Recent Reviews

Review: Rigoletto by Austin Opera

Review: Rigoletto by Austin Opera

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on November 15, 2019

Music is the food of love, and it's the very meat and potatoes of this production. The work of the symphony, the chorus and the principals is so emotive one could close one's eyes and still be haunted by this production.

 

Austin Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto has a brief three performance run ,which is unfortunate considering how stellar this show is. Presented as a three-act opera  (the original had four) is based on Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself), and despite the deceptively light-hearted title the story is a brutal one indeed. The work originally debuted in Venice in 1851 and despite some initial issues with government ...

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Review: The Vineyard by Heartland Theatre Collective

Review: The Vineyard by Heartland Theatre Collective

by David Glen Robinson
Published on November 05, 2019

Khali McDuff-Sykes is Susanna, an unexpected angel who journeys to the homeless of Austin, and with some divine sixth sense finds those in need of her vineyard. As with many plays of high concept, the problems are long, but the solutions are short.

 

 

The Vineyard, a new play by Nicole Oglesby statged at the Trinity Street Theatre downtown, throws us in with under-thirty-somethings working and communing with angels at their own Hill Country vineyard and winery. They largely hail from the homeless streets of Austin. This gives the play immediacy and familiarity but without losing a potential wider audience. Its freshness is very well appreciated. And as we see every day, everyone on the streets has ...

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Review: It Is Magic by Capital T Theatre

Review: It Is Magic by Capital T Theatre

by David Glen Robinson
Published on October 27, 2019

There is something here for everyone who appreciates art in any mode, who feels transported by a painting, song, opera, or movie, and who then simply calls it magic.

Mickle Maher is becoming a synonym for prolific. It Is Magic is his latest play, receiving its regional premiere now from Capital T Theatre at Hyde Park Theatre. Mark Pickell directs. The play is self-reflexive in the extreme, about theatre people obsessed with theatre, auditioning for theatre in a theatre basement while theatre happens upstairs on the theatre mainstage. The play is about theatre.  

 

But no, non-play-going people need not switch channels now ...

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Review: Macbeth by The Baron's Men

Review: Macbeth by The Baron's Men

by Michael Meigs
Published on October 20, 2019

Forget the footnotes and study guides. MACBETH by the Baron's Men is honest, vigorous Shakespeare, and they'll keep you attentive and rooting for the good guys right to the end.

 

Yesterday a fellow translator, who works from German to English, confided to me, "I really didn't like Shakespeare in school. I finally took a course, with one of the university's leading professors, the last semester before he retired. I'm glad I did. But I still don't like Shakespeare. He's too hard to read."

 

How to respond to that comment? He wasn't seeking to be provocative; he was ...

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Review: Jesus Christ Superstar by touring company

Review: Jesus Christ Superstar by touring company

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on October 11, 2019

The 50th anniversary tour isn't the story of a man and his betrayer, it's the tale of a superstar. Jesus is who people make him. The obliquely abstract design did nothing to harm the electric energy of the production.

 

 

Before Jesus Christ Superstar was an international musical phenomeon, it was a rock opera concept album written by Emmy-, Gramm-y, Oscar- and Tony- award winners Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice Though it went on to sell over 7 million copies it was originally banned by the BBC as sacrilegious. Both the album and subsequent musical were condemned by various religious groups.

 

It didn’t help that lyricist Rice included text that suggested ...

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Review: Shadowlands by Lighthouse Theatre

Review: Shadowlands by Lighthouse Theatre

by Michael Meigs
Published on October 09, 2019

In this moving story director Chase Wooldridge balances English reserve against American emotiveness, and his cast solidly grips the emotions of the audience. It's an artful telling of a story that resounds still today in our all too secular world.

 

Of the deep delights of editing this website and reviewing live narrative theatre, the chief are the unexpected, the new, and sheer serendipity. This week I found myself panning one dazzling production and praising another by a playwright essentially unknown in the United States. Those checked the first two boxes. Shadowlands by William Nicholson, done by the relatively young Lighthouse Theatre in Georgetown, put a great big checkmark and exclamation point in the box ...

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