Recent Reviews

Review: Screaming at the Apocalypse: Three Austin stage Works Looking at the Worst of the Near Future

Review: Screaming at the Apocalypse: Three Austin stage Works Looking at the Worst of the Near Future

by David Glen Robinson
Published on May 12, 2019

Hats off to the Austin theatre community for their warnings of apocalypse; they encourage us to stay true, so that the ember of hope may harden into a shining gem.

 

Austin’s theatre industry is a well-knit community of fairly like-minded folks. They share ideas, coffee, work, and life. It's no surprise that common themes and concerns enter their stagework regularly. In this politically charged present, however, one theme seems pre-eminent. That theme is climate change and its effects. At one point in the spring of 2019, three productions overlapped one other in at least one weekend of the standard three-weekend run of stage ...

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Review: Cats by touring company

Review: Cats by touring company

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on May 10, 2019

The disco sensibility that permeates this production is all sound, flash, and fury, providing a night of great entertainment requiring nothing from the viewers but a willingness to smile.

 

Like many, I’m sure, I recall the exuberant review of “I laughed! I cried! It was better than Cats!” that became a ubiquitous catchphrase, even becoming a Saturday Night Live skit. This phrase became a common way to express one’s admiration for a new Broadway play (and then eventually anything: "How was that coffee?" "It was better than Cats!").

 

The rub here is that for a long time Cats was the standard ...

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Review: The Children by Jarrott Productions

Review: The Children by Jarrott Productions

by Michael Meigs
Published on May 01, 2019

THE CHILDREN offers, once again, evidence of Jarrott's discerning taste in contemporary drama. By taking us away into these characters' isolation, this production brings us very much back into the human fold.

 

Darkness hovers over the plot, the set, and the concept of Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, mounted appropriately in the Trinity Street Players’ black box theatre on the fourth floor of First Austin, a Baptist church. Jarrott Productions’ choices for this space have consistently taken the moral focus of those hosting institutions. No, not the theology. Kirkwood’s script, like many other productions in this space, examines the human condition and difficult choices facing responsible individuals ...

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Review: Severe Weather Warning, A Wild Comedy by Theatre en Bloc

Review: Severe Weather Warning, A Wild Comedy by Theatre en Bloc

by Michael Meigs
Published on April 30, 2019

With the heart-to-heart exchanges, partying, group dynamics and discoveries, Elizabeth Doss's SEVERE WEATHER WARNING entertains but at the same time examines the dilemmas in this society of being a grown but not yet middle-aged woman.

 

Elizabeth Doss's Severe Weather Warning uses the trope of friends meeting for an annual reunion to plant us at a decisive date in the friendships of these four women, a decade and a half after they attended school together. It's a familiar plot device -- used, for example, by Hope, Jones and Wooten in their 2008 The Dixie Swim Club, a community theatre favorite, or in the 1978 Same Time, Next Year by ...

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Review: The Ballad of Klook and Vinette by Zach Theatre

Review: The Ballad of Klook and Vinette by Zach Theatre

by Brian Paul Scipione
Published on April 29, 2019

A continuous song interspersed with plot, this BALLAD has writing that's incredibly on point, and these characters are like two meteors colliding in the vast, dark emptiness of space.

 The Ballad of Klook and Vinette tells the tale of a modern love story of “lost souls” trying to find happiness after trying times. The story is regaled through a well-balanced mix of dialogue and original R and B tunes that run the emotional gamut from breezy, to seductive, to playful, to heart-wrenching. It begins with a solid dose of comedy as two strangers banter back and forth, slowly realizing that though they do ...

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Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Texas State University

Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Texas State University

by Michael Meigs
Published on April 29, 2019

James Lapine's rewrite of the film reaches toward the seriousness of grand opera. The craft and art of the Texas State program elevate it impressively.

 

You're unlikely to see a musical production of this scope and flourish on Broadway these days. In fact, the stage version of Disney's 1996 animated film was produced and premiered in Berlin in 1999, where it had a successful three-year run. It didn't get to America until 2014, but Broadway wasn't in the cards. The Disney folks were convinced that the popularity of the film wouldn't be great enough ...

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