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Arts and Culture (Theatre Reviews)

Prime up on the Impressionists to appreciate this Colonial Players performance

Colonial Players’ Inventing van Gogh requires an investment. Come mentally refreshed with a primer on the Impressionists, and you’ll enjoy it. Come unprepared with a weary mind, and you’ll likely be nodding off mid-way through Act I, as much of the audience did on opening night. The dialogue can be tedious.

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Colonial Players offers a lyrical vignette on sources of
strength and faith that lie hidden from sight.

Through methods that seem illogical and almost mystical, diviners or dowsers seek sources of water that lie hidden from sight or scrutiny. The Diviners now playing at Colonial Players of Annapolis uses this metaphor to offer a lyrical vignette on sources of strength and faith that lie hidden from sight but whose power is undeniable.

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Forget the holidays and laugh!

The Bay Theatre Company hits new heights of hilarity with The Foreigner, Larry Shue’s award-winning comedy about personal transformation and miscommunication. Judging from opening night’s nearly full house, local audiences are finally taking note. It’s about time, too, for Annapolis’ only professional theatre, always solid, has matured into exceptional....

Suspiciously well done!

When Something’s Afoot opened on Broadway in 1976, critic Walter Kerr pronounced the musical mystery fundamentally flawed.  Because music relaxes, he said, it’s incompatible with suspense.

Obviously Kerr wasn’t a fan of Hitchcock. But his question remains: Can a suspense murder mystery sustain itself as a musical?

We’ll see.

Does Something’s Afoot give us memorable music? No.

Does it hold great suspense? No.

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There’s a lot to like in the midshipmen’s roots journey to Oklahoma

Green Grow the Lilacs is a love story set in a community on the brink of change: farmers crowding cowboys, Indians assimilating with settlers and Oklahomans pondering the controversial question of the territory’s statehood. In 1931, Lynn Riggs, part Cherokee himself, wrote about people whitewashed by Rogers and Hammerstein for 1940s’ audiences in their musical adaptation, Oklahoma!, which eclipsed the original.

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This dysfunctional family comedy makes for a terrific season opener.

 

The dysfunctional family comedy Keeping Faith is a terrific choice for Twin Beach Players’ season opener. When well-meaning parents kidnap their own daughter to frustrate her May-September romance, it’s high-stakes drama in a low-rent motel. The plot, inspired by a 2007 news sensation, requires only four solid actors and a simple space that lends itself well to cheapening. The Holland Civic Center fills the bill beautifully, and the cast is nearly there.

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Film noir takes the stage.

Murder, mayhem, lies and double-crossing; good gals, bad guys, gangsters, thugs, hard-boiled detectives and hapless bartenders — Earth and Sky has all the elements of film noir. But can the atmospheric genre translate to the stage? Do the intricate and often confusing plot lines of the mid-20th century film style make sense in live theater?

Yes and no.

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The title’s a metaphor; this play’s a triumph

We hear a lot these days about relationships. There’s the romantic kind, and then there are other kinds: husband/wife, brother/sister, parent/offspring as well as the illicit kind, among others, some of which migrate from one form to another. In Bay Theatre’s fine new production, Lips Together, Teeth Apart (we’ll discuss the title later; stick with me), we see relationships that are stretched to the breaking point.

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Don’t miss this burnished Dignity Players’ production

Many of us studied The Crucible in high school. Arthur Miller used the Salem Witch Trials of America’s 17th century to tell a pointed cautionary tale about Red Scare fears and McCarthy Hearings of his own America in the 1940s and 1950s. The Crucible proves itself resilient for our times as well.

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Noel Coward’s wit seldom shows its age

Noel Coward was witty, erudite, classy and provocative. His playwriting gifts continue to make Private Lives — a play he wrote in four days 80 years ago — compelling.

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