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Sandi Toksvig’s Silver Lining Is a Fun Show

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September 25, 2017

Peony Productions director Pam McClure hastens to inform us, both in her director’s notes and in her preshow remarks, that the decision to produce this show was taken before the spate of natural catastrophes that have been experienced of late. During those life-threatening (and deadly) events, the phenomenon of forgotten elderly people has been also… Read More ›

Barbara Field’s Playing with Fire (After Frankenstein) at TIP Is a Hot One

Barbara Field’s Playing with Fire (After Frankenstein) belongs to the literary category that I refer to as the “But What Happened Next?” genre. Many such works can be tedious and unsatisfying, but this one is very interesting. Indeed, it was quite fun to watch the Sept. 22nd opening-night performance of Theatre in the Park’s production,… Read More ›

Moonlight Stage Co.’s First Full-Length Play, Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, Is a Winner

One of the perks of attending a good performance of a good play is this: you leave the theater with this warm feeling that you have gotten to know some real people — you have had enough of a glimpse into their character that you feel that you know “what makes them tick.” This was… Read More ›

The "Visitor from Philadelphia" segment of the Forest Moon Theater's production of California Suite stars (from left) Danny Mullins, Ashley Jones, and Karen Marchuska (photo by David Leone)

Forest Moon Theater’s California Suite Is a "Sweet" Source of Laughs and Smiles

Picture this: In the distant future, archeologists unearth copies of Neil Simon’s work. With only these scripts as artifacts, future historians assume that ours was a society steeped in wit, that lightning-fast banter, seasoned with sarcasm, was the norm of our time. Understandable. But for all the fun and laughter contained in California Suite, that… Read More ›

Honest Pint Theatre Company and Sweet Tea Shakespeare Brew Up a Delightful King Lear

The grandeur of William Shakespeare’s King Lear is almost universally recognized. English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley referred to it as “the most perfect specimen of dramatic poetry existing in the world.” Early 20th century English literary critic A.C. Bradley referred to it as “Shakespeare’s greatest achievement.” A play this great deserves a production of… Read More ›

Julia Gibson stars as Della in The Cake by UNC alumna Bekah Brunstetter (photo by HuthPhoto)

The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter Is Charming and Surprising, with a Superb Cast of Four

The Fall theater season has begun in earnest in the Triangle, and PlayMakers Repertory Company has started its mainstage season right with the regional premiere of Bekah Brunstetter’s new play, The Cake. Brunstetter, who is a writer and co-producer of NBC’s acclaimed This Is Us television series, is a University of North Carolina at Chapel… Read More ›

The Cake stars Christine Mirzayan (left) as Macy and Julia Gibson as Della (photo by HuthPhoto)

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Production of The Cake Is a Sweet Slice of Life That Delicately Tackles Tough Issues

PlayMakers Repertory Company opened its newest season, a season it has dubbed as “on the edge,” with an appropriately edgy but surprisingly sweet new show, written by Bekah Brunstetter. The show, The Cake, opens on an adorable, detailed bakery set. The bakery is full of delightful cakes and has a checkered floor and splashes of… Read More ›

Shakespeare’s Epic Tragedy King Lear Gets a Tour-de-Force Performance in Raleigh

Honest Pint Theatre Company (Raleigh) and Sweet Tea Shakespeare (Fayetteville) have combined forces and talents to produce King Lear, tragic dysfunctional-family story of father and daughters, mendacity, betrayal, greed, along with loyalty and love. Leggett Theater at William Peace University hosts this long dramatic presentation of The Bard’s saga of an old man’s insanity. The… Read More ›

Honest Pint and Sweet Tea Shakespeare Get to the Heart of The Bard’s King Lear

The word heart appears in William Shakespeare’s canon around 1,400 times. A record-breaking 58 instances occur in King Lear. That’s more than either Romeo and Juliet or all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. King Lear rarely references the organ literally. Characters are empty-hearted, true-hearted, honest-hearted, marble-hearted, dog-hearted, heart-struck, or even a sweet-heart. Director Jeremy Fiebig is… Read More ›

Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite at Holly Springs Is a Fine Show That Deserves a Longer Run

Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite, presented Sept. 7-9 by Stageworks Theatre of Holly Springs and MyComputerCareer.edu at the Holly Springs Cultural Center, opened for a one-weekend stint this Thursday, and will close at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. God’s Favorite is a quirky play, even for Simon; and it has been updated from its 1974 Broadway version… Read More ›

Rock of Ages at Koka Booth in Cary Is Caught in Between Musical Theater and Rock Concert

It was a comfortable 72 degrees last evening in North Carolina, and I’m sliding my way to my second-row seat — Mountain Dew in one hand, funnel cake in the other. The sun set as both lawn chairs and beer cans are popped open in anticipation of a raucous night of rock music. From the… Read More ›

The Bare Theatre cast for ShakesBEER (from left: Tara Nicole Williams, Kyle Mears, Natalie Sherwood, and J. Robert Raines) sail to Illyria to visit characters from Twelfth Night (photo by Robert Davezac)

Bare Theatre’s Peripatetic ShakesBEER Is an Hour or So of Nonstop Laughter

It has been said that William Shakespeare wrote for every “level” in his audience, that he “aimed” certain elements to the “upper-crust” and certain elements to “the masses.” I believe the same thing can be said for Shakespeare’s modern-day “collaborator Chuck Keith. Who says you can’t update Shakespeare? ShakesBEER, produced by Bare Theatre at “various… Read More ›

ShakesBEER Is a Great Time, with Singing, Fights, "Yo Momma" Battles, and Comedy Galore

Have you ever wanted to hang out with Falstaff and the gang, whenever they performed skits in Boar’s Head Inn? With Bare Theatre’s ShakesBEER by William Shakespeare and Chuck Keith that’s just what you get to see. At the performance that I saw at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, the audience got to watch as a… Read More ›

Lynnette Barber stars as Mother Shaw in Raleigh Little Theatre's production of Crowns (photo by Brenna Lila Jane Berry-Stewart)

Regina Taylor’s Crowns at RLT Is the Best Musical That I’ve Seen in Years

When I went to see Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of Crowns by Regina Taylor, I didn’t know quite what to expect; but what I found was that it was the best musical I’d seen in years. When I think about musical theater, I usually think about sadness. I think about ballads about death, about fighting… Read More ›

Raleigh Little Theatre will present Regina Taylor's gospel musical Crowns on Aug. 31-Sept. 3 and Sept 7-10 in RLT's Cantey V. Sutton Theatre (photo by Areon Mobasher Photography)

We Tip Our Hats to Everyone Involved with Crowns at Raleigh Little Theatre

There’s generally a whole lot of spirit to be found on the stages of Raleigh Little Theatre. At the moment, however, there’s a literal revelation, as director Terra Hodge takes us to church by way of Regina Taylor’s 2002 gospel musical Crowns. The story centers on a young African-American girl, Yolanda, who has lost her… Read More ›

Edward O'Blenis (right) stars as Richmond in Count (photo by HuthPhoto)

Count’s Six Highly Skilled Actors Create a Chillingly Real Death-Row Pod at PRC

A couple of interesting statistics before we get started: there are about 2,843 people on death rows in the United States, including 154 of them in North Carolina and 63 of them in Federal prisons. In 2016, according to a May 2017 article published by The Sentencing Project of Washington, DC, there were 162,000 people… Read More ›

PlayMakers Rep mainstay Jeffrey Blair Cornell (left) stars as Maine in Count (photo by HuthPhoto)

Lynden Harris’ Count Is an Engaging New Play, Set on a Maximum-Security Prison’s Death Row

Last night, PlayMakers Repertory Company opened its 2017-18 season with Count: Stories from America’s Death Rows, an engaging new play written by Lynden Harris and directed by Kathryn Hunter-Williams. This world premiere is a PRC2 second-stage production in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre on University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Count, which is… Read More ›

The cast of the little independent theatre's world premiere of Conversations with Hitler includes (from left) Livian Kennedy, Liza Guzman, Noelle Barnard Azarelo, Roberto Diaz, Justin Peoples, and Jim Azarelo

LIT’s Conversations with Hitler Is an Epic and Absurdist But Confusing Look at Prison Life

The little independent theatre’s world-premiere production of Conversations with Hitler by Steven R. Bond is a work more than eight months in the making. Bond based this play on a real playwriting support group that he attended, and collaborated with director Julya M. Mirro on this epic and absurdist look into life in prison. Mirro… Read More ›

Conversations with Hitler Has Its Good Points, But Its Drawbacks Create Confusion

Note: We discovered, after the fact, that the Facebook page for this event includes the suggestion: “for an immersive experience, plan to arrive 30 minutes early, meeting around back in the garage.” Unaware, we arrived a scant 15 minutes early, in the middle of this preshow experience and kind of had to play catch-up. Conversations… Read More ›

Nick Petrelli and Skyla Woodard star as Dickon and Mary (photo by Alexa Rose Blazevich)

Theatre Raleigh’s The Secret Garden Is a Truly Magical Experience!

The Secret Garden is a story of love and loss, of redemption and healing. More to the point: it’s a story of magical healing. And Theatre Raleigh’s current production of this musical captures every ounce of that magic, creating a moving, uplifting experience that is not to be missed. With music by Lucy Simon and… Read More ›

The Aug. 4th Eyes Up Here Comedy Showcase Was an Evening Full of Laughs at Neptune’s

According the website Know Your Meme, “My Eyes Are Up Here” is an expression typically used by women to remind men that they should maintain eye contact with the female speaker, instead of staring at her breasts. As a longtime fan of stand-up comedy, we must say that we are always tickled to see very… Read More ›

Sweet Tea and Baby Dreams Is Emotional and Hilarious, with Razor-Sharp Comedic Zingers

Every once in a while, I find myself missing “chick flicks,” whether they’re “romcoms” or ensemble pieces of the feel-good variety. I miss movies and media with a distinct three-act structure. I miss seeing stories that are genuinely funny with a sad center and a good resolution. Movies such as Music and Lyrics, Julie and… Read More ›

In Maribeth McCarthy’s Sweet Tea and Baby Dreams Blood Is Thicker Than Sweet Tea

What side of the Mason-Dixon line you’re from not only determines the sweetness of your tea, it may also determine how you define the word “Family.” Sweet Tea & Baby Dreams, written and directed by the highly energetic Maribeth McCarthy and completing its two-week run on Aug. 10-13 weekend in the Studio Theatre in Jones… Read More ›

Little Shop of Horrors starred Lexi Yauch, Nicholas Kraft, and Tyler Ellis as Audrey, Seymour, and Mushnik

Clayton Youth Theater Reprises Little Shop of Horrors with Gusto at The Clayton Center

The Clayton Youth Theater celebrated its 10-year anniversary by going back to its roots. The Saturday, Aug. 5th, closing performance of the musical Little Shop of Horrors was sold out. Director and founder Nikki Dyke created the Clayton Youth Theater in 2007 as a way to provide a positive mentoring environment for the youth of… Read More ›

Motown Is an Entertaining and Important Musical

Anyone who loves music and a good time is sure to love Motown: the Musical, onstage now at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). This fast-paced show goes through many classic songs that were made possible by the famed Motown record label. Songs by some of the biggest names from the 60s to the 80s… Read More ›

National Theatre Live’s Angels in America Broadcast Was Flawed, But Valuable

In 1991, San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre Company premiered a new work by American playwright Tony Kushner. Entitled Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches, the play examined the interconnecting lives of several New Yorkers during the mid-1980s, as the homophobic Reagan administration dragged its feet in addressing the AIDS… Read More ›

On July 26th in Raleigh, Duomuži’s Two-Man Antony & Cleopatra Redefined What an Ensemble Cast Can Do

3,573 lines of Shakespeare. 42 scenes across two continents. 57 characters. William Shakespeare’s fifth-longest play, Antony & Cleopatra, picks up about a decade after the events of Julius Caesar. It blends the politics and passions leading up to the Final War of the Roman Republic when a triumvirate of men share rule over the Empire:… Read More ›

Ben Michael and Catherine Charlebois star as The Beast and Belle (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Offers Magical Fun for Viewers of All Ages

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has been a fan favorite, for both children and children at heart, since it was released as a film in 1991. It has been so longstanding and popular, in fact, that a live action version was released just this year, which makes North Carolina Theatre’s production of the theatrical version… Read More ›

Ben Michael plays The Beast in Beauty and the Beast (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

NCT’s Production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Is Lively and Enchanting

North Carolina Theatre enjoyed a sold-out opening-night performance on Tuesday, July 25th, of their current production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The show, which is being performed from July 25th to July 30th in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, has some beautiful tender moments, highly energetic group… Read More ›

Quality Acting Rescues Ward Theatre Company’s Honour from Its Trite Script

We are entirely welcoming of new theater companies in the Triangle area, and always hope for their success. This has been the case for the several years that we have been reviewing. We applaud Ward Theatre Company of Durham, NC, for their effort, energy, and ambition. On Sunday afternoon, we made our debut audience experience… Read More ›