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

Just Opened: La Cage Aux Folles

A review of Pixie Dust Productions' season opener.

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Arts & Books
We all know that still waters run deep, but what of those that strut, in thick layers of makeup and outfits made of feathers and sequins? According to 1983 Tony-winning musical La Cage Aux Folles, in which a campy exterior conceals underlying crisis, these have their share of sub-surface struggles as well.La Cage Aux Folles, by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman and staged by Pixie Dust Productions, ...   More
 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

Just Opened: Tick, Tick... Boom!

A review of Jonathan Larson's musical at Triangle Productions.

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Arts & Books
Jonathan Larson is feeling anxious. He’s about to turn 30 and is still waiting tables in New York while struggling to get his long-slaved-over rock musical produced. Of course, he did ultimately succeed in getting a rock show on Broadway, but not before his untimely death at age 35. You’ve probably heard of it. That show was Rent. But before his work became widely known, Larson wrote Tick, Tick… ...   More
 
Monday, September 8, 2014 PENELOPE BASS

Just Opened: The Sweatermakers

A review of a new play by Portlander Andrew Wardenaar.

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Arts & Books
On dark, cold days, a cozy sweater can make all the difference. That’s the general conceit behind Portlander Andrew Wardenaar’s new play, The Sweatermakers, which in some ways feels like an exploration of another world entirely. The protagonists, siblings Brin (Jen Rowe) and Henry (JR Wickman), knit sweaters for a mysterious organization that delivers the garments to those who’ve experienced ...   More
 
Monday, August 11, 2014 TREE PALMEDO

Just Opened: The Tempest

A review of Portland Shakespeare Project's production of Shakespeare's stormy play.

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Arts & Books
The Tempest, generally believed to be Shakespeare’s final play, is both a bumbling island adventure and a philosophical meditation on humanity. This Portland Shakespeare Project production will disappoint purists or those craving weighty intellectualism, but it will satisfy just about everyone else, thanks to Michael Mendelson’s lighthearted—if not particularly lighthanded—direction. Most notably, ...   More
 
Monday, July 14, 2014 ENID SPITZ

Just Opened: The Last Five Years

A review of Portland Center Stage's production of the contemporary musical.

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Arts & Books
The Last Five Years begins at the end of a love story—but also at the beginning. That might sound like a sappy rom-com tagline, but don’t be mistaken: This two-character musical, presented by Portland Center Stage and directed by Nancy Keystone, features separate timelines, one going forward and the other backwards, as our couple falls in and out of love (or out of and into love).Written ...   More
 
Monday, May 5, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: Othello

A review of Portland Center Stage's production of Shakespeare's tragedy of love and jealousy.

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Arts & Books
Othello can be a bit of a tough sell. Not only is it one of Shakespeare's most racially insensitive plays (and that's saying something), but even the most credulous audience member might wonder why the title character, a warrior with a reputation for bravery and a Moor known for his passion, can be so easily persuaded to think the worst of his great love.The key to our willingness to suspend disbelief ...   More
 
Monday, April 14, 2014 DEBORAH KENNEDY

Just Opened: Hamlet

A review of Post5 Theatre's production of Shakespeare's tragedy.

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Arts & Books
From the opening moments of Post5 Theatre’s abridged Hamlet, it’s evident this isn’t the version you saw in high school. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude resemble the picture-perfect parents from a ’50s sitcom, servants snap photos with smartphones, the guards carry guns, and Ty Boice as Hamlet swaggers into the room wearing sunglasses and a fancy suit, every bit as bitter and melancholy ...   More
 
Monday, March 31, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: A Pigeon and a Boy

A review of Jewish Theatre Collaborative's adaptation of Meir Shalev's novel.

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Arts & Books
Nobody really likes pigeons—they poo on your car windows and peck annoyingly for crumbs at the park. But the homing pigeons in Jewish Theatre Collaborative's adaption of Israeli author Meir Shalev’s novel A Pigeon and a Boy are sentimental reminders of the past, of loved ones and, most importantly, of home. The characters speak about themselves in the third person, and the play’s structure is ...   More
 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 KATHRYN PEIFER

Just Opened: Ardiente Paciencia

A review of Miracle Theatre's production of Antonio Skármeta’s Spanish-language play.

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Arts & Books
Miracle Theatre’s production of Antonio Skármeta’s Ardiente Paciencia—Spanish for “burning patience”—is a dizzying and viscerally funny exercise in metaphors and layers. For the young Mario and Beatriz, patience is what they lack: Their burning desire leads to a child, but they’re not solely to blame. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, played by the regal Enrique E. Andrade, is Mario’s poetic ...   More
 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 MITCH LILLIE

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