A collage of promotional images for shows discussed in this article.
Note: So as to capture different reviewers’ varying perspectives, the Arts Reader sometimes reviews the same show twice.
Haute Dish Productions parodies the musical Chicago, by changing the story from two female killers in Chicago, to an Orlando, Florida woman who is trying to fit in when her husband is transferred to Chisago, Minnesota. Kendra Braunger and Carissa Christenson, the writers and also the lead actresses, succeed in keeping up the joke with their inventive lyrics set to Chicago tunes. The show is entertaining to the very end.
Game of Toms: One-Man Game of Thrones
Tom Reed takes the audience on a wild ride through nearly eight seasons of Game of Thrones (skipping one because it was boring). Any Game of Thrones fan or critic will heartily enjoy Reed’s manic antics as he takes on many of the major characters and uses innovations such as handkerchiefs to demonstrate murder and warfare. With keyboard accompanist Paul Kovacovic repeatedly playing the Game of Thrones’ theme song and Reed’s rapid fire delivery of his material, the audience is enthralled. Reed brings the show to an especially entertaining end when he asks audience input for improvising a better ending to the iconic series.
A simple title belies the complexity of this play of shadows, light, sound, and movement. A study of sorts in dissociative storytelling, Magic Girl goes in many unexpected directions as performer-creator Emily Michaels King takes the audience through a sensual study of vision, thought, and hearing. Difficult to describe yet utterly engrossing.
The Rough Magic Performance Company provides an abridge version of the classic Shakespeare play about a government official forcing a young woman to have sex with in exchange for sparing her brother’s life. The theme is fitting with the “Me Too” era, but the standouts in this production are Sarah Agnew’s direction and the excellent acting of the all-female cast.
Somerville productions presents a series of vignettes about persons who have felt ridiculed or put upon by others or by themselves, due to their size. It also includes scenes about how attitudes about size are imposed at an early age. Directors Nicole Wilder and Rachel Flynn do a great job of weaving these different vignettes together. The talented cast includes Lauren Anderson, Linda Sue Anderson, Blaze Bordeaux, Lelis Brita, Rachel Flynn, Stephanie Johnson, Falicia Nicole, and Anthony Sister-Neuman. This show deeply resonates with anyone who has ever been subject to body shaming over their body size.
Xena and Gabrielle Smash the Patriarchy
Fans of the old Xena TV show will enjoy many moments in this reincarnation. Ariel Leaf and Nissa Nordland Morgan stay true to character in the title roles. The plot line is thin, Xena and Gabrielle end up at a modern day Comic-Con Convention where Xena eventually fights and defeat Ares, the God of War. In between, the audience is treated to expositions on how women are regulated to sex object status by men and are often subject to unfair criticism by other women. But although the show has about 25 minutes of good material, it runs fifty minutes.