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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Companies Reviewed#
Kudzu Playhouse5
Alliance Theatre Company1
7 Stages1
Essential Theatre1
Art Within1
Actor's Express1
Average Rating Given : 3.33333
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

A War In A Manger, by Chris Cragin Day
Well that ticked me off...
Monday, March 27, 2006
1.0
Lets see... where do I begin...

I saw this show opening night and was quite hopeful that it, much like "Love Jerry" that I saw earlier this year, would be a very stirring performance. Little did I know what was in store.

Amy Adams & Tony Foresta (Rachel & Father Peter) I put these to main characters together for this review for one reason... I hated them both. Neither Ms. Adams nor Mr. Foresta showed once ounce of passion while they were on stage, to say nothing of the fact that neither of them were believable at all. Ms. Adams choice to play a flippant Grad Studenteque film maker was absolutely insulting. As many of you know I have been following the Jill Carroll story closely and to many anyone, man or woman, who goes into a war torn region in order to document what is going on there anything other than unbelievably passionate is just plain pathetic. Ms. Adams seemed like she was just trying to get a good grade on a school project. Mr. Foresta showed an equal lack of passion in portraying a Priest from America who volunteers to go to the Holy Land and protect a sacred site. While I could go on, and on, and on about these two I won't other than to say I found their performances to be a waste of oxygen.

Manny Oliviera (Mayor) This character was actually one of the saving graces of the show. While he was talking on his cell phone trying to resolve this conflict he was positively electric. Possible his talent as compared to other performances left me wondering why he was not in a much larger venue. I would actually say his performance is the single best I have seen in a male this year. It was clear to me that he knew his subject matter and actually cared about the character he was portraying... he made art.

Tom Thon (Hassam) This was another character that actually pulled the show out of the crapper for me. While at times I felt he could have been a little more clear, or had more volume with his speech rather, I saw a man who was willing to do anything for his cause. The speech he makes to Rachel about why his forces use suicide bombers left me absolutely breathless.

Ford Lindsey (Yusuf) This was a child actor so I am not going to say anything much other than someone at the theater needs to get him a dialect coach.

Greg Holmes (Ayat) This character was a smaller one but Mr. Holmes did a fine job playing the "muscle" of the organization.

For my final thought about this show I am going to have to take a MAJOR issue with the playwright, Chris Cragin Day. Rather than go into how sappy I thought it was to be ULTRA politically correct with this story I will simply state this... While I understand that historical fiction must have some degree of poetic license I have a HUGE problem with totally changing the outcome of said history. In reality this conflict was resolved rather peacefully, as compared to other conflicts in the area, with the exiling of several Palestinian militants. However, Mrs. Cragin decided to throw historical fact to the wayside and end it with a suicide bombing of a sacred site. It was irresponsible and I cannot believe that she, or anyone involved with Art Within, would think that completely disregarding what actually happened during the final hours of this situation would not be a simply dissrepectful thing to do. Shame on you Mrs. Cragin and shame on you Art Within.

Tyler Schaker

P.S. I should have rated this a 2 as some of the actors were good as I mentioned above but clearly the lack of respect for history pissed me the hell off.

Come On In My Kitchen, by Robert Earl Price
What was that
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
2.0
Well...hummmm... well... welllll... I just didn't like it. While I agree with Brad that there were "some" talented people on stage by far I didn't not enjoy the show. I found the characters of CR, CP and CT to be a little to "actory," if you know what I mean. CP heee kneeewww heeee waaaassss onnnnn staaaaggggeee. I am sorry for the strange text but I think you all know what I mean. To me the only "stand-outs" were the blues singer and the "devil" character. These women had unbelieveable voices. I enjoyed the staging of the show and the use of the projected images. I do have to say though I found the lady who sat stage right and held the camera to be a bit distracting as she was 2 seats away from me.

Maybe I just don't have enough book learnin but I just couldn't "get" the show. Was the author trying to condemn African American's for selling thier souls to become successful or merely acknowleding that it is something that must be done in order to get ahead? Also there were many comments made by the characters that I just don't agree with. Could it would be because a caucasian can't understand the view from African American eyes? Maybe so.

Tyler Schaker

Play On, by Rick Abbot
I laughed the whole way through
Sunday, March 5, 2006
4.0
Well this was certainly a comedy that caught me by suprise. It is one of those that when you read it you think, "well maybe that will be good," but when you see it on stage it is a riot. While there were a few things that I thought could have been different it was still, by far, one of the best/funniest comedies I have seen in quite a while.

Now to the cast...

Brink Miller (Henry Benish/Lord Dudley) Mr. Miller, as usual, protrayed a well defined character. His interactions with the cast, especially with Jeannie Hinds who played his wife, were very believable. The only thing I would have liked to have seen from him would be a greater emotional shift in the third act when everything goes... well for lack of a better phrase... "to hell in a hand basket."

Jeannie Hinds (Polly Benish/Lady Margaret) Having not seen Mrs. Hinds on stage in many years, "Rumors" in 98 I believe was the last, I was very pleased to see her on stage again. The interaction between her and her on stage husband was tangable and believable, no doubt their long "real life" friendship easly translated to the stage. She hand wonderful facial characteristics (Loved the stare DS!!!!) throughout the show, however, her volume on stage could have been better as there were times that I had trouble hearing her. I also felt she missed a few opportunities to have "Diva Moments" as the Matriarch of "The Roswell Players," especially in the third act.

Ned Thurman (Saul Watson/ Dr. Rex Forbes) I loved this character. Mr. Thurman, much like Mr. Pridgen, did a wondreful job in creating 2 seperate characters to portray. His "evil doctor" was perfect. All he needed was a few test tubes and some dry ice and he could have been planning to take over the world.


Clint Pridgen (Billy Carewe/Stephen Sellers) As I mentioned above Mr. Pridgen created two very different characters. His facial movements were terrific and his VPS superb.

Rennee Locher (Violet Imbry/Diana Lassiter) I enjoyed Ms. Locher as Violet, however, I think she could have done more as Diana. To me she didn't do enough to make 2 seperate people. Perhaps playing the later a bit more "clueless" would have been a better choice for my taste.

Kim Burdges (Smitty/Dorris) While this is an ensemble piece I believe Ms. Burdges took one of the smaller characters and really did something with it. She stood out when she was on stage and I loved the fact that she was in character the whole time, even when the action was no where near her.

Stacey Padgett (Stacy/Director) This was a character that I believe really could have gone farther. In the beginning I liked the character but as the play prgressed she was the most calm director I have ever seen. To me the comedy was missed when, in the second and third act, she didn't start having the mental break down she so rightly deserved.

Mary Ritenor (Agnus) I loved Mrs. Ritenor as this character. Having worked with her myself she protrayed this very true to life. The only thing I will say about her is that I believe she looked to good for the part. Meaning she had perfect hair and beautiful makeup. I have never had a stage manager that looked that good, especially when things are going so wrong.

Amy Dell (Louise) Humm... Well Ms. Dell was very funny but to me she was a bit to characturish. Seeing that all the other actors were characturish on purpose while portraying the play with in the play I can see how this would be easy to do, but, none the less it stood out in a way that I don't believe it should have.

Peggy Davis (Phyllis) To me this character was the stand out of the show. I have known sooooo many playwrights who were JUST LIKE THIS!!! Mrs. Davis portrayed "full of my self" perfectly and I simply loved her tip-toeing back and forth in the third act.


To summerize this was a great show. The only major "flaw" I believe is with the script. Rick Abbot kinda beat some jokes to death, IE the coffee, and I believe the third act peaked a little to soon. Where it should have been an arc it was more like a plateau. This to me was of no fault of the actors or director. It was just too much to early. That being said I HIGHLY recommend this show as I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

Tyler Schaker

Barefoot In The Park, by Neil Simon
Interesting
Monday, February 20, 2006
-1.0
Let me begin with saying that I am not giving a rating for this production as the Lead actress, Brandy Meinhardt, was not performing the final weekend for which I was a patron. Now on to the review.

Jason Meinhardt (Corey Bratter) I found Mr. Meinhardts portrayal to be missing something during this show. I have to give him credit, though, due to the fact that his leading lady got the ole switcharoo for the final weekend and his professionalism allowed him to still deliever a amicable performance. This particular show is not my favorite but I believe the actor "knew he was in a comedy" just a little to well. Some of the jokes and actions were a little characturish. This is a fine line with a Simon comedy but one that must be carefully tiptoed on. I also found the smooches between him and Corie to be lacking in passion. This, once again, can be attributed to the replacement actress. I am sure had it still been his wife he was kissing there would have been plenty.

Elizabeth Fricke (Corie Bratter) I personally didn't not like this actress' choices, however, I will do nothing but give her praise as she came in with just two of three days of rehearsal and did the show. That shows professionalism and kindness, for that I thank you.

Rail Elsworth (Victor Velasco) I throughly enjoyed this actors performance. He knew where the aforementioned line was an stayed right on it. The only thing that I noticed was his accent. When it was on it was perfect but there were times that he dropped it just a tad. That left me wondering if it was a choice or simply trying to be understood clearly.

Linda Niles (Ethel Banks) I love her. I had never seen her on stage before but will surely not miss her again. Her physicality was perfect. She was endearing and very funny. She did go over the characture line a bit from time to time but such is life in Simon world I suppose. The only thing I can think of as far as a sujestion would be to amp up the volume. I was on the back row and it was hard to understand her, but only sometimes.

Greg Fitzgerald (Harry Pepper) Funny. He did a lot with a small part and his discomfort in his final appearance was very very clear. The one thing I didn't like about him was I believe he over played the breathing from coming up the stairs. Ethel was an older woman and (Linda I love you, please don't hate me for saying this) was heavier. She didn't breath nearly as hard as he (A man in his 30's who was thin) did. That didn't make sence to me.

There were also several technical issues I had with the show.
1. Why was there no ice in the Martini shaker?
2. Why did the call box have no button for Corie to push
3. Why was there no speaker on the call box
3. Why where the packages that were droped in the begging odviously empty?
4. The bedroom and bathroom both had the same back drop, neither of which was fitting for the setting.
5. There was no light in the bed or bath.

These issues are possibly nit-picky however I did find them distracting. Specifically the empty box issue. That was a joke missed entirely. If there had been some cheap plates from target in them that could have been dropped every night for a breaking sound that would have been really really funny. There were a lot of great ideas but I felt the show didn't really come together. It was as if the show couldn't decide if it was a comedy or a farce.

I did enjoy this show and while I, once again, praise Ms. Fricke I would have liked to have seen it with the original cast.


Tyler Schaker

Love Jerry, by Megan Gogerty
Peel of a layer of skin
Friday, February 3, 2006
5.0
That is how I felt upon leaving the theater last night. Brad has done a wonderful job in describing why this show was so good so I will bore you with another pontification. However, I must say that this is the greatest example of what art is since I moved to Atlanta. Mrs. Harris (Kristy Casey) mentions several times that it is "Ok to love one minute and hate the next." That is what is so scarey about this production. The character of Jerry (David Silverman) was a "normal" person. If you did not know his horrible secret then he would be a guy you could hang out with. My skin absolutely shivers when I think of it. Mrs. Yoder, in my mind, missed the point of the show all together. It wasn't about the abused, it was about the abuser. Did it give a level of humanity to an evil person/act? Yes it did. Good God I was afraid. Afraid that this could have been my cub-scout leader, pastor, uncle, ect. ect. While I did have some issues with the actual acting itself that does absolutely nothing to deminish the power, frightening and moving quality. I am actually speechless about this show. Go see it, ESPECIALLY if you have children of your own.

Tyler Schaker

The Book of Liz, by David Sedaris and Amy Sedaris
Cheese Balls is right.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
2.0
Well I went to see the show last night with Line! aka Rial and it seems that I have somewhat of a different take on the show. I suppose I should start off with saying that I believe I laughed more than anyone else in the audience but...

Rachel Craw (Sister Elizabeth) For what this young lady had to work with, meaning the script, I thought she did a fine job. Her character was clearly defined and she seemed to be enjoying the part. Her character quirks were believable, her language was well delivered and understandable. The only thing though, to me, is that she was on stage with such huge characters that I found her to be somewhat bland. Possibly that was the script but none the less her character was rather "boring" when compared to others in the play.

Alex Van (Reverend Tollhouse,others) Hmmm... This one is a toughie. When he played the Rev I didn't like him, when he played the Manager guy I did. My biggest "problem" was diction and speed. There are some actors that can pull off speaking very quickly, Mr. Van (last night anyway) could not. While he was commited to his character choices, kudos for that, it didn't really matter as I couldn't understand many of the things he was trying to say. An actor has but two jobs... To be seen and to be heard. Unfortunatly Mr.Van did not accomplish the second.

Dede Bloodworth (Sister Butterworth) Should have stolen the show and... didn't. That is what I got from this character. For the first few minutes I enjoyed her character but it, much like the show, reached a plateau about ten minutes in and just stayed there.

Topher Payne (Brother Brightbee) Well hummm again... Topher, first of all, was well cast for this part. His mane was perfect for this superhero wannabe and his voice was very commanding. I think he stayed right on the line of being a big character with out going to over the top, which would have been very easy with this part. However, 1. If you are playing a part of a cave man who wears a animal skin thing with holes in it DO NOT wear plaid boxers that I can see through one of the holes 2. If you are playing a cowboy in a wife beater take your nipple rings out. 3. If you are going to get Tatooed in real life, find something to cover them up as it is completely unbelievable when your are playing the previously mentioned cave man with a big tatoo on your thigh.

Kathleen Link (Oxana) By far the best performance on the stage. Her accent was perfect, her character choices big and clear and the best part of all?? She was the only Actor on the stage that I could understand every word she said. This is huge to me. Even when she was in the peanut costume I could hear her well and her diction was perfect. I also loved her hand movements in the costume, it added sooooo much to the scene.

Charles Swint (Vasil, others) The artistic director mentioned something about this before the show so I am not sure it Charles Swint played the part yesterday or not but none the less whoever did... Once again I have to say that this guy had a great idea for his character but if I can't understand what you are saying then it doesn't really matter. His Brother Hezakiah was funny but to me he milked it just a little to much.


The show in general started with a very funny idea but to me, as I mentioned before, reached a plateau about 5-10 mins in and just stayed right there. It was like a SNL movie. The Lady's Man is a very funny sketch but when you try to make a 1 1/2 hour movie out of it... it's not. While it may seem as though I have "raked this one over the coals" I attibute most of it to the script and not the actors themselves. I would go see any of them again but in a show where they were able to actually act. This was watching a masterbatory session on stage. I would once again like to state that I believe that was due to the script, NOT the actors. Low brow is low brow. Maybe I am just a snob as I love Pride & Prejudice at the Alliance that I saw the night before. Sister Elizabeth's Squimish Cheese balls left me just that, squimish.

Tyler Schaker

Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austin
Wonderful, just wonderful
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
4.0
Last night I ventured ITP to see the Alliance Theater's production of "Pride & Prejudice." I am certainly glad I did. I know this type of show is not for everyone but I must say I think this might be a "high brow" that can also "entertain the masses."

To begin:

The Set- I am not sure how much imput the director, Jon Jory, had with this but who ever made the decision I loved it. The set was a very simple one. They had a three story building facade up stage. On the ground floor there were three different door ways and above each a window at each floor that could be opened and closed for effect. The windows were also used for "cameos" of actors being spoken about during exposition. Stage right an entrance with a balcony, left another balcony but with a spiral staircase. All the set pieces were versitile enough to serve as several different locations. This style of "less is more" when it comes to a set is one that I personally like to work with when I am directing.

Now on to the good stuff...

The Bennet Family- I found this group to be a nice ensemble to accompany Elizabeth during her trials with Mr. Darcy. The stand-outs to me were the mother and father.

Ma & PA - While at times Dad reminded me of Henry Higgins and Mom of Mrs. Potts they were still a good match. The fathers VPS was clearly crafted and something I have no doubt he has spent many an hour perfecting.

Jane- The oldest daughter, gave a beautiful performance. Her fear in becoming and old maid was organic and clearly portrayed. The only problem I had with this young lady was the horrific wig, at least I pray to god it was, that she was forced to wear. If Helen of Troy's hair and road kill had a baby together... it would have been that wig.

The only problem I had with any of the family member's actual acting was with the youngest daughter, Kitty I believe. She had wonderful energy but she was a touch to modern with her physicality and use of language delievery for me. It wasn't distracting but just a little "out of place" with the others she shared the stage with.

The Ensemble- Loved them. Even though I knew that many of them were playing several different speaking roles they all made such clear character choices that it was no problem at all. The stand-out here to me was the guy who played the Parson and then doubled as the Uncle. His physical transformation between characters was a pleasure to watch.

Now onto the Principals-

Elizabeth Bennet- Well well well, this young woman understands what "Stage Craft" means. She created a character that was not only a strong woman but was also able to show her underbelly as well. Her VPS was un-freaking-believeable. The sexual tension between her and Mr. Wickam and then Mr. Darcy, evident. The scene at the begining of Act 2 with Wickam was so good, uncomfortable for Wickam, it had me shifting in my seat out of simpathy.

Mr. Darcy- This is were things kinda didn't work for me. He was very vanilla. I didn't dislike his performance but it wasn't anything to write home about. This character is all about buttoned up sexual tension. The actor played it as just stiff and unable to communicate with others. When he was going about professing his love to Elizabeth it wasn't quite like reading out of a phone book, but not to far off. Maybe that is a bit harsh... it was more like a business proposition. While for the period this might not have been a bad choice the whole point of the character is to make the wrong choice in marriage and go for love.

The only reason I didn't rate this show a 5 if mostly due to technical issues that the actors having nothing to do with. If you want to see a great show with high energy and almost Wilde like transitions go down to Woodruff and check this one out. It has set a high bar for the rest of my theater viewing year.

Tyler Schaker






Sylvia, by A. R. Gurney
Best Show
Thursday, September 22, 2005
5.0
Please note my review of this show as supposed to be a 5 not a 0!!!!! Sorry everyone!

Heaven Can Wait, by Harry Segal
Well this was something interesting.
Monday, July 25, 2005
4.0
Well folks I went back and forth as to giving this show a 3 or a 4. I decided to go with four simply because there were to characters in the show that I have never seen more perfectly cast in all my life. Brink Miller and Murray Sarkin. Brink... you were PERFECT for the part you portrayed. Murray same goes for you! Ok now that I have giving these two their props we will begin with the actual review.

While there were many many parts of this show that I truly enjoyed I would have to say that many of the funniest lines were somewhat bulldozed right over. I found myself not wanting to laugh simply because there was not enough time taken by the actors for the laughs. They would just continues right on with what they were saying with no regard for pausing. This is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine. While I do understand that sometimes during opening weekend (we have all been through this) there are lines that get a laugh that you never expect, however this late in the run I don't believe that to be true. Also with the wife and the assistant I could not really decide what accents they were going for. For me it went from American high class to British to Australian. The main character Joe also did something that I find annoying (yes this is the director in me talking and I know I am stubborn about "Dead Letter Perfect") he said a long "ehhh" before almost every line he delivered. I am not sure if this is just the actor's habit or due to the fact that a clearly most of the dialogue is his and he was unsure of the lines. On a positive not I did believe him as the character and did see the struggle he was feeling. As I mentioned before I felt that the stand out characters were those played by Brink and Murry but there was someone else that caught my eye. The young lady that played the part of Bette was also a joy to watch. She delivered the lines clearly and her emotion showed through and through. All in all I did enjoy myself during this performance but I still feel that there were many "moments" in the show that could have been much much funnier had the actors 1. taken the time to pause for laughs and 2. really looked and the script more and played up the not-no-obvious comedic areas. I would recommend it to someone else.

Tyler Schaker

P.S. Beautiful Set

The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown
Just my thoughts.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
3.0
Well I begin this review rather timidly. I will start off with saying that yes I am very involved with Kudzu... there now everyone knows it! So here we go...
I had never seen either of these Actor's perform before but I had heard many good things about them so I expected to be blown away. To be honest I wasn't. While I will say that these two performers were EXTREMELY talented they seemed to need a little more direction. Mr.Meeks had wonderful energy in the part he played but sometimes, and yes I did look at the program to see if they had one and they didn't, I really felt like he needed a musical director to help out with some of the songs. They didn't appear to really be in his range at times and he also needed to open his mouth a little wider to be understood clearly. Miss Murphy, I felt, was the stand out in this show. Her voice was fantastic! She too though, once again just my thoughts, needed to be directed more. While I understand that her part was the "timid" one... she never moved. It seemed like every song she sang, her direction was to sit/stand there. To me if you could have married her voice with his energy... that would have been a great, great show. Also I didn't really see that much emotional connection with either of the performers with the songs they were singing. While they both had great voices to me they could have been singing about laundry soap and it would not have made any difference. All in all I did enjoy this show and would go to see both of these folks again. Congrats on a good run and I hope to see both of you again in the future!

Tyler Schaker

CLOSING SOON
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre
NOW PLAYING
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Spy Who Murdered Me
by Kevin Gillese
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre

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