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Attached By Magmanus

September 29, 2015

Two bearded and long-haired pony-ailed men in dark gray space suits with black Velcro patches appear as the lights come up. For the next ten minutes, they wrestle, slam each other, and get tennis balls hurled at them from the audience while frequently getting stuck to each other. This is the opening sequence of the very entertaining contemporary circus show aptly titled "Attached By Magmanus." [more]

Ensemble for the Romantic Century: “The Sorrows of Young Werther”

June 15, 2015

Now in its fourteenth year, the remarkable Ensemble for the Romantic Century, founded by Eve Wolf, has been presenting musical programs of intellectual coherence and imagination, examining themes and subjects central to the development and character of the “long” nineteenth century, from the Enlightenment to the end of the Victorian Era. ERC's most recent production, The Sorrows of Young Werther, represents the best of this kind of production. Rich and subtle interdisciplinary critical and creative thinking informed the careful merging of a dramatic presentation of Goethe's novella, The Sorrows of Young Werther with Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe. The result was an evening of considerable artistic beauty and intellectual rewards. [more]

The Flatiron Hex

May 27, 2015

Godwin's talent in seamlessly operating the puppets is an impressive sight and the use of old-fashioned materials, such as a slide projector to represent a lab was a nice choice in this age of advanced technology. The classic "mad scientist" imagery is perfect for evoking historic New York. Some choices are definitely not for the squeamish and audiences should prepare themselves for certain sights and sounds that will definitely prompt a reaction. [more]

Blood Red Roses: The Female Pirate Project

May 23, 2015

Perhaps the most unique aspect of this devised piece is the venue itself. Boarding the Lehigh Valley Barge off the docks of Red Hook, Brooklyn, is like taking a literal step off the land and a figurative step back in time. During normal business hours, the old barge is a museum dedicated to New York City’s rich maritime history. During the run of this production, however, the rickety, wooden fixture serves as the galley of a ghost ship. At the performance under review, thunder crackled in the distance and the makeshift stage bobbed in the Upper Bay’s stormy waters while the players carry on in costume designer Emily Blumenauer’s grungy, Victorian seafarer wear; if nothing else, "Blood Red Roses' is a chillingly atmospheric evening of theater. [more]

Séquence 8: Les 7 Doigts de la Main (7 Fingers)

April 17, 2015

“A dance of our actions to your reactions. No one knows the steps yet,” explains the charming and funny performer Colin Davis, during his introductory remarks to Séquence 8, a thrilling program of contemporary circus sequences. For 95 minutes, there is one often dazzling number after another, performed by this Montreal- based troupe of eight, athletic, international, youthful performers. Their physical prowess is combined with modern dance choreography, acrobatics, verbal and visual comedy, a lively score of original music and pop songs, and striking lighting. [more]

Jules Verne: From the Earth to the Moon

April 9, 2015

ERC’s unusual evening includes music by Ernest Chausson, Cécile Chaminade and Jacques Offenbach, video taken from George Méliès’ silent film A Trip to the Moon and the Apollo rocket launch and moon landing, and choral singing of songs by Stephen Foster. Co-artistic director Eve Wolf’s text which makes up the theatrical parts of the evening is based on letters, interviews and memoirs and presents Jonathan Hadary as Jules Verne, Jayne Atkinson as his wife Honorine, and Samantha Hill as intrepid American reporter Nellie Bly. A heady evening of fascinating treasures. [more]

New York Spring Spectacular

April 8, 2015

There is audience participation; a huge orchestra—conducted by Patrick Vaccariello—that keeps rising from the depths, acrobatic choreography, and, most of all the mesmerizing Rockettes who look ravishing in their many costumes (designed by ESOSA) and routines. As my grandmother used to say, “What’s not to like?” I agree wholeheartedly. [more]

Lionboy

January 27, 2015

Shadow puppetry, audience participation, actors as animals, talking lions, ladders as boats, a circus with a trapeze artist and a bearded lady, a live drums and percussion score, a hot air balloon, and storytelling in the style of Harry Potter. Complicite, Britian’s acclaimed collaborative theater company, has devised its first family-oriented production, "Lionboy," based on the best-selling young adult trilogy by Zizou Corder, and the exciting results of this U.S. premiere are now on display at The New Victory Theater. This engrossing storytelling experience, suitable for all ages, combines science fiction, fantasy, economics, science and a futuristic dystopia to tell a fascinating adventure tale using all of the techniques of storytelling by a company of eight versatile actors. [more]

A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa

December 9, 2014

As a director, Horejš has a great command of the visual. The puppets perform in various parts of the stage and fly around and enter from windows and trapdoors. The compelling stagecraft is aided immensely by Federico Restrepo's skillful lighting design that very finely captures the moods and era of the story. These enchanting effects are all heightened by the old curiosity shop quality of the furnishings on stage, and the authentic looking garments the cast wears, by set and costume designer Michelle Beshaw. [more]

Swamp Juice

December 5, 2014

Carrying on like a nutty professor, for the next hour, he dazzles the audience with breathtaking displays of shadow puppetry. Creatures such as a bird, a sea monster, a jellyfish and an ogre, who some of whom travel in a flying machine, and a canoe, are stunningly created on the large screen. All these are from his clever technique of manipulating his hands in front of an old-fashioned projection device. [more]

Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis

October 26, 2014

The Big Apple Circus' new edition for its 37th Season called "Metamorphosis" is a winner. Breathtaking acts alternate with performances of such skill that all you can ask is how did they do that. Aerial acts, gymnastics, contortion, animals, clowning, and audience participation – "Metamorphosis" has it all. The youthful and attractive cast dazzles with their skill and artistry. The colorful performance in the famed single ring where no member of the audience sits more than 50 feet from the action is an intimate show allowing the viewer to see up close. "Metamorphosis" is great fun for all ages. [more]

Dead Behind These Eyes

September 8, 2014

Not loving anyone who did not wish to see Dead Behind These Eyes would be more debatable. Performed for an audience of 12 in a karaoke room, the 90-minute show is a beguiling site specific performance art piece. Many theatergoers with an affinity for such works will find it engaging, and others may find it exasperating. Not being familiar with its source material could make it seem even more baffling. [more]

Varekai: Cirque du Soliel

July 30, 2014

The title is a Romany word meaning "wherever." The narrative framing device is the Greek myth of Icarus, imagining that of instead of drowning in the sea after flying too close to the sun, he lands in an enchanted forest populated by exotic creatures. [more]

New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival

June 11, 2014

two interactive multimedia installation pieces by electroacoustic composer and kinetic sculptor, Gary DiBenedetto. Together, Fifteen Words a Minute and The Little Woman were presented under the title Tools of Exploited Women, a mini-exhibit in the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (June 2-8, 2014). [more]

Amaluna

March 25, 2014

Of course, there is a burst of aerialists flying overhead as the revels come to a close and Prospera exerts her spells over all. Was this the most spellbinding of the serial Cirque du Soleil shows because it was so female-centered? Certainly, Amaluna is one of their most beautiful and most satisfying. In spite of the clowns. What is there about the crude, corny, hokey, exaggerated mugging and capering that characterizes almost all the clowns in all the Cirque du Soleil shows that keeps them coming, show to show, a kind of tradition?? [more]
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