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Rajesh Bose

The Crucible (Bedlam)

November 25, 2019

As produced by Bedlam in association with The Nora, Arthur Miller’s 1953 tragedy, "The Crucible," based on the Salem Witch Trials proves to be both riveting and relevant all over again. In the past, the play was seen as a cautionary tale about the McCarthy Era witch hunt that destroyed so many lives. Now in 2019 it becomes a story of truth and lies, fiction and fact. One of the judges refers to the situation in Salem as “this swamp.” In the age of Trump, Miller’s play has new meaning for our time. You could hear a pin drop during Eric Tucker’s unfussy production which becomes more and more scary as the Salem witch trials progress and the townspeople become entirely carried away by the hysteria. [more]

Caesar and Cleopatra

October 7, 2019

When the Gingold Theatrical Group’s revival of Bernard Shaw’s epic "Caesar and Cleopatra" begins, the characters are wearing white contemporary clothes and sitting on what looks like an excavation site which might give one pause. Like David Staller’s revival of "Heartbreak House" last year, his Caesar and Cleopatra tries to give this 1898 play a more contemporary relevance, but unlike Heartbreak House which pointlessly updated that play to W.W. II rather than the usual W.W. I setting, this modern approach works extremely well and proves to be quite charming. [more]

Henry VI (NAATCO)

August 22, 2018

Presented by NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company), it has a virtually all-Asian excellent cast of sixteen, several of whom play roles of opposite genders. Creatively conceived by Stephen Brown-Fried and superbly directed by him, his Orson Welles-like vision transcends the difficult material. This sterling production is also an inspired example of Americans succeeding at Shakespeare. [more]

Bedlam’s Pygmalion

April 4, 2018

Scenic designer John McDermott has turned the black box space at the Sheen Center into an intimate amphitheater with the audience sitting around three sides of Higgins’ laboratory/study with no viewer more than four rows from the action. When Eliza arrives to arrange for lessons on her small income, we discover what we already suspected: this Eliza has been born in India and she is prone to speak in Hindi when she gets excited, just like her father Alfred Doolittle does when he follows her to Wimpole Street to see what he can get out of her good fortune - when she sends for her things but not her clothes. This adds a new, contemporary level to the play: Eliza is an immigrant rather than an East End cockney which contributes to the play’s current relevance. [more]

Against the Hillside

February 8, 2018

The production is not helped by William Carden’s heavy-handed direction.  Scene transitions are punctuated by sound designer and composer Shane Rettig’s blaring, pulsing and overwhelming original electronic music. In near darkness, stage hands wearing black appear to rearrange furniture and set props.  This all becomes formulaic and distracting. Carden’s physical staging is rudimentary and the actions flow weakly. Most unnerving is that Mr. Carden has the actors speaking rapidly and being overly emphatic for much of the time and this sets an artificial tone. [more]