousesquare.org


Bob Abelman

The Addams Family’ is death warmed over, and in a really good way. This musical far surpasses expectations for a cartoon-turned-sitcom-turned feature film-turned stage production.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Roy Berko

Don’t go to see THE ADDAMS FAMILY expecting to see great theatre, it isn’t, but, based on the response of the opening night audience, most people should enjoy themselves.

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


Christine Howey

To call a Broadway musical “cute” would be, to some, damning with faint praise. And while damning may be a bit strong, faint praise is about all that one can conjure up for The Addams Family, now at PlayhouseSquare.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan


Kory
Do you enjoy macabre humor? Would you snap along to the familiar Addams Family theme song? Then you are likely the kind of audience member that would enjoy THE ADDAMS FAMILY, now playing at PlayhouseSquare’s Palace Theater.

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