Author: Natalie Allen

The Heir Apparent

I laughed, I chuckled, scoffed, snorted and rubbed my hands on my head and belly (you’d know if you went…). David Ives’ adaptation of the classic, written by Jean-Francois Regnard in 1708, is witty, full of great one-liners, references to modern pop culture, and just so silly. Please, do yourself a favor and see it before the production wraps in May. The Heir Apparent is terrific! Heir is a classic comaedia piece, written in rhyme and full of curse words and audience participation; I got the full dose of cuckolds, nasty widows, heroes, and lovers (and I loved every minute!). The wealthy miser, Geronte (Paxton...

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King Lear

Well produced Shakespeare makes me squirm with pleasure. It is all too often that the Bard is ripped to shreds with poor breathing, bad delivery and a lack of understanding on the actor’s part; which leads to an epic that is boring, antiquated and overdone. Not so with Theatre For A New Audience’s “King Lear.” Oh, I squirmed quite a lot. Micheal Pennington was an accessible and heartbreaking Lear. Pennington is kind of actor who is totally dependable, the kind you know won’t let you down, he’ll deliver speech after speech and make the words ring in the air and settle...

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Beertown

Do yourself a favor: go see Dog and Pony DC’s production of “Beertown”. The production is fun, lively, and will never be the same experience twice. How could a show that is 60% scripted, 40% improvised, and the rest audience driven ever be the same, really? The experience (because calling this a play would not do it justice) is so immersive that it will transport you immediately in the small community of the fictional Beertown where you’ll walk out 2 hours later feeling like a member.  IN the 59E59 Theatre lobby the cast will be milling about in character ready to chat and introduce the new comers to their universe. Coats are checked before entering the theatre (what a luxury!) and you’re given a name tag and T-shirt to wear highlighting the 20th Quinquennial Time Capsule Celebration. The theatre is a Town Hall, right down to the podium and American flag. The imagination put in to the details is astounding! Immersive theatre can seem trite or cheesy if not done correctly, but the cast was air tight, wandering through the audience and chatting about local topics or exclaiming their excitement over the time capsule.   The show can be over 2 hours long, as the cast improvises conversations and fills in the world before everyone is seated and the meeting “called to order.” Wyckham Avery did a fabulous job as...

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The Summoners

Hook and Eye’s production of The Summoners is a truly original piece and has some wonderful new ideas on telling a somewhat convoluted story about an America blanketed in thick apocalyptic clouds. The play follows the town of Elmyra, Indiana’s residents, who seemingly by chance, witness a break in the cloud cover and see the first sighting of sun in years. The story telling is unconventional, bouncing through scenes and interviews with the residents as if watching a Law and Order episode piece together what happened and why. I struggled to understand what was going on as the piece also bounced through time.  The Hobbs family is the main focus as each member grapples with dealing with the new found fame surrounding their witness of the sun. The Hobbs family, like the rest of Elmyra, is then asked by the government’s representative Joanne Whipplethorpe (Elizabeth London) to recreate, word for word, what they were doing when the sun came out and to do it in front of live television for America to see. Unfortunately, this is where the show got weird for me. In true 1984 fashion, the government then abuses the rights of the residents, parting them from family members and forcing them into continuous re-runs of the same scene in an unmarked government warehouse. Family dynamic spins out of control as overbearing Mom, Diane Hobbs (Carrie Heitman) gets hysteric....

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The Window

“The Window” had great characters, but left me wondering what the point of the play was. By the end, I was having difficulty piecing together the arc of the story and how the personalities of the show were affected.  This was unfortunate as the play had such a pleasant start. We meet Eva (Cristina Lippolis) staring longingly out the window of her apartment and on to the neighboring windows of her building. Lippolis is a striking beauty, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”, appropriate, since the setting of the piece is New York City, 1954. Eva is in the midst of testing...

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