Theatre Review: ‘Our War’ at Arena Stage

The cast of Our War. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Arena Stage’s exquisitely intimate Kogod Cradle is home to a new mutli-voiced, multi-authored production, Our War, about the contemporary reverberations of America’s own civil war 150+ years ago. Indeed, as civil war and civil strife increasingly strain the boundaries of national unions worldwide, this look back at the United States’ own experience of bloody divide […]

Theatre Review: ‘Venus and Adonis’ by Isango Ensemble at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Mhlekazi (Wha Wha) is Adonis with one of the seven actresses that play Venus. Photo by Keith Pattison.

In the other half of its repertory tour at Shakespeare Theatre South Africa’s Isango Ensemble transformed the Bard’s poetic telling of the Venus and Adonis myth into a glorious, multi-dimensional and paradoxical journey of fate and desire and death. Infusing the more straightforward and martial Roman mythology over the more mystical, paradoxical Greek antecedent, this […]

Theatre Review: ‘The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo’ by Isango Ensemble at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Mhlekazi Andy Mosiea. Photo by Keith Pattison.

Shakespeare Theatre launched its 2014-15 Presentation Series with the ebullient work of South Africa’s Isango Ensemble, which is presenting adaptations of Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo, as well as Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis.  Both are extraordinary and wonderful and bring Washington’s decidedly non-South African audiences to its feet in sustained applause.  Founded […]

Theatre Review: ‘Pol Pot & Associates, LLP’ by Longacre Lea at CUA

Chris Davenport and Kira Burri.  Photo by Kathleen Akerley.

Ackerley not Ackerby Hermetic, as in obscure and difficult for outsiders to understand.  That’s the word for Kathleen Ackerley’s  new play, Pol Pot & Associates, LLP, Longacre Lea’s 2014 production now playing at Callan Theatre at Catholic University of America in Northeast DC. The audience, alas, at least those who are not privy to the inner workings […]

Theatre Review: ‘Stupid F***ing Bird’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Nina (Katie deBuys), Doyle (Cody Nickell), Emma (Kate Eastwood Norris), and Sorn (Rick Foucheux). Photo by Stan Barouh.

Aaron Posner’s Stupid F***ing Bird soared to a triumphant return to Woolly Mammoth this week–a complete remount with its sensational original cast re-assembled and rearing to go.  And indeed, the pitch-perfect tightness of the ensemble, crackling with comic precision, rocked the house.  Get your tickets now for this revival, folks; it is sure to sell out […]

Fringe Review: ‘Interrogation’ at Mountain at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church

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Theatrical theorists weary of plays with their 4th walls intact and the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief tucked safely into their breast pockets can have some fun with John Feffer’s Interrogation, the 6th Fringe offering from this smart and inventive fellow. Feffer is a foreign policy director at the inimitable Institute for Policy Studies and […]

Source Festival Review: ‘2014 Full Length Plays’

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The noted writer and teacher Richard Bausch posits that a writer can do anything except bore or confuse the reader.  Presumably, the same tenet applies to the playwright, with the proviso in both cases that readers and audiences vary, and what may bore or confuse one sort may engage and enthrall another, so long as […]

Theatre Review: ‘The Piano Lesson’ at Olney Theatre Center

Jessica Frances Dukes as Berniece and JaBen Early as Avery in Olney Theatre Center's production of THE PIANO LESSON. Photo by Stan Barouh.

The late August Wilson is one of America’s great playwrights, and his extraordinary canon of plays is making its debut at Olney Theatre Center in Olney, Maryland.  Theatregoers should not miss this auspicious event. With resonant grace and fury, Wilson’s “Century Cycle” of ten plays chronicles the anguish and resilience of Black America over the […]

Theatre Review: Brief Encouter by the UK troupe Kneehigh at Shakespeare Theatre Company

Photo of Hannah Yelland as Laura and Jim Sturgeon as Alec in Kneehigh’s U.S. tour of 'Brief Encounter.' Photo by Jim Cox.

The Noel Coward-based play Brief Encounter, the Kneehigh import now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Landsburgh Theatre, comes to Washington as if from another era, another time and space when reality was defined by beauty, lyricism, and purity of intent.  In it, romantic love becomes but a sliver of time, stolen from the mundanity of […]

Theatre Review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by England’s Bristol Old Vic in Collaboration with South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, the Kennedy Center’s 2014 International Theatre Festival

Photo by Simon Annand.

Once in a rare while, a work of art comes along that so utterly captures the capacity of the imagination that audiences can but weep with laughter and leap to their feet in splendid delight.  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by Britain’s Bristol Old Vic, in association with South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, is […]

Theatre Review: ‘Savannah Bay’ by Theâtre de l’Atelier at the Kennedy Center’s 2014 International Theatre Festival

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Marguerite Duras’s play Savannah Bay follows a young woman desperate to discover the truth about her mother’s suicide the day after her birth. Writer Marguerite Duras, best known for her hauntingly beautiful, and scandalous The Lover, is known for her poetic memoryscapes.  Her worlds are filled with a fusion of fact and illusion, fragmented remembrances and half-heard tales. Any […]

Theatre Review: ‘Ella: The First Lady of Song!’ at MetroStage

Freda Payne as Ella Fitzgerald. Photo by Chris Banks.

If you love Ella Fitzgerald—heck, even if you were born last week and are thus only vaguely familiar with Ella Fitzgerald (in fact, especially if you’re only vaguely familiar with her)–you must see this Ella: The First Lady of Song!  The astonishing vituosa Freda Payne brings the First Lady of Song to life with an […]

Theatre Review: ‘La Vie en Rose’ by the In Series at Gala Theatre

Cast members of ‘La Vie en Rose.’ Photo by Paul Wegner.

Lovers of French song and lovers of beautiful music and beautiful dance will love La Vie en Rose.  And lovers of art forms that blend ballet with transcendent voices, lush musicianship, and elegant production values will truly love this show—as did the opening night In Series audience. …brought the audience instantly to its feet with […]

Theatre Review: ‘Twelfth Night’ at Synetic Theater

Alex Mills as Sebastian, Kathy Gordon as Olivia and Dallas Tolentino as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Photo by Koko Lanham.

Renowned for their inventive, exhilarating choreography, it is indeed thrilling to watch the kinesthetically amazing Synetic Theatre ensemble launch into full throttle dances we actually recognize.  In Synetic’s wordless production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, set in the comparably silent world of silent film, the company dazzles with dances of the 1920s—the Charleston, Foxtrot, Jitterbug. To […]