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Girl, 20

The premise sounds like a setup for “Reviving Ophelia: The College Years”: a young woman is sent to therapy after she writes a sexually explicit essay for freshman comp. But first-time playwright Ellen Fairey focuses instead on the two young men who (improbably) observe the therapy sessions through a two-way mirror–one of them a psychology […]

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La Bella Vita

First-time playwright Charles Berg depicts one very busy night in the very busy lives of the waitstaff at a very busy restaurant. A lot happens in the break room where the play is set–hooking up, breaking up, toking up, and so on. But recounting a string of incidents isn’t quite the same as telling a […]

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Judy’s Scary Little Christmas

This peculiar musical by James Webber, David Church, and Joe Patrick Ward creates a kind of celebrity purgatory where Judy Garland hosts a Christmas special featuring other dead people, including Liberace, Joan Crawford, Lillian Hellman, and Richard Nixon. We’re not told this little variety hour is being transmitted from the great beyond, however, until after […]

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Talley & Son

The Eclipse Theatre Company ends its season of Lanford Wilson plays with the weakest of his three dramas about the Talley family. Revolving around fathers and sons, the piece is loaded with filial catastrophes: the looming death of the repellent patriarch, the younger generation’s reluctance to take over the family business, the sudden arrival of […]

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Cloud 9

Caryl Churchill’s 1979 comedy uses one sexually mixed-up family to poke fun at British imperialism and the mores of the Victorian era and the 20th century. In the first act, colonial bureaucrat Clive keeps as tight a rein on his family’s sexuality as he does on the African natives’ freedom. In the second, 100 years […]

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Dream Juice

Writer-director Kitty Mortland’s new musical for children centers around a shy junior high schooler named Stewie and his complicated plan to gain popularity: he contaminates the town’s vegetable supply with a special serum that lets him enter the dreams of anyone who ingests it. Stewie reasons that if he appears in the other kids’ dreams, […]

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Groucho: A Life in Revue

The comedy of Groucho Marx–based largely on inspired insults and chaotic wordplay–was never what you would call tender. This biodrama by Groucho’s son, Arthur Marx, and Robert Fisher seeks to show that the man did indeed have a heart, and a heavy one, full of worry and regret. It’s pretty much the standard tears-of-a-clown approach […]

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The Insanity of Mary Girard

Based on actual events, Lanie Robertson’s one-act tells the story of a woman whose wealthy, powerful husband has her committed to a mental hospital in 1790s Philadelphia. Although no one knows the truth about the real Mary Girard’s mental health, Robertson makes her an unambiguous feminist martyr, wrongly imprisoned and thus entitled to spout female-empowerment […]

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Tuxedo Love

Jenna Newman’s new play with music is a brief gay-marriage allegory: when a couple of male penguins announce their intention to wed, their fellow zoo animals raise a ruckus. More Bambi than Animal Farm, this production from Theatre 5.2.1 doesn’t aim for cultural relevance or even comedy so much as it aims for the cutesy–which […]

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The Twilight Gallery

For this late-night offering, Hell in a Handbag Productions camps up a few classic Twilight Zone and Night Gallery episodes, an idea much funnier in conception than in execution. Part of the problem seems to be that entering the Twilight Zone usually requires the company to abandon its preferred era, the late 70s. The best […]

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Frankenstein’s Legs

Henri Bergson argues that an essential component of comedy is ignorance of self: the less self-aware a character is, the funnier he is. And in this very funny one-man show by Michael Moore (not that Michael Moore), most of the laughs come from the way his stage persona–a languid, self-loving, vaguely racist, acid-tongued queen–remains oblivious […]

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Everything Nice

This would be a good title for a sketch comedy show playfully mocking gender stereotypes. But aside from video projections of some undeniably hilarious early-60s TV commercials–the type that worked Betty Friedan into a lather–this evening from the all-girl Firecracker Show never really goes that route. Which would be fine if the writing were sharper, […]

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The Hermit in New York

Playwright Teresa Weed uses the writings of Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and radical Catholic thinker, as the starting point for this story of his life. But her placid, overlong, dry-as-dust assemblage of set pieces for Still Point Theatre Collective fails to capture the essence of a man who was both removed from the world […]