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Reid Thompson

Wives

September 17, 2019

Ms. Backhaus’ writing is erudite, well-shaped and imaginative but isn’t funny which is problematic considering it’s intended as a barbed comedy until its heartfelt metaphysical conclusion. Much of it frantically plays out with Monty Python’s intellectualism crossed with Mel Brooks’ coarseness and dashes of Alan Bennett’s pathos. Virginia Woolf figures prominently in one part. Though noble in intent, it’s an unsatisfying exercise that’s more synthetic than profound. [more]

Selkie

December 7, 2018

“Why did I marry such an idiot?!” exclaims Deanna about her goofy husband Keaton. Not only is he an inept drug dealer but he has also kidnapped a seal who is presently in human form and her vengeful relatives are now on the warpath. These are the outlandish plot points of playwright Krista Knight's charming "Selkie" where mirth merges with darkness. [more]

Inner Voices 2018

November 4, 2018

Three original one-act solo-performer musicals comprise "Inner Voices 2018," presented by the Premieres theater company. Since 2008 they’ve produced several editions of this enterprise. The format was inspired by British playwright Alan Bennett’s 1980’s and 1990’s acclaimed "Talking Heads," which were a series of 13 separate monologues that were originally broadcast on television and subsequently adapted for the stage. Here, the monologues are set to music and it’s cumulatively pleasing. [more]

Heartbeat Opera: Butterfly

June 9, 2017

The artistic team responsible for this "Butterfly" made radical decisions and changes. Puccini’s original three acts of linear story – love and “wedding,” waiting, betrayal and death – are reorganized and abbreviated into three scenes of waiting, remembered love, and then betrayal. Some minor characters in the original opera are eliminated to create a caste of just five singing characters. The entire orchestra is reduced to a chamber orchestra of just six musicians, the Cantata Profana. The adaptation of Puccini’s orchestral score for this small chamber group by Daniel Schlosberg is remarkable: unexpectedly, its absolute faithfulness to Puccini’s musical intent at almost every turn made up for the diminished number of musicians. [more]

Inner Voices

October 17, 2016

Paulette Haupt, producing artistic director of Premieres, should be very proud of herself. Her "Inner Voices" program at the TBG Theatre managed to shock, move and entertain. The three short one-act musical monologues, each with a distinctive voice and each performed by an expert singer/actor were sweetly bizarre ("Just One 'Q' "), shattering ("The Pen") and heartwarming ("The Booty Call"). [more]

Empathitrax

September 19, 2016

Playwright Ana Nogueira has a facility for often arch dialogue but not much else. The play’s potentially promising sci-fi premise is undermined by its bizarre vagueness. Not only do the leading characters not have names, there is no biographical data about them imparted. Their professions and life details are never described. Most crucially HIM’s thesis is mentioned several times but what the subject of it was is not stated. Ms. Nogueira basically presents two ciphers that are difficult to truly care about. Ultimately, it’s all a hollow and smug exercise. [more]

Half Moon Bay (2016)

May 29, 2016

That’s the familiar set up of author Dan Moyer’s engaging contemporary romantic comedy of the two-character "Half Moon Bay." As Mr. Moyer’s lost souls get to know each other, personal secrets are revealed. These revelations are sometimes dark but never seem like gratuitous theatrical gimmicks. Just the believable problems that real people could have. Moyer’s excellent dialogue contains so many sharp and wise lines that precisely delineate the characters. A great asset is that they’re spoken by two gifted actors who effortlessly make it appear as though that the play was written just for them. [more]

House Rules

April 10, 2016

Featuring a talented and engaging cast as well as an inventively designed set that adds tremendous production value, "House Rules" would seem to have all the necessary elements of a successful production. However, though the technical and theatrical aspects of this production are undoubtedly successful, the message of this story is somehow lost along the way. Somewhere down the line, this heartfelt family story devolves into a set of characters with clichéd motivations and almost no character growth; characters who are far too often put into storylines which never receive that oh-so-satisfying payoff that differentiates an exceptional theatrical experience from the ordinary. [more]

A Delicate Ship

September 7, 2015

Anna Ziegler’s "A Delicate Ship" is an intelligent, intensely absorbing play that treats its three thirty-something characters like chess pieces moving warily about Reid Thompson’s raised platform apartment set, floating amidst a rock garden which becomes a life-sized game board. [more]