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The Players Theatre

alt-Hamlet

September 15, 2023

"alt-Hamlet," written and directed by Suzanne Willett, loosely uses "Hamlet' 's plotting and character types in a carnivalesque/grotesque black comedy. Inspired by the US Supreme Court's 2022 decision on abortion rights, Willett penned an indictment of the court’s imposition of legally sanctioned restrictions on women’s control over their bodies. She uses Hamlet as the vehicle for the story since it was a play centered on the Elizabethan view of inheritance as a right. Her play centers on a woman’s right to control her body. She also uses pregnancy and "morning-after" and "abortion" pills as elements in the story. While the topics dealt with are important, this production does not effectively deliver on those topics, not for want of trying, but because of the venue and some directorial choices. It reads better than it plays. [more]

Bringer of Doom

April 11, 2023

"Bringer of Doom," written by Joe Thristino and smoothly directed by Mark Koenig, is a comedy about Lotte and her effort to exact revenge against her estranged mother, Esme, because of a public humiliation her mother inflicted. She uses an ex-comedian, Demetrius, or more precisely, a no-longer-performing comedian, as the waiter to serve her revenge, cold, but with a measure of spice. His job is to "roast" Lotte's mother with clever rejoinders and barbed put-downs when she comes for dinner at Lotte's apartment. He is to make her highly uncomfortable without causing her to leave. [more]

The Dog Show

January 16, 2023

Ivan Faute’s "The Dog Show" is ambitious in trying to tell a story by holding back on the details. Unfortunately, the method has grave, unresolved problems. For most of the first act we have no idea why it has been given this title. Neither the direction nor the script allows the performers to develop their characters who remain at the end the same as at the beginning. There is a play buried in this material but as of now it has not surfaced. [more]

Tiananmen Requiem

March 18, 2022

The play itself is suitably dramatic and thought-provoking; as a piece of theater it should continue to be presented to enlighten future audiences. This particular production isn’t quite up to the task of delivering the play to maximum impact. [more]

Ectoplasm

January 18, 2022

"Ectoplasm" counts among its themes and topics: poetry, women’s rights, prostitution, women’s suffrage, love, death, the paranormal, the supernatural, fraudulent mediums – and the love that dare not speak its name, except here it is openly discussed, circa 1912. Each and every character has an agenda which is too many plot devices, while the actual plot never quite resolves itself. While the play has been given an elegant physical production, the script does not entirely hang together or feel satisfying. [more]

Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical

August 11, 2021

Since it's difficult to make fun of something that was never meant to be taken seriously in the first place, Hogue and director Nick Flatto are often left to spin their wheels by simply rehashing their subject matter's underbaked characters and shamelessly derivative storytelling, which all-too-often turns "Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical' into a glorified clip show. Hogue further hampers himself by largely sticking to the series' first season, as if he only had time to skim the second and third. It's an especially odd choice that leaves Hogue needing to rely on unfunny, if not downright offensive, parodic padding. [more]

The Wake of Dorcas Kelly

July 17, 2021

Early in the play, songs are sung by various members of the cast including the anachronistic “The House of the Rising Sun,” (sung twice) set in New Orleans in the twentieth century. The cast members use various accents even though all are supposed to be Irish. Characters come and go for no motivated reason and too many events happen more than once. The acting though vigorous is uneven and inconsistent, but this is mainly due to several underwritten roles which give the performers little to do and not enough backstory. The production’s pacing is deficient as parts of the play come fast and furious while others are slow, talky and languid. [more]

God Save Queen Pam

June 30, 2018

This is "God Save Queen Pam"’s world premiere and though spirited, it’s sluggish at a full length of two and half hours with an intermission.  There’s repetitiousness, extraneousness and a wan presentation. With editing that enforces more of the plot and higher production values it’s conceivable that its evident whimsical charms could be whipped up into a madcap entertainment.  For now, it’s best viewed as a workshop with potential that showcases the game cast. [more]