Tag Archives: Jim Ballard
Mamma Mia! is another one of those Great Continental Divides in theater: you either love it – or you hate yourself for standing up and clapping along in the final mega-mix medley of infectious earwigs. As proven by Actors’ Playhouse’s full-out production, the damn thing can be a lot of good ol’ fun if you let yourself enjoy it.
The House of Blue Leaves gets as funny and touching a production from Palm Beach Dramaworks as anyone can ask for. Its virtues include superb direction, a flawless creative team and a wall-to-wall cast of actor-clowns willing to bury themselves inside the off-kilter and flawed characters.
If you hire strong voices as they did in MNM Theatre Company’s production, the venerable musical Grease cannot help but be entertaining with its elbow-nudging pastiche of faux late ‘50s-early ‘60s rock n’ roll. The challenge in which MNM doesn’t prevail is finding the difficult to locate tone for the script scenes because Grease is not simply a straight ahead comedy as it’s played here.
Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of On Golden Pond is a pleasing charmer suffused with warmth and aided immeasurably by a skilled cast and director. It’s well worth an evening’s divertissement. But do not go expecting to the kind of vibrance you remember from the 1981 film because few actors are Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
Audiences sitting down this weekend to see Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of the venerable play On Golden Pond will get a visual shock. It’s intentional, but not quite as originally planned.
When entering a theater playing a musical you’ve enjoyed numerous times, it’s comforting to open the playbill to find the names of proven talents that reassure that you and the material are in good hands. Names, for instance, like Mike Westrich, Bruce Linser, Mallory Newbrough, Paul Reekie and Jim Ballard – some of the dependable hands delivering a solid entertaining edition of the delightful Little Shop of Horrors from MNM Productions.
Homicidal rage against a corrupt world spews into the audience in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ Sweeney Todd. But its singular spin is that the serial throat-slitting barber does not start as a vengeance-obsessed fiend. It it adds a dimension of, not forgiveness, but compassion to this cross between gleeful Grand Guignol and merciless condemnation of socio-economic inequity.
Palm Beach Dramaworks’ team finds the special vibe of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy set in an unforgiving climate of the heart in The Cripple of Inishmaan.
It almost should go without saying that the rock ’n’ roll blisters the paint off the walls of Actors’ Playhouse’s balcony theater in its thoroughly satisfying edition of Million Dollar Quartet.
When a company like GableStage takes risks so many others will not, there’s bound to be some triumphs, some failures, and mixed results as in A Minister’s Wife. The local artists give everything they have to pull off this intriguing chamber musical. It’s more the strange choice of a fascinating but flawed property that isn’t easy to love.