THE ANGRY BRIGADE by James Graham at Third Rail

THE ANGRY BRIGADE by James Graham at Third Rail Rep

Thru April 15, 2017

In what is undoubtedly the most exciting old theatre space remaining in Portland (Imago), a blast of comedy and 70’s confusion from Third Rail.  The first half may be a bit too funny for where we’re headed, but the switch after intermission drives home evergreen youthful rage against the machine.

MATILDA by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin at Shubert Theater

MATILDA by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin (via Ronald Dahl)

Shubert Theater on Broadway

Thru January 1, 2017

4-stars

#JoyAlert. Even while many ingredients are well known and commonly used, the combination here connects deeply.  That’s what arch types do.  Willow McCarthy mesmerizing as our little reader and revolutionary.  Bryce Ryness crucial as the iron-breasted Miss Trunchbull.  Though it must be said he simply channels the great David Thewlis.

THE PRIDE by Alexi Kaye Campbell at Theatre22

THE PRIDE by Alexi Kaye Campbell at Theatre 22

Thru Nov 19, 2016

2-stars

Rendering plausible British accents – so often a challenge for American actors – here turns into a minefield of problems with a near constant barrage of detonations. Potential melodrama of story not helped by excessive directorial pauses, teeth gnashing, tearful breast beating. Setting between two eras is not clear enough. Not authentic.

 

BLOOD ON THE BOOKS by Nick Zagone at Shaking the Tree

There are compelling dramatic threads and several strong performances here. But the central scaffolding does not always hold up. Perhaps too much direct address to audience, and not enough interaction between the characters. One thing that’s prescient though: One day Powell’s will go under. You heard it here first. Poof.

NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace at Signature Theatre

NIGHT IS A ROOM by Naomi Wallace at Signature Theatre

Directed by Bill Rauch

4-stars

Stunning piece of modern art. Like a glittering shard of glass. But as soon as you stop to pick up this jagged jewel you’re going to get cut. One of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time. With a dark, unmentioned Irish back story careful viewers will see.

Thru Dec. 20

ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira at the Public Theater

ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira at the Public Theater

Immaculately crafted and accurately rendered. But what is missing is theatre magic – something to take the story into another level of resonance, impact, meaning. The gaze of the offstage men is chilling. After we get the setup, there’s little significant development or change. Inevitably a comparison to RUINED comes up.

Thru Nov. 29

Then headed to Broadway.