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Theatre Reviews

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. Colonial Players goes after noir atmospherics with dark lighting and dramatic musical flourishes. Sometimes, however, it is simply too noir. When actors can’t be seen, atmosphere has trumped storytelling. 

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. Two married couples are spending a holiday weekend at a beach house on Fire Island. Here’s a broad summary of the relationships in play:

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.

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.

This 1992 Neil Simon comedy was a snoozer in the 1996 film adaptation, and it remains drowsy in this productions.

Jake’s Women, 2nd Star Productions’ fall season opener, presents an attractive setting for some fine local talent. But despite a valiant effort on the company’s part, this 1992 Neil Simon comedy fails to grab the audience by the collar and draw them back for more. It was a snoozer in the 1996 film adaptation, even with an all-star cast headed by Alan Alda, and it remains drowsy in this production.

Expect great music — if not great theater

Buddy Holly was a remarkable music innovator; he heard disparate influences and blended them to expand the limits of the newly named rock and roll musical genre. He was so remarkable that his short three-year career and his short 22-year life span are both still being celebrated and appreciated today, 51 years after his death in a plane crash.

Saved or damned? You’ll have to book a seat to find out.

Salvation or damnation? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Sounds like heavy stuff, but the trial of history’s most notorious traitor, Judas Iscariot, is the funniest show of the summer: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, playing through August 14 at Dignity Players of Annapolis.

All the omens are right for a long run

The traveling Infinity Theatre Company has set itself quite the act to follow, beginning its run on stage with the longest-running musical ever, The Fantasticks, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Like the unstoppable train that is two children told no, the show succeeds so well that the new company seems fated to a long run.

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. š

Used in a sentence, the headline above might be, “The shortest review on record for the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre’s current production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: 

Come to this garden. It’s a beautiful place.