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Theatre Reviews

It’s easy to have a good time at this Theatre at Anne Arundel Community College showing

Every generation has its rites of passage, not to be confused with steps up on the ladder of maturity. For 40 years, seeing and participating in The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been one of those rites. Part of the rite is dressing up. Part is talking back. Part is making rain with water pistols and tossing bread crusts every which way. Not least is doing The Time Warp.     Can the live Rocky Horror Show compete with the screen version?

It’s all out in the open in this very funny comedy

In 1985, playwright Neil Simon revised his original The Odd Couple for the ladies and called it The (Female) Odd Couple. It’s essentially the same storyline as the original 1968 comedy, but instead of two divorced fellows, there are two divorcees, Olive Madison, a slob and savings-and-loan to her ex-husband; and Florence Unger, a neat-freak whose husband wants a divorce.

Slow change and a bit of redemption in Gilead, Wisconsin

The Spitfire Grill is a musical about redemption that isn’t preachy. Written by James Valcq (book and music) and Fred Alley (book and lyrics) it is a musical with only one dance number, albeit a very effective one. It has a comedic touch yet only a few laugh-out-loud lines. It has one powerful song about frustration, made so by the actor who sings it. Its storyline and ending are a bit contrived,  yet there is charm in setting and characters. What to make of this play?

An abstract painting sets cast and audience wondering how well you know your friends — and yourself

In 1994, French playwright Yasmina Reza wrote an intellectual comedy about friendship, the foundations upon which it’s built and the walls we erect to preserve it. Three Moliere Awards, one translation and a Tony later, Art entertains  audiences with a message that seems more relevant than ever in this era of cyber friendships.

Davina Grace Hill

Journeys to familiar lands have a comforting appeal because you know what to expect. A different kind of interest comes from visiting new locations and experiencing new outlooks. This is true for vacations, as well as theater. In Dignity Players’ current superb offering of Almost, Maine, you get to experience a magical new place in theater and discover a new site on the map of the human heart.

Think your family is dysfunctional? You’ve not seen The Lion in Winter.

The Lion in Winter, now playing at 2nd Star Productions, is a masterful, gleeful verbal chess game. The players are intense because the fate of a nation and a family dynasty are at stake in this game of ever-changing checkmates.

See the miracle four young student actors achieve with the guidance of pros

Imagine for a moment that you can neither see nor hear, that you careen through life as an animal trapped in a silent, black maze.Omnipotent beings collude against your wild frustration until only your savagery can wear them down enough to earn you meager bribes and scraps of their exasperated affection. Such is the life of six-year-old Helen Keller.

Starting over can be very funny

Chapter 2, now at Colonial Players of Annapolis, is Neil Simon’s comedy about the blossoming of a new relationship in middle age, when starting over means stepping away from your past. Since it is Neil Simon, it is very, very funny.     Simon can condense a reaction or thought into an unexpected but perfect line in a way few other authors can. Add actors and directors who bring great timing to those lines, and the audience gets a crackling good night.

Kleenex needed for this unrequited romance about the surprise of the human condition — as we all know it.

Love Letters is a simple show about a complex relationship chronicled through 50 years of letters. It needs, playwright A.R. Gurney says, “no theater, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance.”     If those actors happen to be a couple? All the better.

Superb casting, sumptuous costumes, stunning sets and whimsical dance can transcend even the flimsiest plot

Remember Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald singing Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, At Last I’ve Found You in their 1935 debut film, Naughty Marietta?     No?     How about Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein?     Ah, I thought so.