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The Wild Project

Tartuffe

November 1, 2017

Complementing his gorgeous stage pictures, director Craig Smith’s vibrant staging has the actors in constant motion on the small playing area.  The cast precisely paces, dashes and undulates, achieving a propelling pace and focus. Chanting monks roaming through the audience is an eerie highlight.  Slapstick, high comedy, bawdiness and dramatic truth are all vividly rendered by Mr. Smith’s superior sense of stagecraft. [more]

Outside Paducah: The Wars at Home

September 29, 2017

In terms of the atmospherically detailed writing and Mr. Moad’s enjoyably intense performance that recalls a Sam Shepard hero, “Quittin’ Meth” is the most powerful of the program and its concluding play. It’s a poetically expressed evening’s odyssey of a 27 year-old Iraq War veteran who has returned to his Illinois hometown in 2007. Set in a rundown bar in this depressed steel mill neighborhood, we follow his memories of the war that contrast with his present observations and glimpses of the pitiful bar denizens . He encounters a war buddy who lost a leg and has descended into drug addiction. [more]

In a Little Room

September 13, 2017

With his breezy delivery, terrific comic timing and everyman persona, Jeb Kreager is highly engaging as Manning. The animated, wiry and bearded Luis-Daniel Morales is soulful and at times wildly funny as Charlie. Mr. Kreager and Mr. Morales have a marvelous chemistry together which energizes the play. [more]

Custody

July 11, 2017

Shannon and Brendan are first seen in her simply decorated apartment in 1994 on her 41st birthday just before Brendan’s departure for Phoenix to join his significant other Ted (who doesn’t appear until the third scene).  They discuss the custody of their “children,” actually a ceramic bird called Henny and a cloth puppet of a little girl whose limbs are wooden dowels.  She has been dubbed Melly-Lou and she has been diagnosed with Dutch Elm disease—all part of the imaginative scenario assembled over the years by the two “parents.”  The title of the play refers to the quandary of where these kids will reside, a source of friction that is finally resolved. [more]

Entertaining Mr. Sloane

May 8, 2017

That this production has such an ideal Sloane puts it into the stratosphere.  With his sculpted physique, prevalent musculature and chiseled features that recall the young Malcolm MacDowell (who played the role in a 1975 London revival), Matt Baguth is mesmerizing.  Speaking in a whispery, low, lightly accented voice, Mr. Baguth commands attention.  Whether wearing Mod clothing or encased in black leather, and a tight white T-shirt, Baguth vividly captures the predatory nature of this youthful interloper with sly conviction. [more]

Lone Star

April 25, 2017

Alternating between flavorfully humorous and darkly revealing dialogue, Mr. McLure vibrantly renders his characters’ personalities and motivations. There’s a hilarious analysis of the incompatibility of eating a Baby Ruth candy bar while drinking beer. With this sociological slice of life, McLure has created three strong roles for actors, and this production’s cast plays them with assurance. [more]

Villa

March 13, 2017

Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón constructs a simple, engrossing and often funny scenario. Three women, all named Alejandra, have been selected as members of a deliberative, special committee from a larger body who could not reach a decision over a searing national issue. There’s suspense, shocking revelations and Survivor-like machinations. [more]

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

October 24, 2016

British author Stephen Sharkey’s new translation is faithful to Brecht, but the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble has fashioned the presentation as an old-time radio show. Brecht was known for his self-conscious style of distancing and alienation, where the audience is made aware that they are watching a play but this additional device is a distraction and not as funny as intended. [more]

Murrow

May 13, 2016

Many members of the American public and the journalism community continue to revere Edward R. Murrow as a paragon of integrity in the field of news reporting. Due to the skillfully writing of Joseph Vitale, Joseph Menino’s tremendous performance and its strong physical production, Murrow affirms his noble legacy. [more]

The Gambler

January 27, 2016

Director Lordi-Kirkham has unaccountable staged the play as though it were a radio play or a reading, making it more talky and static than it needs to be. While the text is faithful to the Russian novella with some trimming to reduce the number of characters, the use of both a narrator and much of the narration from the novel makes this seem like an interior monologue rather than a play. Unfortunately, the actors playing the twenty somethings who are given the most stage time do not have the technique necessary to bring off this psychological drama. At two hours and 10 minutes with no intermission, this is a long evening in the theater. [more]

Rough Draft

September 28, 2015

Performed at The Wild Project, a stylish downtown venue with a raked stage, the set (John Lavigne), lighting (Robert M. Stevenson) and sound design (Jorge I. Sanchez) all compliment the production and enhance the overall experience. Co-written by Wittrock, Donovan and Custer, and conceived and developed by the members of Improbable Stage, "Rough Draft" is a piece of theater which remains in its own category; a challenging, creative, and unique work presented by a group of talented artists with a message. [more]

American Moor

April 29, 2015

A play that has much opportunity to expose the relationship of casting director with actor, not merely across the table but across racial backgrounds and stereotypes begins as it promises. Enter Cobb, a large black man, anxiously awaiting the call of the casting assistant as he proceeds to unapologetically disturb the entire waiting room with his nervous behavior. The thought of playing Othello brings back memories of his youth and a single theater teacher unwilling to allow him to play any role other than that which he might be traditionally cast in for an assignment. As the character’s exposition is beginning to evolve, the casting agent interrupts us. We can tell the actor has an agenda to prove; that now as a grown man in this audition things will be different. [more]

The Few

May 18, 2014

Gideon Glick as Matthew is terrific, physically disappearing into his character so completely that he would not be recognizable in the street. Actors can get away with playing misfits as a collection of tics, so it's a great thing to see Glick dig deeper and infuse Matthew's every movement with his particular personality. [more]