It’s theater round up time–some hits, some misses. Here’s the lay of the land as it looks to me:

 Now onstage and presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company known for its excellent and offbeat slate of offerings in a modest space is THE ANTELOPE PARTY. This droll but disturbing and universally resonant play is especially timely and looks at the subcultures among us and the anatomy of group politics. Here a group of folks dress up and meet as characters in a world of cosplay called “My Little Pony” which morphed from Hasbro toys into an animated TV series, a video game, a film– all mining the theme “Friendship is Magic!”


Originally aimed at young girls and highlighting empowering messages for them, this fantasy world now includes adult men who call themselves “Bronies.” It’s not long however before the participants in this gentle, sweet escape from the realities of a harsh world begin to be invaded by outside forces from an aggressive neighborhood watch group. In fact the very “otherness” and secrecy of the group make them especially vulnerable. Slowly, friendship and magic give way to creeping paranoia, conspiracy theories, cruelty, and power grabs from within! Brooks Reeves directs this well-constructed play and excellent, tight little ensemble with attention to its sly shift in tone on a tiny stage. It was fun to see company artistic director Danielle Fauteux Jacques as an outsider in a compromised position. The production is remarkably potent for its intimate staging, and a necessary eye-opener in these divisive times where power corrupts, truth is elusive, and fascism is just around the corner. Through March 17! 


Then there’s THIRST at Lyric Stage which left me parched. The play which has the same title as an early Eugene O’Neill one-act about three people clinging to life on a raft after a shipwreck, metaphorically describes two Irish immigrants and an American chauffeur adrift and trying to find their footing in Ronan Noone’s play of the same name. Noone’s THIRST is set in O’Neill’s infamous household where in the next room, the Tyrones are drinking and drugging themselves through a long day’s journey into night. It’s quite the loaded set up. In fact the opening scene begins in the wee hours as chief cook Bridget (Aimee Doherty) at the tail-end of a bender is being “eased” up the back stairs by recovering alcoholic and family chauffeur Jack (Michael Kaye). These two are eventually joined by Bridget’s niece and foster daughter Cathleen who’s arrived on America’s shores with spunk and hope in abundance.

What follows is a long slow slog through mountains of dialogue and not enough drama to support it. I wish director Courtney O’Connor had coaxed more out of Doherty’s  Bridget — perhaps a glimpse of who she had been before so much of life had taken its toll.  Michael Kaye’s Jack feels underwritten, more of a plot device, a vehicle for possibility than a flesh and blood man who feels some heat for Bridget. Kate Fitzgerald as young Cathleen is the brightest spot and has the most to work with here as she navigates the iceberg looming in her life better than those on the other side of the kitchen door. Luckily Janie E. Howland’s ultra realistic set with its running water and smoking skillet kept me somewhat interested. Through March 17!


There’s a show on now that is exactly as advertised: “A Colossal Disaster Live On-Stage!” I’m talking about Greater Boston Stage Company’s TITANISH.This New England premiere has been designed as an hilarious send-up of James Cameron’s epic film TITANIC, here called “Tight A-nick.” Can giddy references to the “poop deck” be far behind? How about:

Cal: “Rose, come.”  Rose: “I wish.” or  “I think Rose has got a bit of Jack’s spunk in her” or “You’re more likely to have a monkey fly out of your cannoli.”

And that’s just the tip of this cringey adolescent iceberg. Some folks at the matinee I attended left; others laughed like crazy. I laughed at one number — the whole cast singing the Titanic theme song with kazoos and photos of Celine Dion hung over the railing. Otherwise, I couldn’t help but think that going down with the Titanic would have offered a way out. Through March 17.



But do see Boston Lyric Opera’s EURYDICE now onstage at The Huntington. Music by the brilliant Matthew Aucoin (I know his brilliant father Boston Globe theater critic Don Aucoin) is textured, mysterious, and sometimes very beautiful, especially when sung by Sydney Mancasola in the title role and the possessor of a lithe and haunting soprano. Eurydice’s scenes with her father in the underworld sung by baritone Mark S. Doss are the most moving– which is problematic if it isn’t balanced by Eurydice’s equally ardent feelings for her husband.  Sarah Ruhl’s libretto based on her play recenters the myth on Eurydice’s journey rather than on that of Orpheus (tenor Elliot Madore). Here the emotional energy is spent on a conflicted young bride who wanders away from her husband on their wedding day seeking her father. I wanted more about the depth of her feeling for Orpheus, more passionate love songs to ramp up her conflict in this triangle and the tragedy. The sets with rainy elevators to the underworld, two-story split interlocking staircase, and kooky costumes were fabulous, however–somehow minimal and over the top thanks to Douglas Fitch. Hades was a spectacle unto himself: envision David Portillo in iridescent pink and green scales, feathers, high heels and sequined bikini bottom like a horned and hairy Elton John in a wicked under-wonderland. This EURYDICE is well-worth seeing through March 10!