A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
theatrepal [ALL REVIEWERS]
Companies Reviewed#
Onstage Atlanta, Inc.3
The Process Theatre Company1
Average Rating Given : 4.87500
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Urinetown: The Musical, by music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and book and lyrics by Greg Kotis
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I know there is a bunch going on...but really? THis show is absolutely amazing! So why are you waiting to see it?
Yes, I am seeing Hedwig next weekend too...but this show is too good and too surprising to be missed!!
Alright, you may want to wait because you have seen this show done well before...but I am here to tell you that this show is better than you can hope for!
I have seen Urinetown in three different versions (none of which were OSA's previous production which people speak so highly of) and this exceeds all expectation. Not only is the script and music better than I remember but the acting, direction, and design of the entire show is absolutely amazing and breathtaking.
I walked in the theater already wowed by the amount of changes already done to the lobby and bathrooms since I attended a show in March and then walked inside the actual performance space to see the set. WOW! Major OMG must be given to Anthony Owen and his brilliant set which conveys fear, size, depth, and so many other words I can't think of right now! Great job to him. Then the band entered, the curtain speech was given (mentioning the 08-09 season which thoroughly excited me too), and the show began.
From that point on I was completely engrossed for more than two hours. I did not even leave my seat during intermission to go to the bathroom (sure that I would need to find 25 cents to do so!)
The cast was brilliant. Some of the best work I have seen Robert Wayne and Laine Binder do!
So, let me speak about the smart choice for the director to cast her husband in the storytelling/narrator role. I have seen spouses cast by spouses many times to terrible outcome. But this one is a no brainer! Googie Uterhardt is a true force and a true entertainer. You cannot keep your eyes off of him and once he twirls his hat you are hooked to try and catch him do it again! Wonderful casting of the narrator!
I disagree with the reviewers who have said that some actors were over the top... I think this is where the people of the city of "whatever it is called" have been driven to. In a futuristic society where people are overrun with poverty, capitalism, socialism, whatever... you might go a little bit crazy and become larger than life! I loved it!! So, this is again, a testament to the great casting involved here. I wouldn't think it would be easy to stand next to some of these lead actors and grab my focus (not for upstaging, but for an awesome and hysterical moment) and totally turn my focus on so that I want to come back and watch ONLY the ensemble actors!!
And I will be seeing it again... especially if an extension is in the cards this time...check your local listings for info on that!! Fingers crossed!!
Again, this production is a surprise. Not because it is great and that wasn't expected. But because it is greater than I expected. The equation of Barbara plus anything equals good... add Googie and you get great. Apparently BARBARA + GOOGIE + OSA = ABSOLUTELY AMAZING

The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher
No more than a 5? How about a 10!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
So you wanna be an actor? Or maybe you like directing? You could possibly be one of the few brave souls who love designing.
Well, if any of these are you, then you MUST see this show. There is no reason for you to miss it with a schedule including 11:00 performances, as well as a Halloween showing.
Mama Alma called this a master class...and she is correct. Lucky for us, it is only $10-$15.

So why, you may ask, is it worth my time running over after a show or spending my Oct 31 at the theater?
1 - The play itself. Based on the psychological thriller by Henry James, this 2 person adaptation adds a new level of psychology to the mix. The adaptation transforms the story from a tale about children possessed by ghosts to a haunting question of abuse, and what we are really witnessing. We don't know what we see even when the actor is right in front of us.

2 - The lighting. There are no words to describe the way the theater felt when I first walked in. Mr. Magursky did a wonderful job of making me feel that I was in England on a foggy cold night. He scared me. He spooked me. He made me question what I was seeing. All exquisite pictures and definitely memorable as I think back on the show.

3 - The directing. I have never seen Rachel White's work before and it seems that she has more experience acting than directing (known only by her bio in the program). But, I cannot wait to see more of her work. Her blocking is easy and fluid. Her timing is impeccable. She is a wonderful conductor of her whole production, which is a symphony of sound, lights, thick air, a gripping story, and the greatest story tellers...

4 - The acting. If you have ever seen Barbara Cole Uterhardt, then skip to the next paragraph, because I probably won't say anything you don't already know. She is amazing! How she can convey so many reactions, faces, moods, and only be standing in one place I will never know. She is trapped in a very period costume with very little movement across the stage but her face and hands do it all for her. Watch how she reaches out towards the lake with only her eyes and then fall in love with her each time she touches the locket (especially when she first picks it up). She is the greatest actress at portraying strength, femininity, fear, adoration, and smarts all in the same second. And how does she find her light like that? It can't be as easy as it looks?
John Markowski won me over during last Spring's "Bash" and here he is really a multiple personality. He must be 3 different characters and he has an uncanny ability to transform just before our eyes. With just the turn of a head he becomes an old housekeeper and with the purse of his lips he is a 10 year old boy. My favorite was the uncle -- the shortest lived character (without counting any spirits he embodied...let us save that for a conversation on whether or not the spirits actually exist). A selfish man who cares about nothing besides money and sex (watch him watch her when she is turned away) is always a guilty pleasure and just delicious to me.
Watch these actors and learn. Take notes. This is how you do it!

All of these fit togeether perfectly to form a rich, vibrant show that I will be thinking about for years to come. The chills I had in the last 5 minutes of the show stayed with me all night. And I will definitely remember the hallway moment whenever the power goes out.
This is live theatre so I will not get into the comparison between this production and movies/shows in the same genre. As much as they may have in common, this is LIVE! The fact that this was all happening in front of me and I was shocked, horrified, moved, and, I am sure, still missed a million things is the reason I see theatre. I can't wait to see it again. Maybe for a Halloween treat.

BRAVO to OnStage!

And now I quote another patron on their cellphone as we left the theatre: "you must see this show--no excuses".

added later:
I know there is a lot to see and many shows closing soon, but be sure you see this one! If you miss it, you will regret it. This is the best thing I have seen in years! Really!!

Sordid Lives, by Del Shores
That great Southern Schtick
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I must admit that I got the date wrong and thought I was seeing Southrn Baptist Sissies (which I missed last time around) and not Sordid Lives (which I saw years ago). However, the show was great!
I was on the edge of my seat with laughter the whole time. Every one of the actors (especially Kim Salome and the new face of Christa Sfameni) was absolutely wonderful. The characters were perfectly fleshed out and really reminded me of everyone I knew growing up in Mississippi. The costumes and set were perfect and fit the play very well.
I only wish that Del Shores had written more for each of these characters. Most of them are only in one or two scenes and I would love to see them more.
This is one of those shows that actors should see so you can witness how to play a role made famous in a movie, without playing the actor who made it famous in the movie. George Devours, especially, did a fantastic job of playing the well-known role of Peanut and giving it a new voice and body.
My one complaint was with the blocking and some of the timing..all, I believe, to be acting and directing choices. The blocking seemed VERY forced at times, with one example being someone leaving the stage for 10 seconds and coming right back on again. It may have been in the stage directions, but it made me go "huh?" The play is very funny and witty and there are a few points where we need time to get the joke, but for most of the play we are right along with it and we're ready to be taken to the next moment. I did love the scene changes though, taking time and covering it with live music was a great choice and really fresh.
But again, this is a great show with excellent actors and a hilarious & familiar story. I loved it!
I can't wait to see Southern Baptist Sissies!

BASH (latterday plays), by Neil Labute
Wow, wow, double wow
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
It is amazing to me that a show with such a low # of audience members can already have reviews on this site...but I am glad. Like a previous reviewer, this is also my first time finally putting a review on this site...although I have typed many reviews in the past, they never seem to get through my own computer. But, that all changes now. I hope I don't give anything away in my first review but let me lead off with the publicity tag line for this production: I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE! Alright, now you have an idea about the show's "plot" and I won't say much more on that subject.

This show was absolutely incredible! I don't know what I expected and maybe my expectations were low since I was going to the small space in a community theatre. But this is nowhere near community theatre work, people!

Matt Hamner opens the show with a smile and a laugh and a story that makes you smile and laugh. Then out of nothing you find out an amazing fact and you lean in a little bit because you think you heard incorrectly. But, no. You heard right. WOW. So, now you lean in closer because you didn't see that coming so you don't want to miss a thing now. I felt like I really was in the room with this guy and we were new friends. Matt's ability to just tell the story with meaning and emotion and truth was so captivating that it is hard to believe I found myself looking at other audience members to see if they were also smiling along with me (even after the 1st big WOW). Again, he is natural and I almost believe that is really him...I hope not , though.

Julie Gibbs (never seen her cute) and John Markowski (seen him lots at OnStage and SDP and always entertained) have the most amazing chemistry. And they never speak to each other. That sounds like it would be hard to do. But apparently not with these two. Julie Gibbs as Sue is remarkably young and naive but (as Dedalus points out) there is something she is hiding...what is her secret confession? I don't think we really find that out. But you can see it in her eyes. I love that! John Markowski as... John (really) is just plain scary. He is so in the moment at every turn that you are feeling like you are right there with him. My heart started pounding and it was so quiet in that audience during his "confession" that I am sure they all heard my heart beating. It was all in the look in his eyes. So real, so now, so very very scary. They get a WOW.

The last piece is hard to describe. You go out for intermission and you come back with a little bit of wine in you and a little bit of anticipation as to what you will hear now!
I have seen Barbara Cole Uterhardt many times and so this was where I was expecting a lot. This is the reason I saw the show, really. Always incredible and (as a young "character actor") she is always different...think of her as Atlanta's very own Cate Blanchett. Just a chameleon. She directs A LOT now, which is why we seem to never see her. But, I digress...
So, the lights go down and the lights come up.. you are a little out of it and so is the young woman who now sits before you. She is the first person you believe has a confession to make from the very beginning, but she is going to "lead up to it," as she tells you, so sit back and, um, relax?
My friend said afterwards "I'll think about it overnight, but right now I think that was the best performance I have seen in this city." I couldn't agree, but anyone who saw Barbara in IVANOV years ago would agree with me. That was it! Oops, I digress again...
She then takes you on a 15 year journey from teen to adult, all the while letting you in on intimate details, giggling a little, blushing a lot, smiling a bunch, and (only once) showing you what is to come. She turns on a dime but you are totally on her side and you accept everything she is telling you. Since this is the 3rd piece you will find yourself waiting for the "confession" in every paragraph and you keep thinking "geez, this is it" but it isn't. You think it will never come and then she blanks out... I mean, really. You see her grow numb right in front of your eyes. And she tells you. It is sickening, not so much what she says (it all happens so fast) but how she says it (when I saw it, one person it the audience actually shouted "oh god"!!!!!--the exclamation points are to express my insanity that someone couldn't control this, but it is understandable, I suppose). I am not as literate or well typed as Dedalus so I could only steal from him to further describe this performance. However, I don't want to do that. So let me just end with DOUBLE WOW.

The lights and sound and set (or lack there of) must also get a nod. Perfect for this jaw-dropping, heart-pounding, finger tingling show.

Like the others who have gone before, I must say that this show is a must see. Only 6 more performances left. Trust me, you will regret it if you do not see this show!

by Sybille Pearson (book), David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)
Act 3 Productions
Swell Party
by Topher Payne
The Process Theatre Company
Almost, Maine
by John Cariani
Centerstage North Theatre
by Sybille Pearson (book), David Shire (music), Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics)
Act 3 Productions
Daddy Long Legs
by John Caird (book) and Paul Gordon (songs)
The Legacy Theatre
by Theresa Rebeck
Actor's Express
Midnight at the Masquerade
by The Murder Mystery Company
The Murder Mystery Company in Atlanta
Swell Party
by Topher Payne
The Process Theatre Company

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