Birmingham Festival Theatre Reviews Archive
Please, if you have an addition or comment, send it to me theatre@eBHM.org
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Mel Christian
January 12-28, 2012 at the Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed by Leonard Jowers
Let’s start by letting you know that this is a wonderful play for adults. Becky Shaw had its world premiere in 2008 and has been well-received, sometimes for extended runs, wherever performed. It was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Opening night at Birmingham Festival Theatre validated Becky Shaw’s reputation.
BFT is not the easiest place at which to find a parking place, but Five Points South is. We started with appetizers at a restaurant there and sallied over in the freezing weather about 7:40 to the comfortable and cozy theatre behind Golden Temple. The set’s design and artwork (kudos to Mindy Wester Egan) was interesting and pleasant. A video presentation screen was effectively used during the play; before the play began, it blended with the background as would a large wall mural. Our audience consisted mostly of “over-40’s”; and I felt 60%-70% capacity for a cold winter’s night was not too bad.
Becky Shaw is sort of a satirical dark comedy. In case you have not read, the birds-eye view is that it is about a young married couple (Suzanna and Andrew), and a blind date they arranged between the bride’s “adopted” brother (Max) and her husband’s co-worker, Becky Shaw. Add to that the bride’s mother (Susan), deceased father, and never-to-be seen Mother’s gigolo boyfriend, Lester. It takes a comic look at the lives of these players and points out major questions about our lives and inabilities. A particularly admirable part of this play is that it develops the character of each of its players. You may go, “I’ve been there, Ouch.”
Funny? Yes it is, in a nervous kind of way. There were numerous one-liners; some drew hearty laughs; some made us widen our eyes in a smile.
For fear I may ruin the show for you, let me just give you some background on the characters. Mother, Susan Slater (Pam Elder), says things we know in our hearts, but would never admit. For me, Pam was the most consistently on-point performer in the play. She was, however, the least of the characters who made the stage. There truly was no lead performer. Max (Hal Word) is a Type-A, Theory X, investment specialist with serious sexual issues. Max knows the meaning of pathos, but has never experienced it. Hal, thanks for great delivery and with pace in the first scene. Suzanna (Annalisa Keuler Crews) was mostly, to me, normal; except she and Max have a propensity toward gratuitous use of the F word. She loves Max more than as a brother. Andrew (Cris Morriss) is that son-in-law you don’t want your daughter to have married. He’s a barista who surely would give milk to any stray cat that came to his door. He does have another job at the moment, but he wants to go back to barista-ing so he has more time to be free for his art, writing. Cris does a great job of making us feel and Andrew’s point of view (even if we are a Max). Oh, but Becky Shaw (Holly Croney Dikeman), I cannot tell you much about Becky Shaw to preserve the show. Holly, well I take back a statement above, Holly was also consistently on-point. She took the play up to its climax and brought it home. At the end, I really felt sorry for Max.
I’d be remiss if I did not point out one issue with the play that I hope the director (Mel Christian) can address. Something did not work as well as it should have in Act I, Scene 1. Hal and Annalisa were fine, but I did not find myself integrated into the play. I felt the stage blocking had Hal and Annalisa too far upstage; we, the audience, were not “there”. Perhaps, if the bed were closer in that first scene to the audience, it would help. In her, Mel’s, defense though, research showed me that Act I, Scene 1 has a reputation of being difficult for the show. It is a very important scene; as mentioned above, Hal was instrumental in its success.
This is a really good production of a really good script. The show will run for three weekends on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 pm through January 28, with one matinee performance on Sunday, January 22 at 2 pm. Tickets (933-2383) are $20 for general admission and $15 for students or groups of ten or more. Keep in mind too that BFT's Pay What You Can Afford night on January 19 with a $7 minimum; that’s less than a movie ticket. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Birmingham Festival Theater
January 31, 2011 by Max Soma
Loot is a British comedy from the 1960s by Joe Orton, and recently wrapped production at BFT under the direction of Mel Christian.
Loot is the story of a British family where the mother has recently passed away. She is survived by her husband, Mr. McLeavy (Ward Haarbauer), and their son, Hal (Richard Taylor Campbell). There is immediate suspicion of Fay (Victoria Ward), the gold digging nurse of the deceased woman. The audience is onto Fay rather quickly as she forces McLeavy into proposal after she has announced she convinced the old woman to change the will and leave all the money to her. Then we discover that Hal and his “friend” Dennis (Christoph Hooks) have recently robbed a bank and plan on burying the money with the old woman and then digging it up again later. Truscott (Edwin Booth) pops up pretending to be with the water works, but is obviously a detective. Madness ensures as Hal and Dennis realize they can’t get the money into the coffin with the body in it. And there folks, you have the makings of what should be a fast paced broadly played dark farce. Well, that is a lot of adjectives, but you get the point.
I actually really liked the script, but I did have some problems. It holds up rather well for being 40+ years old, and it translates across the pond well. Not all British comedy plays in America. However, a lot of the jokes seemed to fall flat because they were Catholic based. I thought it might just be me (I’m protestant), but almost no one laughed at the religious jokes. Plus, I had issues with the money not fitting in the coffin. In this production, it would have had no trouble fitting inside with the body. I also never really understood why they needed to bury it in the first place. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just hide it in something else and take it out of the house? I could ponder what ifs all day with the script, but being a farce, I just dropped the questions and decided to go with the flow. Finally, I was confused by Hal and Dennis’ relationship. They seemed like lovers, but also took delight in talking about the number of women they’ve slept with (Hal has fathered 5 children).
As for this production, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m not that big on British comedy, and I get frustrated with community theatre productions of farce. I see so many comedies that are played really big when the writing seems to not fit that style. Farce requires broad acting and comedy. Then, when given the chance, it seems a lot of actors in farce tone it back down. Farce is pretty much go big or go home. However, most of the actors in this production really played it up. I was disappointed in Haarbaur, who I sometimes struggled to even be able to hear. His timing was off, and he wasn’t on par with the other male actors in the show. Ward’s Fay was another disappointment. She was one note, and very “on the page.” I saw no technique in her performance.
On the other hand, Hooks and Campbell were delights. They knew exactly what play they were in, and went all out to give the audience what they wanted in a broad comedy. Campbell knows how to work a pause before a punch line, and Hooks has incredible stage presence. He practically steals every moment he is on stage. Booth’s Truscott was also well played, and Booth kept his character interesting even when you wanted to slap Truscott.
Christian’s pacing is really what kept a lot of the play from being just outright hilarious. The production clocks in at two and half hours. That is really long for a comedy, and you feel it by the end of the first act. The pacing wasn’t lightening fast, and it could have worked a lot better had it been.
I saw the show with about 40 people in the audience. That is a really good house these days in community theatre in Birmingham. It is really good when so many other shows are running at the same time. However, I did just see Theatre Downtown’s Fahrenheit 451 with over 70 in the audience. They should have come to this instead.
The White Rose
May 1-17 at the Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed May 3, 2008 by Billy Ray Brewton
The problem with "The White Rose" is the script, plain and simple. Lillian Groag's script is not very exciting, moves at a snail's pace and never fully capitalizes on what could have been a powerful story of courage and honor. Director Sandra Taylor has done some very interesting things with the script – adding brief scenes of action and even mixing up the way the events are told in the script. It's a good thing she did. Her decision to do that is what helped rescue the show from sluggishness and mundanity.
The show tells the story of a group of German students who were executed for publishing a pamphlet called 'The White Rose', a political paper designed to rally the youth of Germany into standing up against Hitler and The Third Reich. The show is told through both present day and flashbacks. We see two Nazi officers, Mohr (Steve Halsey) and Mahler (Scott Nesmith) as they discuss what to do with the young people. We also see the students (Rebecca Yeager, Franklin Slaton, Jamie Schor, Eric Young, Justin Lenard) as they become involved in this operation, and are eventually apprehended.
One of the script's biggest problems is that it allows very little time for developing these characters. I don't know that we really come to care for any of these people. It's almost as if Groag wanted us to observe these people in a context of historical non-fiction, but not really look past the event itself into who they were as people. This was a mistake on the part of the playwright. We cannot care about characters when we are not given any sort of information on which to base this compassion. Director Sandra Taylor has staged the play quite well, and the set is very affective. The most affective staging, and the most affective scene in the show comes during the interrogation of the students.
In terms of performances, they are universally strong. In a small, but crucial role, Saxon Murrell is fantastic as Bauer. He takes a small role and really develops it. We feel we know more about this character than any other on stage. Scott Nesmith plays his role of villain with equal parts ruthlessness and equal parts zeal. This character likes what he is doing and doesn't try to hide it. As for the students, the standouts are Rebecca Yeager as Sophia and Franklin Slaton as Hans, though all of the students do fine jobs. I did, however, feel that the performances became a little too heavy-handed at the end of the piece.
So, on the whole – do I recommend "The White Rose". Yes. It's a dark part of human history that a lot of people know very little about. At the very least, it's something you should see so you can understand the darker sides of the human condition. Most of the problems I had came with the script itself, but you can't fault the actors or the director for that – they did what they could with a lackluster piece of literature. "The White Rose" runs for the next three weekends at Birmingham Festival Theatre. Thanks to Sandra Taylor, Saxon Murrell and a strong ensemble – the show rises above the script.
The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife
March 20-April 5 – Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed March 21, 2008 by Frank Thompson
It isn't often that I walk into a theatre completely clueless with regards to the show being presented. With The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife, however, I knew almost nothing about the production beyond two facts: A: it was a success on Broadway several years ago. B: The Broadway production starred Linda Lavin. I am happy to say that the show turned out to be an engaging and entertaining piece of theatre. Playwright Charles Busch has created an outrageous, yet oddly familiar ensemble of characters, each of whom will be at least passingly recognizable to everyone...the detached intellectual, the neurotic "lady who lunches," the crusty, foul-mouthed grandma, etc...where the talent of the cast and director truly shines through in BFT's production is in the absolute absence of stereotype or "mugging."
Director Ellise Mayor has staged the show with a light, artful touch, keeping her characters almost constantly in motion, both literally and figuratively. I particularly noticed more physical movement from all of the characters following the arrival of Lee (Jan D. Hunter), who brings new life and fresh air into a fairly staid and lethargic household. This sounds like a simple and insignificant thing to notice, but it beautifully illustrated the effect of Lee's personality on the surroundings.
I won't go into a tremendous amount of plot synopsis. The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife is an intelligent, well-crafted contemporary drawing-room comedy ... imagine Noel Coward in the late 1990's, and you're pretty close. If you enjoy witty banter, slightly naughty situations, and intelligent humor, this is a show for you. (One word of warning to those from New York ... a few of the regionalisms seem slightly awkward when spoken, but this is a very minor drawback.)
The actors were, across the board, outstanding. Debbie Smith and Michael Abrams bring a spot-on upper-middle-class ennui to Marjorie and Ira, a well-to-do NYC couple facing retirement and empty nest syndrome. Abrams' cool-headed and polite Ira balances nicely with Smith's histrionic Marjorie. The actors seem as comfortable and in sync with one another as do the characters they portray.
The more over-the-top roles are delightfully brought to life by Mackey Atkinson as a flamboyant and endearing doorman (who also serves as a narrative voice from time to time) and Adriana Keathley as Frieda, Marjorie's irascible and opinionated mother. (When Frieda commented that Marjorie's aunt "is a f*#king liar" I almost fell out of my chair.) Atkinson and Keathley do a marvelous job of sharing focus when appropriate, yet running away with their respective spotlight moments.
As wonderful as the rest of the cast is, it is the stellar performance of Jan D. Hunter as Lee that takes The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife to greater heights. Again, I won't bore the reader and/or ruin the show by giving away the plot. Let it suffice to say that Hunter is sparkling in the role. At turns sexy and sophisticated, cloying and suspicious, (and occasionally vulnerable) Lee is a complex and engaging character on the printed page. Hunter's talent brings her to life in every sense of the phrase.
The set is appropriate and authentic, creating a fair-to-pretty-good representation of a New York doctor's flat. There is eye-catching artwork decorating the set that is also for sale following the production. (One criticism: the trim on the walls needs to be painted on top.)
The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife is well worth the time and price of admission. Kudos to Mayor and her cast for a well-presented and enjoyable show.
Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens
Presented by Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed for February 20, 2008 by Robert Cole
When you walk into the Birmingham Festival Theatre, there are two large pieces of the AIDS quilt hung in the lobby. A replica of this monumental effort is the dominant image on the stage. The show is called Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens. The word “elegies” evokes thoughts of death, of disease, of hopelessness. But, that is not the show that is being performed on that stage.
Instead, this production of the cabaret revue Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens is a celebration of life. It is not a gay show. It is not a straight show. There are stories of hetero- and homo-sexual men and women who are/were brave, scared to death, and utterly, believably human.
The show is a series of fun and (most times) touching and beautiful songs. But, it is not the songs that are the highlight of the evening. The highlight is the verse monologues performed by a courageous and multitudinous cast, with so many wonderful performances that it would be improper to list only a few. These are stories of children, the elderly, and the myriads of beautiful people that have been infected by this horrible disease. But, as the show’s final moment confirms, it is the memory of these people that stays with you long after you leave the theatre.
Before the show began, the director J. Heath Mixon welcomed the audience to a show that is not just “theatre for theatre’s sake, but a show that makes a difference.” I would argue that theatre for theatre’s sake is some of the greatest work we do on this earth. And, though the ticket sales go to Birmingham AIDS Outreach, the fact that this cast has assembled and put on this show is the true miracle that theatre can be.
Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens, by Janet Hood and Bill Russell, runs at the Birmingham Festival Theatre February 21-24th. http://www.bftonline.org/.
Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed on October 19th, 2006 by Billy Ray Brewton
Around this time last year, I was
reviewing another Neil LaBute piece for this site,
"The Shape of Things". As I mentioned in that review, I am a
huge fan of LaBute's work, from his theatrical
pieces to his directorial efforts on-screen. He has this rare and
uncanny ability to extract the maximum amount of honesty from something that
seems to typical, and so taken for granted. "Fat Pig" is one
of his most difficult pieces in that it shows men and women for what most of
them truly are -- physical beings. As much as we want to think that
what we're like on the inside matters most, that
means nothing if it's not coupled with at least a reasonably desirable
outside. "Fat Pig" explores that. Strike -- "Fat
Pig" digs that up, dusts it off, and shoves it in all of our
faces. That is what you should expect from a LaBute
… BOOM at Birmingham
Festival Theatre, by the
Reviewed on July 16th, 2006 by Billy Ray Brewton
"tick, tick…BOOM!" is a show that had never before appeared on the
It is going to be almost impossible to top this production.
The show is, essentially, Jonathan
Larson's autobiography, dealing with a struggling composer and playwright,
John (Lucas Pepke), who is waiting for his current project to hit workshop,
while juggling his dancer girlfriend (
From beginning to end, I was blown away by this production. I have been a fan of "tick,
tick…BOOM!" for a few years now and just never imagined it coming to
Enough praise. Now…onto the problems I had with the show…hmmmm…give me a minute...ummm…one second...sheesh…I know I can think of something – WAIT A MOMENT. I don't think I had a single problem with the show.
In fact, "tick, tick…BOOM!" is
the best musical I have seen in the
Either way, shuffle your butts to BFT.
Line and Acrobats at Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed on June 16th, 2006 by Jonathan Goldstein
I went to see Line and Acrobats, by Israel Horovitz, at BFT last Friday night, and I was really impressed with what I saw, and I suggest anyone who hasn't seen it to catch it before it closes this Saturday night.
The evening begins with Acrobats, which is done outside of BFT on the roof of the building next to it. The BFT courtyard is a very pleasant setting, and although it was a bit hot outside, the atmosphere added to the enjoyablility of this short appetizer of a one-act play. Stephen Mangina and Morgan Smith star in this marital spat that occurs while acrobatic routines are taking place. Stephen and Morgan perfectly deliver the hilarious, yet serious, dialogue, which is made more funny by the timing of the acrobatic routines. The acrobatics of trying to make a relationship work is portrayed through the actual acrobatics in the choreography along with the dialogue. Stephen and Morgan obviously worked their butts off to perfect Acrobats, and they did an excellent job. It was a great way to kick off the night.
The audience is then
led inside BFT for the second one-act of the night. Line is
a show about a bunch of people waiting in line for... well... they don't know. It is a comment about the
"shoot-for-the-top", "winner-takes-all" society that we
live in. They are all fighting for first place in the line, even though
they don't have any idea what they will gain from
it. I have read the play, and I auditioned for it... so, I had an idea
of what to look for. But, I was really
surprised with the choices that some of the actors made... and that's a good
thing. It's always interesting when actors and
directors take a character, or a situation, and play it differently than you
would have normally imagined it being played. That was the case with
lots of the situations and characters in this show. I was truly
surprised to see Grey Tildon enter the stage as a
geeky young Jewish guy wearing a yarmelke.
I saw the character as being a little different from that... but, Grey totally made it work in the way that he played
it. Carole Armistead as a slutty woman who has sex
with everyone in the line... I had my doubts, but it was done
perfectly (and I'll never look at Carole in quite
the same way).
When I see a play, I like to focus my
attention away from the action... to see what people are doing when they're
not supposed to be watched... and, with only a couple of minor exceptions,
every actor was totally into the moment at every point during the show.
Collected Stories at Birmingham Festival Theatre
Reviewed on July 25th, 2005 by Nancy Bent
past weekend, while visiting from
The two-woman play is about the changing relationship between a formerly prominent writer and her protégé, as the star of the younger woman begins to ascend. The two actresses, Dolores Hydock and Holly Hamm, established an on-stage intimacy that was absolutely transcendent. Dolores Hydock in particular exhibited extraordinary mastery as an actor. She so completely inhabited her character, Ruth, that it was as if she aged right before our eyes.
everything about the production was top-rate. How lucky you are in
Take Me Out, Birmingham Festival Theatre
someone who has seen productions of "Take Me Out" in both
First off, a couple of members of the board at Birmingham
Festival Theatre had apologized to me in advance because they thought that
the BFT production wouldn't measure up to the Alley Theatre of Atlanta's
production because several of the actors in the Atlanta production were
professionals who had Actors Equity Cards, but I can whole heartedly say that
the BFT production is far superior in every way to the Atlanta
Wilson (Kippy): When I saw the production a few
weeks ago, you could tell that Michael's nerves were on overdrive,
because he rushed the opening monologue, but as the play progressed, he
settled down and gave an outstanding performance. Tonight (April 28), he
more than made up for the nerves in the first performance I saw, and gave his
role an entirely new dimension. Breaking the fourth wall and talking to
the audience is never easy, but he handled both the exposition to the
audience and the interraction with his fellow characters
excellently. He helped me understand Kippy
much better than Daniel May, the
Jordan Wilder (Darren): Far superior than Brandon Dirden in
Cannon (Skipper, New Jersey Fan, & Jail Officer): Really
great casting as well as an excellent trio of performances. Bill
Murphey in the
Fritz (Shane): This role could easily have been played
as just an impersonation of John Rocker, but Alexander showed much more
vulnerability in the role than Travis Young in the
Castle (Toddy): Brik Berkes
Mccarty Jr. (Davey): Jason is fine actor
who played Davey as more of a contemporary of Darren than did Ismail ibn Conner in the
McCracken, Jason Hudson, and Adam Czachurski
I loved all of the performances, my two favorites had to be
Michael Wilson as Kippy (mentioned earlier),
and J. Heath Mixon as Jason. Heath took a
goofy, secondary role (or at least that was how it was played in the
play isn't an easy play to do, and it took a lot of courage on EVERYONE's
part to put on such a daring show, but I guess it just goes to show that,
like Jason Chenier on the baseball team, BFT has the BIGGEST HEART in the
Take Me Out, Birmingham Festival Theatre
Wayne and I went to see Take Me Out on Saturday, April 23. We didn’t go earlier in the run because we knew there had been some casting problems and we wanted the show to have time to gel before we saw it.
We had both read the script (I briefly considered auditioning) and were perplexed as to why it had won awards. It was a difficult read; the dialog sounded contrived and stilted from the page.
were then all the more surprised at the production
we saw. As spoken by these actors under the expert direction of Will
York, it was vibrant and
the program, I was surprised to see that more than actor was making his stage
debut. I misplaced my program, so I can only remember character names.
The actor who played Darren, the star player who comes out of the closet, was
everything that the script required - handsome, powerful, of obvious mixed
racial heritage, moving with assurance and grace in an aura of great
charisma. You totally understood why this character
was loved by baseball fans. Kippy, his
best friend on the team, was the narrator and facilitator of the entire show,
and told the story well and with great compassion. He was an affable,
well-meaning young fellow, and you could understand why they were
friends. The fellow who played Darren’s long-time best friend from
another team was spot-on great. I would like to see more of him at BFT
and TNT and Virginia Samford, etc. I believed
him every moment he was on stage. A couple of actor’s names I did
Did I mention that almost every character is completely naked at one time or another? Well, it is in a locker room at a major league baseball park. It’s only natural. And it was only natural. And it was only natural that it would be the cause for discussion among the players. It was not a distraction nor was it in any way gratuitous.
This production also featured probably the best set I have ever seen at BFT. And the lighting was more subtle and well done than usual, too. All I can say is CONGRATULATIONS to everyone involved in the production.
The Subject Tonight is Love at Birmingham Festival Theatre
November 18th by
Truly a subject needing attention and consideration
I had the wonderful opportunity
to see this play at Birmingham Festival Theater on Thursday night. The
play by Sandra Deer is an inspirational, candid, and profound exploration of
life and change, and the intricacies of familial relationships. The
acting by Elise Mayor, Carol Armistead, and
As caregiver herself, Janice Kluge the set designer, along with Marc Powers, created an amazing set to simply and unobtrusively resemble and transition into the sparse environment that Ruby had to become accustomed to after moving from her beloved home into a retirement home. I loved the fact that there was no intermission, allowing the audience to stay focused on the emotion of the production. The only criticism I can think of at all is in the writing at the very end. I thought the story could have been closed in a better way, although this in no way affected my overall enjoyment of The Subject Tonight is Love. I left the theater with a lot to think about, and totally awe-struck. Congratulations to BFT an amazing, and profound production. You have done a great service to our community in embracing such a subject with the artistry and depth that truly did it justice. Thank you!
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Wayne and I saw this Saturday night and it was absolutely amazing! One of the finest pieces of theatre/rock musical/comedy/tragedy/Euro-trash performance art I have ever seen. It was spectacular. Tony Roach is one of the most powerfully subtle, sexy, talented men/women I have ever seen. Bitingly sarcastic, painfully funny, wonderfully wicked, heart-wrenchingly sad and totally engrossing. And he sings! Wonderful voice! And did I mention that he is beautiful? Both as a drag queen and as a man. Go see it. You've never seen anything like it before.
also got a real kick out of Nancy Malone's Yitzhak. I have known
Angry Inch, Hedwig's band, Freddie Smith, Carlos Pino,
Eric McGinty and
Carl Dean's direction was subtle, smooth and clean. No wasted or unnecessary movement. Decisive and clear and true to the movement of the story line. Excellent collaborative work with Tony Roach in climbing to all the highs and trolling to the deepest depths.
It runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through June 26 at with matinees on Sundays, June 12 and 20 at . Tickets are $20. Call the BFT box office at 933-2383.
Tom Jones at Birmingham Festival Theatre
BFT's production of Tom Jones has a lot of good in it...some excellent actors, along with
some very funny scenes, and an ensemble that works well together. There are also some drawbacks that keep it from being as
enjoyable as it might be. Among the high notes are the performances of
Carole Armistead and Jeffrey Marrs. Armistead
tackles two roles with equal amounts of flair and comic timing, alternating
superbly between a fussy old maid and a lecherous
aristocrat. Marrs serves double duty as well, as
his Mr. Partridge both narrates the show and performs as a character within
the action. His nervous twitches and giggles make Partridge a delight.
BFT has once again combined engaging storytelling with timely subject
matter in Moises Kaufman's THE LARAMIE PROJECT.
This play, which runs for the next couple of weekends, covers the events
surrounding the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a
Putting It Together at Birmingham Festival Theatre
Putting It Together is a musical revue of
the works of Stephen Sondheim, featuring five of
The Country Club at Birmingham Festival Theatre
I have had a hard time with my
feelings on this production. The truth is I did not like this play, and
is was not the actors or actresses at fault. I
found myself wondering, or moreover wanting some value. I disagree and
dislike some of the messages presented in this production. Many parts
of the play left me feeling creepy. Instances involving one of the lead
characters, Zip, made me want to run. Subject matter was not my only
qualm however. The characters seemed under developed making
understanding the needs and desires of the characters hard to grasp. At
the least the play appeared to be choppy.
Dracula (a dramatic reading) at Vamp &
If you are looking for a lovely way to spend the
early evening, by all means make the trip down to Vamp & Tramp
Booksellers in Pepper Place and attend some (or all) of the readings of
Stoker's DRACULA performed by UAB Theatre. I attended the first reading last
night (October 1) and plan to attend as many subsequent installments as
The Sisters Rosensweig at Birmingham Festival Theatre
Looking for a full
night of laughter and mind boggling fun? The Sisters Rosensweig showing at the BFT this weekend is an
excellent place to go. The phenomenal cast creates the scene of a real
family reunion interrupted by a few outside guests. Each developed
character's quirks not only captivate but represent
someone that everyone knows. Sara Goode, the overachiever that works
too hard to enjoy her life, and is set on making all around her enjoy their
life less, makes for the sobering part of the production. The relationships between each of the characters makes the
show, allowing for the audience to see and laugh at everyday
interactions. Wendy Wasserstein wrote this play trying to capture the
way different people interact with one another. The make
up of the characters only adds amusement to the production. All
three Jewish sisters split up to find their true self in adulthood.
Each one's perspective on how life should be at this point is very different;
watching the sisters try to prove their way is the way in the realm of
Three Days of Rain at Birmingham Festival Theatre
Three Days of Rain,
written by Richard Greenberg, came
The Dining Room at Birmingham Festival Theatre
The Dining Room is a
"slices of life" play set in, surprise!,
the dining room. I thought the acting was superb. There are many
vignettes and the players are given opportunities to
show themselves from six to sixty. They have a lot of energy and do a
good job with it. The cast is nicely balanced in qu
Master Class at the Birmingham Festival Theatre
Master Class at the
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