Sunday, May 1, 2011

We are slackers. Here are 13 mini-reviews.

Way back on Feb. 24 before a performance of The Brothers Size at Seattle Rep, Weisenheimer and my Sweetie, the official scorer, were grilled by readers Jason Harber and José Amador (and we were a bit amazed to find that we really had readers, actually) about our paucity of posts in recent months. Not to make excuses, but in early December we moved out of our house and into a rental for a two-month remodeling project that, as we move into month number six, is nearly finished. Somewhere in there I quit my job and joined the family firm. So things have been a little hectic.

John Bradshaw left, then returned to
Seattle Shakespeare Company,
where he's managing director.
We've managed fully one post since then, about the departures of John Bradshaw and Stephanie Shine from Seattle Shakespeare Company. Bradshaw left first, but upon the departure of Shine a week later, decided not to leave after all and returned to his post as the company's managing director. That's a good thing! We've not commented at all about the troubles over at Intiman, which has sacked its entire staff and shut down for the rest of its season, intending to regroup and re-emerge next year. How that will play with those who had recently forked over in an effort to keep the financially troubled theater afloat is anyone's guess.

Despite the craziness in our lives, we have still been getting out to the theatre. Here's what we've been up to since our last review, a Jan. 29 post about Balagan Theatre's production of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Merry Wives of Windsor at Seattle Shakes. The final production of the company's current season, directed by Terry Edward Moore, scores with big laughs. Leslie Law and Candace Vance were especially great as the title wives, John Patrick Lowrie was grand as Sir John Falstaff, and Therese Diekhans was marvelous as the scheming Mistress Quickly. Merry Wives runs through May 15.

9 to 5 at 5th Avenue. A fun, musical stage version of the 1980 film featured Dolly Parton on video and a lot of period pieces on the set. Where did they find so many Selectric typewriters?

You are about to enter another dimension. Tim
Moore as Rod Serling in Twilight Zone Live!
Twilight Zone Live! at Theater Schmeater. Adapted from the TV series and directed by Tim Moore, who also got big laughs with his spot-on Rod Serling impression, the cast included many of this page's favorites, including  Megan Ahiers, Ashley Bagwell, Tracy Leigh, Lisa Viertel, and Jon Lutyens. Props to Rob Burgess, who has roles  in all three episodes, including Wordworth, the obsolete librarian from one of my favorite shows in the series.

Of Mice and Men at Seattle Rep. John Steinbeck is one of Weisenheimer's favorite authors, and there have been a couple of great film versions of the book, but we really hadn't intended to go to this until we learned of the cast, led by Seattle favorite Charles Leggett as Lennie, and also featuring Troy Fischnaller (George), Ray Tagavilla (Carlson), and Seanjohn Walsh (Curley). While we enjoyed the production, we thought director Jerry Manning went a little too cartoonish with Curley, who was in a ridiculous red wig and spent most of the time strutting about sputtering with his chest puffed out. Leggett's performance alone was worth the price of admission (which is getting awfully high at the Rep, I must say.)

Shawn Belyea as Daniel and Jaime Roberts as Virginia in
LGT's proeduction of Hardball. Photo: Omar Willey.
Hardball by Live Girls Theater at Annex. The world premiere of Victoria Stewart's play about a young woman's transformation from journalist to popular pundit. The story, the main character of which is not-very-loosely based on Ann Coulter, doesn't sound like that exciting of a premise for a play. But an outstanding cast and direction by Meghan Arnette, make for an outstanding show. A late scene of an on-camera debate between the Coulter character, Virginia (played by Jaime Roberts) and Suzanne (Alyssa Keene) really crackled.

Great Expectations at Book-It. Kevin McKeon directed this wonderful adaptation of the Dickens book, starring Lee Osorio as Pip and our good friend Mike Dooly as Joe.

Janiva Magness at Jazz Alley. We worked some music into the first quarter, as chart-topping blues artist Janiva Magness played the Alley on March 1. Magness does a great live show. Check out our reviews from last year's performaces in February and April.

The Threepenny Opera by Seattle Shakes at Intiman. A big cast, marvelous costumes, and a bigger house over at Intiman ultimately led to a pretty disappointing and overlong production.

The Brothers Size at Seattle Rep. My Sweetie, the official scorer, didn't seem all that impressed by this story of brotherly love, but Tarell McCraney's script and story moved me. Directed by Juliette Carrillo and set, essentially, on a big pile of old tires, it was a grand tale of brothers who don't have much but each other.

The K of D at Seattle Rep. We spent a lot of time at the Rep, which is wrapping up a pretty good season. This time my Sweetie really liked the production. I, while impressed with actress Renata Friedman's ability to carry this one-woman show and portray about 250 characters seamlessly, the story really didn't grab me all that much.

Ann Flannigan was great as Norma, the bossy and bitchy
sister who is just trying to keep the family together. I'm sure
all of the characters wanted to kill her! Photo by TorStudios.
The Last Schwartz at Harlequin Productions. This Olympia theater is doing some great work these days, and for the second straight year staged a show by Deborah Zoe Laufer, playwright of End Days. Schwartz featured a super strong cast, with great performances from my former colleague Ann Flannigan as Norma, the de facto momma of a somewhat disfunctional family, Scott C. Brown as brother Herb, who just wants the coffee table, and Alison Monda as Kia, outrageous model girlfriend of brother Gene.

Emilie at ArtsWest. An encore performance. I'd seen the play one evening when my Sweetie was out of town and was sure she'd like it, so went again. She did.

Duel of the Linguist Mages at Annex Theatre. Local playwright Scotto Moore wrote and directed this interesting sci-fi play featuring local favorites Jen Moon, James Weidman, and Curtis Eastwood. Moore's work is out there, and Mages is no exception, with a fascinating plot featuring researchers hacking language to control everything.

OK, there. You're up to date.

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