Where we look at what was big this week with reviews from viewers like you.
1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I was completely enthralled. Again, the Baron’s Men present a spectacular performance. I’d never seen Titania and Oberon played in such a way that while they are arguing, you can see the sexual attraction between them (usually you just wonder why they’re still together). It was mesmerizing. Bottom was so annoying from the beginning that I wanted to throw him off the stage. I almost liked him better in his changed form. The two pairs of young lovers running through the woods with the men loving first one woman, then the other, provided much entertainment. It was well played by all. The costumes and masks, oh sweet stars, they were amazing, and you never knew from whence a fae would appear. And I mustn’t forget to mention Puck. You’ve never seen Puck played this way. Very naughty is Puck, and full of audacity and fun. I could write much more, but the long and short of it is: it is worth your time, it is worth your money, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. Go see it.
2. Frankenstein: The Trouble Puppet Show
TroublePuppet Theater Company
Frankenstein, of course, is the story of a demented scientist’s attempt to invigorate the inanimate with a spark of life. In Trouble Puppet’s great production, the secret is… theater! Sort of. There’s an incredible meta-puppetry story going on here: the puppeteers bring to life the characters who bring to life their own creatures, and in some cases, their own puppets. The puppets’ puppets which come to life are emblematic of everything great about this production — there’s just so much love and character in those little guys! And there’s so much love all over this show; each character is precisely and compassionately crafted and manipulated (and beheaded, more often than not). The script, which is very funny but a little meandering, has an almost Brechtian-quality to it, using puppetry to force us to consider the world intellectually as well as emotionally. But TP’s love is what brings Frankenstein to life — many thanks to Hopkins and company for sharing it with us!
Austin Scottish Rite Theatre
What a lovely, lovely show! Thank you Hamlet cast and crew and everyone involved so much for having the dedication and passion to put this together to share with Austin… and doing it so beautifully! There were so many wonderful, wonderful moments. I’m awe-struck by how simple and clear the text was. I understood EVERY word and it was clear that all of the performers did too. Beautiful, beautiful job!! I hope that it sells out every night like a show of this caliber rightly deserves!! This is definitely a must-see in Austin!! Justin Scalise is an AMAZING Hamlet with level upon level upon level of intensity. Babs George and Julia Lorenz-Olson are also unbelievably deep and beautiful!! Truly, so are so many of the performers in this show. GO SEE IT!! My only advice is to take a pillow to sit on as the seats in the theater are a bit uncomfortable! I sincerely hope that you don’t miss this wonderful production!
4. Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection
Harry Ransom Center
A wonderful display of photographs! Have you ever heard of SALT Paper photos? I hadn’t until I saw this exhibit. Also, see the different phases of the moon from the 1800’s, quite amazing. There are so many photographs, by many wonderful photographers. It is very difficult to pinpoint anyone photo that is better than the other. I also enjoyed the display of cameras; one of my favorites was the spy camera. A really cool way to learn about photography, to see where it has been and where it is going. So get going to the Harry Ransom Center and check out this awesome exhibit and see for yourself how truly lucky we are to have a place like the Ransom Center in town!
Not a complex story but oh what life the actors breathed into the story. Casting was so on the money for this one. New faces at Zach, refreshing. The musical directions so sharp. When every element of theatre works together with a good story, this is what you get from Zach’s presentation of RENT. Outstanding, the best, the lead Andrew Cannata (Mark)weaved in and out of the storytelling so flawlessly as did Roderick (Tom), Joshua (Angel) and Ginger Leigh (Maureen)what dazzling display of raunchy but classiness. John Pointer’s voice resonates superbly throughout the production, with a few more productions, he will eventually ease into acting as superbly as he sings. This is the finest of Zach. Go See for Yourself! Viva La Vie B Boheme
Great stuff this week, looking forward to next week.