Thursday, April 12, 2012

Heavy on the abduction and imperialism: this week's performing arts reviews

Posted By on 04.12.12 at 12:40 PM

Greg Matthew Anderson is best-in-show playing a dog in Chesapeake
  • Johnny Knight
  • Greg Matthew Anderson is best-in-show playing a dog in Chesapeake
There are some strange connections among the four shows Reader critics are recommending this week. For instance: abduction figures absurdly in Remy Bumppo's delightful Chesapeake and then shows up as a dead-serious issue in Colectivo el Pozo's Los Carralejas, which looks at the causes of Mexico's kidnapping epidemic. Meanwhile, the theme of East-West cultural clashes dominates in both Re-spiced from Silk Road Rising and Pushed to the Edge, an evening-length collaboration between the Natya and Mordine & Company dance theaters.

Speaking of clashes, a long and very bloody one between Germany and its colonial subjects is the focus of—wait for it—We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, which I found disappointing despite its dynamism. Genesis Theatrical Productions' Tunnel Rat concerns an American soldier caught in the clash between the United States and Vietnam.

There doesn't seem to be any particular thread uniting the other shows on this week's list, except that our critics had reservations about recommending them. Dan Jakes thinks the gags in Johnny Theatre are generic. Keith Griffith says that John Patrick Shanley's Doubt is flawed, and AstonRep's production of it merely competent. And while Zac Thompson appreciates the comedy Strangeloop Theatre brings to its new adaptation of As You Like It, he misses other tonalities that have been lost, like melancholy.

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