Just Opened: The Maid's Tragedy

A review of Northwest Classical's production of Beaumont and Fletcher's 1619 revenge play.

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Arts & Books
Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher’s rarely staged 1619 revenge play The Maid’s Tragedy, like Jacobean tragedy more generally, anticipates film noir in both its fixation on female sexuality and its resolutely bleak atmosphere. Hapless hero Amintor (Steve Vanderzee) faces a situation as simple and ferocious as a bear trap: He discovers on his wedding night that his new marriage is a sham, cooked ...   More
 
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 JOHN BEER

Just Opened: The Mystery of Irma Vep

A review of Third Rail's production of Charles Ludlam's cross-dressing romp.

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Arts & Books
Third Rail’s The Mystery of Irma Vep leaves little doubt about one thing: Co-stars Isaac Lamb and Leif Norby have got chops. Charles Ludlam’s 1984 cross-dressing romp—two actors, seven characters, countless costume changes—requires its performers to juggle wildly divergent accents and attitudes across a nonsensical storyline that draws from Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, ...   More
 
Monday, December 8, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON

Just Opened: A Miracle on 43rd Street

A review of Bag & Baggage's holiday spoof.

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Arts & Books
In the green- and red-tinted pantheon of Christmas classics, Miracle on 34th Street is perhaps one of the more poignant and touching tales. Which, of course, makes it perfect fodder for a spoof, and Scott Palmer, artistic director of Hillsboro's Bag & Baggage Productions, is not one to let the opportunity for parody pass him by. Hence A Miracle on 43rd Street: A Holiday Radio Massacre, the second ...   More
 
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 DEBORAH KENNEDY

Just Opened: 'Night, Mother

A review of CoHo Productions' season opener.

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Arts & Books
Do not enter Coho Theater for ‘Night, Mother expecting to be anything but emotionally wrecked. Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-winning drama centers on the aging Thelma, content with watching TV for the rest of her days, and Jessie, the 30-something divorced daughter who cares meticulously for her, right down to filling her candy jar each night. The play opens with a sudden and shocking profession ...   More
 
Monday, October 20, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: The Homecoming

A review of Imago Theatre's production of Harold Pinter's landmark 1964 play.

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Arts & Books
Harold Pinter never revealed what his plays were about. Indeed, the British dramatist would probably have chafed at the mere suggestion that his plays were “about” anything. For Pinter, the stage was a place for ambiguity—and for combat. His characters use words less to transmit meaning than to launch ammunition, which often renders them less-than-pleasant company. That’s the case in ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON

Just Opened: In the Forest, She Grew Fangs

A review of Defunkt Theatre's season opener.

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Arts & Books
High school is a jungle—and in Defunkt Theatre's In the Forest, She Grew Fangs, sometimes literally so. Stephen Spotswood’s play follows two teenage girls, Lucy Maggard (Marisol Ceballos) and Jenny McConnick (Tabitha Trosen), both haunted by social media at a high school in an unnamed small town. For Jenny, a California transplant whose brain is overlooked for her body, it's a topless picture ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

Just Opened: Exiles

A review of Artist Rep's production of Carlos Lacámara's play.

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Arts & Books
In 1980, Fidel Castro played something of a mean joke on the United States. He opened one of his country’s harbors for Cubans who wanted to emigrate—and then loaded up those Florida-bound boats with mental-health patients and criminals. In Exiles, Cuban-born playwright Carlos Lacámara dramatizes the Mariel boatlift by homing in on one ship, stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a storm ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON

Just Opened: Dreamgirls

A review of Portland Center Stage's season-opening musical.

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Arts & Books
Mirroring the meteoric rise and personal turmoil of the Supremes, the Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls is steeped in Motown rhythms, racial struggles and lots of sequins. Young Chicago trio the Dreamettes finds early success singing backup for Jimmy “Thunder” Early (played with fiery aplomb by David Jennings, he’s the show’s most interesting character). The power-hungry meddling ...   More
 
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 PENELOPE BASS

Just Opened: Work Schmerk

A review of Jay Flewelling's one-man show.

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Arts & Books
Until the socialist revolution comes or robots render human workers obsolete, crummy jobs are up there with death and taxes as one of life’s inevitabilities. In Work Schmerk, standup comic and improviser Jay Flewelling turns the drudgery of the 9-to-5 grind into a comedic, one-man performance. Directed and co-written by Caitlin Kunkel, this series of vignettes follows Flewelling through jobs ...   More
 
Monday, September 29, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

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