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Friday, September 28, 2012

Good People and bad dads: new performing arts reviews

Posted By on 09.28.12 at 02:45 PM

The Reader recommends Woyzeck on the Highveld at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Handspring Puppet Theatre transposes George Buchner's tale of alienation and murder from 19th-century Germany to South Africa during the apartheid era, using artfully crafted puppets and resonant projected animations to create what Tony Adler calls "a mournful, gorgeous progress through the lumpen tragedy."

Meanwhile, Adler laments that the progress through Goodman Theatre's Sweet Bird of Youth can't be as satisfying. Director David Cromer seems to have been overwhelmed by Tennessee Williams's 1959 play, which leaves "no one and nothing" to rein in its "unmitigated, excessive Williamsishness." Adler finds Mary-Arrchie Theatre's Geography of a Horse Dreamer indulgent and I Love Lucy Live on Stage pointless.

David Lindsay-Abaire's new play, Good People, suggests that he may yet prove himself worthy of the Pulitzer Prize he won back in 2007, for the awful Rabbit Hole. Still, Justin Hayford says only the last half hour is truly gripping.

Zac Thompson dismisses Armageddon Pie as listless, schematic, and unfunny. According to Albert Williams, NightBlue Performing Arts Company pushes the "cute quotient" too high on Avenue Q, while Remy Bumppo Theatre adds value to Edward Albee's preachy Seascape.

Keith Griffith argues that Raven Theatre's The Big Knife could be exceptional if not for an unsatisfying lead performance. Griffith also says that Jack Fry's remarkable stage presence in They Call Me Mister Fry is undercut by flawed writing. And his final word for the week is that the Mammals' Don't Give That Beast a Name is disjointed and convoluted—but in a good way.

An authentic setting and one decent performance can't overcome the overall amateurishness of Busted City, says Dan Jakes. On the other hand, director Jonathan Berry and a spectacular cast make Dirty a vibrant show despite plot problems.

Marissa Oberlander found herself sucked into the surreal world of Red Tape Theatre's The Skriker. She's less enthralled, however, with Circle Theatre's Dearly Departed.

Jack Helbig describes Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie as "amiable, energetic, and politically toothless," but finds the low-key moments of revelation in Dream Theatre's A Very Terrible Father devastatingly beautiful.

Reader dance critic Laura Molzahn recommends "Ground Effect," a concert comprising work by three choreographers. Venturing into theater, Molzahn states that Brown Paper Box Company can't quite make hippie chestnut Godspell work.

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