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.
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
I couldn’t imagine a better way to experience the final chapter in the Matthew Shepherd history than on the City Theatre’s intimate stage with NxNW’s uniquely assembled cast of talent who are approaching this important piece with the reverence it deserves. The story is told in unassuming, straightforward interpretations. The characters are complex, infuriating, captivating, laughable, and above all, human. Each actor seems to be operating in conviction that these are actual people, not “roles” in work of fiction. Within seconds one loses the sense of being an audience to be entertained and instead begins to feel a witness to the unfolding of a small American town’s real life struggle for identity and redemption as seen through the eyes of the Tectonic Theatre. For those of you who, like me find yourself burnt out on the Austin Theatre scene’s ongoing obsession with shock-nudity, spectacle and buckets of stage gore, you are in for a refreshingly sincere experience.
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!
In the first five minutes of the play, an actor playing a director argues with an actress playing an actress playing a cockney housemaid about newspapers, telephone receivers and sardines. And that’s a pretty apt introduction to Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off.” This funny farce thrives on a quick ascension of ridiculous complications made only more complicated by the play-within-a-play structure that rotates focus (and an impressively massive set) from the onstage world in act one, to the backstage world in act two, and back for act three. The casts’ energy and precision seems to fall apart in the third act as everything, well, falls apart, but by that time the audience is won over by the players endearing characterizations and sheer joy of playing. I and the crowd around me in WOBCP’s spaciously comfy new digs were all grins. And the overwhelming warmth that surrounds this community playhouse in Leander TX is, by itself, something worth smiling about.