Theater Review

The Doctor Is In!

Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute: Doctor Who
The Slipper Room, NYC
Upcoming Events: October 8th, November 12th, December 10th, 2015

Despite Doctor Who's history of using its Time Lord protagonist's companions to double as viewer eye candy, it still seems difficult to think that anyone would have guessed that over fifty years after its 1963 debut, an entire burlesque production would pay tribute to a children’s sci-fi show. However, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque's Tribute: Doctor Who, presented by Cherry Pitz and Joe the Shark (dressed for the night as Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor) does seem perfectly of a piece with the era of internet fan-fiction and character "shipping," and the new BBC series (beginning from its 2005 revival) has, to greater and lesser degrees, acknowledged and even encouraged the interest of its fandom in its characters’ sexualities.

The French Lesson

Pondling
Written by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman
Directed by Paul Meade Gúna Nua and Ramblinman
59E59 Theaters, NYC
September 8-October 4, 2015

Of all the chores on her grandfather's farm, Madeleine particularly loves crushing cans. She especially enjoys those cans that put up a bit of resistance right at the end, admiring how they fight the inevitable. Her satisfaction in dispatching cans contrasts with those times when she must hold the flashlight while her brother and grandfather feed the cows: at these times, she knows that her task is essentially a ploy to keep her from feeling useless, an insight that speaks to her relative isolation in Genevieve Hulme-Beaman's Pondling, part of New York City's annual 1st Irish Festival.

It's Not Just The Little Things

Little Thing, Big Thing
Written by Donal O’Kelly
Directed by Jim Culleton
Fishamble: The New Play Company
59E59 Theaters, NYC
September 2-27, 2015

A thief and a nun duck into a closet under the stairs: this is not the setup for a joke but for Little Thing, Big Thing, the newest work from award-winning playwright and performer Donal O’Kelly, having made its way to the United States as part of New York City’s annual 1st Irish Festival. Ex-con Larry O’Donnell ends up in that closet with Sister Martha McCann, who is returning from Nigeria to oversee the sale of the thematically evocative Lazarus Convent, when their paths cross by chance in the midst of his pulling off one last job. Larry’s final heist, a valuable statue of the Virgin, is interrupted because Martha has a second task in Ireland: to fulfil a death-bed request to hand-deliver a mysterious roll of film, one of the titular little things, to the Nigerian Henry Barr; but Barr is far from the only person who wants to get his hands what it contains. As in so many mismatched-buddy narratives, they head off on a cross-country road trip, but the unexpected and compelling discoveries that they make about themselves and their mission along the way resurrect a sense of moral purpose for both characters.

Beware the Chupacabra!

Beware the Chupacabra!
Directed by R. Patrick Alberty (book and lyrics) and Christian De Gré (music and orchestrations)
Mind the Art Entertainment
Lynn Redgrave Theater, NYC
August 26-30, 2015

Teddy Baskins (Vinnie Urdea) is a creative guy. Teddy designs and sews sought-after dresses. Teddy also invents sci-fi-worthy gadgets. An earnest, good-hearted, unassuming type, he works long hours in Jasper Sloan’s (Nicholas Connolly) dress shop and dreams of finding a woman who shares his enthusiasm for gadgets. A chance encounter with heiress Victoria “V” Warner (Caitlin Wees) on New Year’s Eve 1920 pulls Teddy out of his routine and his shop, ultimately steering his path to Mexico and a hunt for the eponymous creature of Beware the Chupacabra!

Bigfoot Is In The House

I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot
Written by Cyndi Freeman Directed by Sara Peters
Nefarious Laboratory UNDER St. Mark's, NY, July 27, 2015 
Backstage Theatre, Edmonton Fringe, August 14-23, 2015

To make a pom-pom poof toy, you take a vast quantity of yarn, wrap it around and around your hand without cutting off blood flow to your fingertips -- a very real danger -- and then knot the bundle around the middle, cut the looped edges, and shake until poofed up.

Hamilton!

Hamilton
Richard Rogers Theatre, NYC

Few shows have arrived on Broadway with the hype that accompanies Hamilton, the new musical inspired by author Ron Chernow's biography of one of America’s instrumental founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, who immigrated from the West Indies as a teenager; the contribution of immigrants to the young country is a key theme in the musical, and one which obviously is still making headlines today. The musical begins in the 1770s, after Hamilton’s arrival in America, and the first act mostly revolves around Hamilton's role as a top aide to Washington in the Revolutionary War, while Act Two covers the early days of the American Republic, including the Washington administration, in which Hamilton was the first Treasure Secretary, and Hamilton’s death in 1804 as the result of his infamous duel with Aaron Burr.

Ready Player One!

Let's Play Play
Written by Ben Ferber
Directed by Todd Brian Backus
PowerOut, The Brick Theater, Brooklyn, NY
July 7-18, 2015

According to at least one survey, YouTube stars have greater name recognition than Hollywood A-listers with the under-18 set, who see them as more genuine and relatable: a more literal version of "Stars -- They’re Just Like Us!" Part of the seventh annual Game Play Festival at the Brick, which runs through July 25, Ben Ferber’s Let’s Play Play dives incisively into the corner of this web-based world that focuses on video gaming. It derives its title from a category of what are most commonly online videos in which players layer their own commentary over their video game play. The most well-known current example is 25-year-old Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, who is name-checked in the play's program and guest starred on the two-part 2014 season finale of South Park; otherwise known as PewDiePie, his YouTube channel boasts tens of millions of subscribers and billions of views.

A Theatrical Spectacle In Music

Thus Spoke the Spectacle
by Eric Goodman
Kraine Theater, NYC
March 29-August 30, 2015

Thus Spoke the Spectacle identifies itself as a "theatrical rock performance" and draws on writers such as Noam Chomsky, Marshall McLuhan, and, as the title suggests, Guy Debord and Friedrich Nietzsche. This multimedia performance brings those influences together with video and still imagery that is accompanied by creator Eric Goodman on guitar and vocals and Leo Friere on drums. Divided into ten songs, Goodman’s hourlong piece sets out to critique what Debord, in the title of one of his best-known works, calls the society of the spectacle, the elevation of the superficial that is presented by mass media and passively consumed by the audience.

Help, I'm Stuck In Jurassic Park!

Hold on to Your Butts
Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker
Recent Cutbacks at the PIT (People’s Improv Theater), NYC
June 15 - July 27, 2015

Over the just the past three weekends, Jurassic World, fueled by CGI and nostalgia, has rocketed somewhat unexpectedly to over half a billion dollars in domestic box office (only the fifth film ever to do so) and double that worldwide. The timing seems auspicious, then, for the current run of Hold on to Your Butts, Recent Cutbacks’ comedic homage to the ur-text in the Jurassic series. Over the course of an hour, Nick Abeel and Kyle Schaefer frenetically re-enact Jurassic Park on a bare stage, impersonating the entire cast -- human and non-human alike -- and accompanied by a live soundtrack and foley effects from Kelsey Didion, stationed stage right.