Bill Gale

Theater Reviews
2:47 am
Thu July 24, 2014

2nd Story’s “Hay Fever” Is An Overdone Shouting Contest

Members of an eccentric family each invite a friend to the family summer home where the hosts proceed to foist each guest off on a different family member, with alarming and delightful results.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr. / 2nd Story Theatre

Ah, yes, “Hay Fever” one of those plays that became known as “a comedy of manners.” But in truth Coward's 1925 hit really ought to be called a “comedy of ill manners.”

It's Coward's view of a famous family being famously, uproariously, ridiculously bad mannered to point of forcing the family's so-called “guests” to split, to sneak out of the house, to take any measures to get away from the family's self-regard, their “I really don't give a hoot for anything or anyone but myself” attitude.

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Theater Reviews
4:05 am
Thu June 12, 2014

2nd Story’s “Freud’s Last Session” Is Quick And Sharp

Ed Shea is Sigmund Freud in Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain.
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

It’s September, 1939 and the carnage of World War II is just beginning. Germany has invaded Poland. The British and their allies are preparing to fight. The world is on edge.

And, frankly, so are Dr. Freud and Professor Lewis, two of the great intellectuals of their time who are meeting in Freud’s office in England. But it’s not the Nazi war machine or the reluctant answer of its provocations by the British that’s under debate.

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Theater Reviews
4:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

The Gamm's "Blackbird" Takes A Tough Look At Molestation

Madeleine Lambert as Una, Jim O'Brien as Ray in "Blackbird."
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

Yes, “Blackbird,” by Scottish author David Harrower, is a toughie. There’s no way around but to say that it focuses intimately, deeply on child molestation. It considers who was involved. It asks if whether both of its main characters – a middle aged man and a 12-year-old girl -- did not each suffer greatly. And, most tellingly, it offers no solutions.

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Theater Reviews
2:17 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Contemporary Theater Company’s “Cloud Nine” Worth Catching

Ah, yes, welcome back, “Cloud Nine.” Churchill’s play was a hit in certain quarters back there when the world as we knew it seemed to be tumbling onto a landscape that was unclear and wonderful and scary.

The play won an Obie, Off Broadway’s version of the Tony Awards. It was done around the country by risk-taking regional theaters including a crackerjack production in the 1983-84 season at what we then called the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence.

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Theater Reviews
6:35 am
Fri April 4, 2014

The Gamm’s Macbeth Is A Big Bang Production

Jeanine Kane as Lady Macbeth in The Gamm Theatre's production of MacBeth.
Credit Peter Goldberg

Well, that’s right. Filled with shouting, drumming and blood, blood, blood, this Macbeth is a fearsome production. Director Fred Sullivan Jr. has missed no chance to put a point right under your nose, and into your ears.  Drums pound, soldiers shout and women weep.

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Arts & Culture
5:16 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Festival Ballet Delivers Fine Work, Powerful Dancing

Ruth Whitney and Alan Alberto dance in Festival Ballet's Up Close on Hope.
Credit Thomas Nola-Rion

Ah, yes, definitely. You could call this “Up Close” wide-ranging. Then again you could say, ahh, it’s a mixed bag. But, fortunately, this show has enough fine work – some powerful dancing, and one emotionally charged piece – to make it worth recommending.

What artistic director Misha Djuric has done this time is turn basically to his own company for inspiration and dances. The result shows work from young dancers that are sometimes amusing, sometimes not so much. Then again Festival’s stronger veterans also put forth some fine work.

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Theater Review
4:24 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Trinity Rep's "Oliver!" Is A Solid Winner

Phineas Peters as Oliver and Noah Parets as Artful Dodger in Trinity Rep's Oliver! by Lionel Bart, based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Directed by Richard and Sharon Jenkins, set design by Eugene Lee, costume design by WIlliam Lane.
Credit Mark Turek

 

It certainly is. With a book, and music and lyrics, by the era’s one-time

wunderkind, Lionel Bart, “Oliver!” received 23 curtain calls opening night and

sailed on for six years in London’s West End. Then it became a Broadway hit and

there was a very successful film, too.

 

Later on, producer Cameron Macintosh took over and ran successful revivals.

Many theater fans loved “Oliver!” for its gutsy, and plucky, drive. It’s wistful

happy ending helped, too.

 

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Theater Reviews
3:15 am
Fri February 7, 2014

2nd Story’s “Seven Keys To Baldpate” Is Quick & Bright

Ara Boghigian is William Hallowell Magee,and Tanya Anderson is Myra Thronhill in George M. Cohan’s “Seven Keys to Baldpate”
Credit Richard W. Dionne, Jr.

Right-o. Let me say it up front. “Seven Keys to Baldpate” at 2nd Story is nothing less than a charmer. It’ll tickle your funny bone and warm your heart in the middle of this obstreperous winter of our discontent.

Okay, that’s enough of 1913-type hyperbole. But there’s no question that the Providence-born Cohan knew what he was doing. He adapted “Baldpate” from a novel by the author of the Charlie Chan film series. He said the play is both a farce and a melodrama. He was right on both counts.

On-stage, “Baldpate” is filled with goofy moments and overwrought happenings.

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Theater Reviews
6:01 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Gamm’s “The Big Meal” Is Satisfying

Wendy Overly, Richard Donelly, Steve Kidd, Emeline Easton in Gamm's production of The Big Meal.
Credit Peter Goldberg / The Gamm Theatre

In an interview concerning the New York production of “The Big Meal” the 33- year-old author, Dan LeFranc, makes a point of saying that his own growing up saw, quote, “lots of support but also a ton of friction and fear.”  And that was “critical in making me the kind of writer and person I am today,” he added.

Well, that would be a guy who has sharp instincts both for the jugular and the heart. “The Big Meal” checks out those eight folks in all kinds of ways.

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Theater Reviews
2:12 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Trinity Rep’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” Wild, Almost Wooly

Vanya (Brian McEleney), Masha (Phyllis Kay), Cassandra (Tangela Large) and Spike (Mark Larson) in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" by Christopher Durang.
Credit Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

Ah, yes. Good old Chris Durang. What’s he gotten into now? Over the years he’s been known for such ideosyncratic shows as “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” and, of course, “The Idiots Kasamazov.”

But Durang’s nicely into his 60’s now. Perhaps he’s calmed down a bit?

Well, no. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” concerns Bucks County, PA., Snow White, licking postage stamps, movie stars, the theatuh, voodoo, pricks, getting old and the significance of the blue heron. Among many other things.

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