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Sam Kusnetz

Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State

January 31, 2019

The Brooklyn-born Quinn has been performing stand-up since the 1980’s and his seasoned wise guy New Yorker persona was once showcased on Saturday Night Live and in recent years in several theater pieces. Clad in a plaid shirt, black jeans and sneakers, this show business veteran uses his tuneful gravelly voice with its cadences of the streets to optimum effect. His material is a model example of superior comic writing. Bursts of perfectly crafted one-liners constructed in the classic form of set ups and punchlines, skillfully composed observational riffs and occasionally addressing audience members directly, all sustain "Red State Blue State"’s 75 minutes. [more]

Bernie and Mikey’s Trip to the Moon

November 25, 2018

Playing the developmentally challenged title character Bernie, Stephanie Gould captures the innocence and charm of this young woman, sometimes with broad strokes, but always with sincerity and commitment. A speech impediment called for in the script ultimately comes across as ‘baby talk;’ this affectation is sometimes distracting and annoying, but fortunately never for very long. By contrast, the character of Jeff Goldblum, a young man who Bernie has met in some of her development classes and pursues her relentlessly as a suitor, is revealed to be less-abled by his dialog alone; it’s by what he says, and not how he says it, that the audience understands he is mentally challenged as well. Goldblum is played with humor and disarming quirkiness by Benjamin Rosloff. [more]

Hamlet. A Version

April 28, 2017

The dialogue of Ileana Alexandra Orlic’s English translation is problematic. Floating around are a few Shakespearean snippets, but otherwise it’s rather stilted. Without much verbal grandeur there’s a prevalent flatness. There’s not a compelling momentum, and so it never really rises above being a curiosity. However, overall this play does somewhat succeed as a spirited condensation, especially for those familiar with the original work. [more]

A Christmas Carol (Blessed Unrest)

December 26, 2016

Director and choreographer Jessica Burr has created a number of dazzling moments with her precise unison of expressive staging, movement and dance. With only a few vintage trunks and a door, all on wheels, Ms. Burr achieves many vivid stage pictures. Walking up a flight of imaginary stairs is a thrilling display of mime. Burr’s work with the ensemble, most of whom play several roles is excellent with their colorful characterizations as evidence. [more]