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Review: Portland Stage's The 39 Steps works the funny bone

Comedy, not suspense
The driving force of Hitchcock's 1939 film The 39 Steps is suspense, as unwitting bachelor Richard Hannay gets caught up in espionage, train escapes, weapons technology, and the future of Europe and the world.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 07, 2010


Go inside radio drama

The tale-tellers behind Final Rune Productions create what they call "stories for the ear."
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 07, 2010


Review: Steampunk at the Players' Ring

Metallic myths
Since they began gaining mass popularity in the '80s, the antique copper laser-guns, cog-studded corsets and alternate electronic empires of the steampunk genre have been buzzing the cultural circuitry ever more.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 06, 2010


Review: Seacoast Rep's clever Rooms

Rock and love
Monica (Christine Dulong), a go-getter songwriter and Glasgow’s "young Jewish entertainer of the year," at first seems a poor match for snarky rocker Ian (Graham Bailey), who hides out in his bedroom noodling on his guitar and taking slugs from a flask. ("Can you blame me?" he asks. "Have you seen the public lately?")
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  September 22, 2010


Fall Theater Preview: Not quite Oklahoma!

August: Osage County + steampunk robots
Perhaps the most anticipated Maine premiere this season is the darkly caustic family apocalypse of August: Osage County (October 14-November 7), the much-lauded 2007 tragicomedy by Tracey Letts, to be produced by the GOOD THEATER .
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  September 15, 2010


Review: Watch Born Yesterday, don't act that way

See for yourself
Born Yesterday  recalls the optimism of the post-World War II era, when the economy was booming, the Good War had made the world rational and safe for democracy, and millions of Americans were taking advantage of the GI Bill.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  September 08, 2010


Naked truths

Ribald, and sobering, tales of first encounters
Although this review of My First Time , a show about virginity loss, appears in our Student Survival Guide issue, several of the play's characters are well into their 30s and still — deliberately or not — waiting.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 26, 2010


Monty Python takes the stage at MSMT

Airspeed + swallows
"Adult Situations," a sign in the theater lobby promises, though as my companion eagerly commented pre-curtain, the disclaimer should perhaps also include a warning of "Childish Situations."
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 18, 2010


Isn't it swell?

MSMT's Chicago is a wry spectacle
The musical satire Chicago first hit the boards in 1975, the same year as A Chorus Line , and you could say that the two shows highlight two sides of the era's ethos: The latter follows dancers through feel-good, encounter-group-style personal affirmations; the former charts a dancer-murderess in her flashy, cynical rise to celebrity queen.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 04, 2010


Freeport Shakespeare stages a fully appointed premiere

Outdoor Bard-ing
A new opportunity for free al fresco Shakespeare launches this week in Freeport: The Freeport Shakespeare Festival stages its premiere, a richly laden production of The Tempest , from August 3-6 in L.L. Bean's Discovery Park, directed by Julie George-Carlson, who is also founder and Artistic Director.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 04, 2010

Local funnyfolk do improv

Comic relief
Major cities like Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles have long rounded up their fastest and funniest in yearly extravaganzas of improvisational comedy, and this year, Portland joins their ranks.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 04, 2010


Making some waves

Fenix's '60s Night in the park
Only a minute or two into the Fenix Theatre Company's Twelfth Night , certain principals are already wet and flailing on the floor of the reflecting pool in Deering Oaks Park.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 28, 2010


Two for the show

Mark Twain, playwright? See his work at Monmouth
Though a famous man in his own lifetime, the quintessentially American humorist Mark Twain was never known as a playwright in his day.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 20, 2010


Double vision

Monmouth's error-less Comedy
As someone who watches a lot of Shakespeare's comedies, I'm delighted to report that the Theater at Monmouth's production of Comedy of Errors  is nothing but fresh, non-stop, stand-out fun, from shipwreck to filial embraces.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 14, 2010

Star power

Seacoast Rep's top-notch Rent
Seacoast Rep's top-notch Rent
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 13, 2010


Smart acting

Lyric's clever cast in Fools
When Neil Simon penned Fools , writes director Celeste Green in the program notes to her Lyric Music Theater production of the 1981 comedy, he was playing to lose: He was hoping not to make us laugh and cry, but to hose his investors and flout his ex-wife, who was promised the profits of his next play.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 24, 2010


Coming back to life

MSMT rolls out a wonderful Patsy Cline
The season at Maine State Music Theatre opens with the beautiful music of Always...Patsy Cline , Ted Swindley's feel-good celebration of the remarkable singer (Jenny Lee Stern) and her charms both on and off the stage.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 16, 2010


With feeling

Mad Horse's latest show has exceptional heart
From the darkness, a hand strikes chalk against a spot-lit blackboard: July 1981 , it writes, and then, 16 .
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 10, 2010


Choosing teams

West Side Story’s powerful reminder of peril
Remember how not too long ago, people were celebrating the United States’ entrance into a “post-racial” era?
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 26, 2010


More Bard, another park

Acorn takes Shakespeare to the Riverbank
Just as fiddleheads and lilacs sprung early this year, so have the urban-pastoral pleasures of al fresco Shakespeare.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 19, 2010


Organic farce

PSC’s fugue-ish Bach at Leipzig
The Thomaskirche church, in Leipzig, is a hub of musical influence in Germany’s booming Baroque arts scene.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 12, 2010

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