It doesn’t matter how beautifully these performers sing with strength and skill, no matter how tight the bands, no matter how much energy flows , if a musical is primarily a song cycle reliant on storytelling, you have to be able to understand the lyrics. Measure For Measure Theatre’s production of 35mm has all the above strengths, but tragically the audience Sunday could not understand two-thirds of the words.
She Kills Monsters is a dramatic comedy given an inventive and enthusiastic production by Area Stage Company — a show proudly described as “theater for nerds,” or more accurately, for young adults raised on video games who have infused their fantasy life into every cranny not reluctantly committed to jobs, family and responsibilities in general.
Thinking Cap Theatre’s Crooked superbly captures the fear, confusion and pain of being an adolescent – and the same fear, confusion and pain struggling to raise one. With vibrant performances expertly directed, its an absorbing, moving and shattering journey that touches on religion, sexual awakening, and especially the prickly but prevailing mother-daughter relationship.
Now & Then, a world premiere musical in Wilton Manors, is a quiet gentle love story told with an inventive twist. But it’s a tale tracing the episodes of an arc so familiar that it might flirt with being boring — except for three redeeming aspects: a lovely score, a time bending book and making the lovers in this very traditional romance a gay couple.
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter — the first offering of Theatre Lab’s family-friendly series — satisfies the parameters of youth theatre but with a pedigree that transcends its genre, a production bristles with imagination, wit and pathos that resonate across all generations.
Broward Stage Door’s La Cage aux Folles stresses the universal virtues of love and loyalty, delivered with only a wry smile to acknowledge that its protagonists are an aging gay couple including one drag queen. While undeniably entertaining and featuring some rich voices, this edition is noticeably missing some of the pizzazz that the material requires to make it a memorable evening.
An Hour Without TV — in which an abused wife convinces her husband to give her one hour without ESPN so she can tell him she leaving – is easily the most mistitled drama in many years. It crams together every clichéd line and stock situation from shallow television soap operas about deteriorating marriages.
White Guy on the Bus at GableStage is a merciless dissection of race relations in the 21st Century, but stunning plot twists prevent us from explaining much further than a wealthy white businessman strikes up an acquaintanceship with an African-American nursing student on a bus. But superb performances and a fierce script make this a don’t miss.
Area Stage Company’s Cabaret underscores how this warhorse musical still serves, not as a cautionary tale, but as a flat out warning to our current socio-political climate: The production’s fresh vision forces even veteran audiences to appreciate the aforementioned themes with renewed discomfiture.
It’s almost paternalistic to praise New City Players as one of the gutsiest theaters in the region. But with its carefully-wrought and moving production of Constellations, the Players have outgrown the well-meant but limited expectations that arts patrons have of a so-called “fledgling theater.”