Play by play: October 30, 2009

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  October 28, 2009

NOW PLAYING
THE CARETAKER | Nora Theatre Company opens its 2009–2010 season with Harold Pinter’s 1960 enigma, in which Aston, who’s had electroshock treatment, brings the homeless and difficult Davies back to his ramshackle apartment and the two fence with each other, Aston trying to please Davies while the audience wonders why. It gets still more complicated when Aston’s younger brother, Mick, enters the picture. Director Daniel Gidron does this play by the book, as perhaps one must, and the production achieves its goal of respectfully, even poignantly presenting a once-groundbreaking work. Still, it’s not perfect. Joe Lanza captures the mercurial Mick’s silkiness but not his menace, and Michael Balcanoff conveys hobo Davies’s puling buoyancy but not his full wiliness and seediness. Even John Kuntz, his shoulders stiff, his eyes darting, sometimes appears to be acting as Aston. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 866.811.4111 | Through November 1 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $35; $25 seniors; $20 students

DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE | The Lyric Stage Company of Boston offers the Boston premiere of this 2008 Off Broadway hit by thirtysomething Pulitzer finalist Sarah Ruhl, contriver of the surreal fantasies The Clean House and Eurydice. Ruhl’s latest smash-up of life and death, profundity and whimsy, centers on a young woman drawn into the life of a stranger whose cell phone she answers — just after he’s bought the farm. Aswim in nonchalance and wonder in a production directed by Carmel O’Reilly and plopped into a skewed, modernist locale by set designer Cristina Todesco, the play’s as whimsical as Ogden Nash on a sidewalk Sprint, yet anchored to earth by troubling themes and forlorn, pressing questions. O’Reilly keeps the fragile comedy’s mock and sorrowful elements in balance, and at the center of Ruhl’s connection-pondering, Heaven-hopping orbit there’s Liz Hayes’s gray-clad, mobile-faced, tentative yet inventive Jean, who finally hears the jumbled music of the spheres and, like the perennial figure in a Jules Feiffer cartoon, dances to it. | 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through November 15 | Curtain 2 pm [November 11] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$54

THE DONKEY SHOW | C-dust pinch-hits for fairy dust in The Donkey Show, Diane Paulus & Randy Weiner’s disco-set riff on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an hour-long work set in the Studio 54–inspired environs of Club Oberon (formerly Zero Arrow Theatre) and framed by episodes of Saturday Night Fever in which you may or may not choose to star. The dramatis personae include Dr. Wheelgood, a gold-lamé-clad Puck on roller skates; club owner Mr. Oberon, who’s out to humiliate his haughty diva girlfriend, Tytania; desperately yearning or cockily dismissive lovers Helen, Dimitri, Mia, and Sander; and a twin couple of ruffle-shirted, Afro-coiffed dudes both named Vinnie. Ingeniously double-cast, sexily supple, and screeching into headsets, they join the paying crowd (a small minority of whom occupy tables in a cabaret area that also sees action) for an immersive night of hedonism and hustle driven by the pounding beat and melodramatic passions of disco hits from the 1970s. | Oberon, Mass Ave + Arrow St, Cambridge | 617.547.8300 | Through January 2 | 8 pm Thurs [October 30] | 8 pm Fri | 8 + 10:30 pm Sat | $25-$49

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
Related: Play by play: November 6, 2009, Dodging death, 2009: The year in theater, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Black Sabbath, Theatrical Plays,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY JEFFREY GANTZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MAMA KNOWS BEST: THE HUNTINGTON'S FEEL-GOOD A RAISIN IN THE SUN  |  March 19, 2013
    Fifty-four years after its groundbreaking Broadway premiere, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun remains as dense, and as concentrated, as its title fruit.
  •   LIGHT WAVES: BOSTON BALLET'S ''ALL KYLIÁN''  |  March 13, 2013
    A dead tree hanging upside down overhead, with a spotlight slowly circling it. A piano on stilts on one side of the stage, an ice sculpture's worth of bubble wrap on the other.
  •   HANDEL AND HAYDN'S PURCELL  |  February 04, 2013
    Set, rather confusingly, in Mexico and Peru, the 1695 semi-opera The Indian Queen is as contorted in its plot as any real opera.
  •   REVIEW: MAHLER ON THE COUCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Mahler on the Couch , from the father-and-son directing team of Percy and Felix Adlon, offers some creative speculation, with flashbacks detailing the crisis points of the marriage and snatches from the anguished first movement of Mahler's unfinished Tenth Symphony.
  •   THE NUTCRACKER: BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP?  |  November 19, 2012
    "Without The Nutcracker , there'd be no ballet in America as we know it."

 See all articles by: JEFFREY GANTZ