Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Month: January 2015

Review | Everybody Gets Cake! | Created and Performed by Joel Jeske, Danny Gardner and Brent McBeth | Directed by Mark Lonergan | Music Composed & Performed by Ben Model, Parallel Exit | 59E59 Theaters

…  yes, everybody does get cake …

Everybody Gets Cake is a zany, free flow roust through the free-flow  imaginations of its three creators.  Why do you go?  For laughs — and there are plenty of them!

L-R Danny Gardner, Joel Jeske, Brent McBeth. Jim R Moore/Vaudevisuals

L-R Danny Gardner, Joel Jeske, Brent McBeth. Jim R Moore/Vaudevisuals

Using mime, surprise, and hilarious connects and disconnects that go back to early vaudeville and film comics like Charlie Chaplin and the Three Stooges, they scamper through kaleidoscopic vignettes, fighting with invisible objects, following impossible instructions, entangled in the absurd and valiantly surpassing it.  Director Mark Lonergan orchestrates a brisk and exciting pace.

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Review | A Month In the Country by Ivan Turgenev | Translated by John Christopher Jones | Directed by Erica Schmidt | Classic Stage Company

This is a stunning, constantly amusing, and deeply intelligent production of Turgenev’s iconic play about realism, romanticism and love.

Set at a country estate in Russia in the 1840’s, it features a grand group of characters, young and old, male and female, aristocrat and peasant enmeshed, each in his or her own way, in love.  I’ve read that Turgenev, best known as a novelist, didn’t like this play of his but I think he must have enjoyed working out this witty and thorough set of variations on his theme.  True, the family’s little boy, Kolya, isn’t in love — but the playwright saw to it he had a bow and arrow to play with, Cupid personified.

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Review | The Woodsman by James Ortiz | Directed by James Ortiz and Claire Karpen | Music Composed by Edward W. Hardy | Strangeman and Co | In Association with Robb Nanus and Rachel Sussman | 59E59 Theaters

The Woodsman, using actors, puppets, mime and music, gives us back story, based on not well-known writings of Frank Baum, on how the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz came to be:  it’s a rich multi-media hour-long spectacle, but the story ends up pointless.

We’re in eastern Munchkinland where one tiny nuclear family finds a bit of freedom from the domination of the oppressive Witch by living self-sufficiently in a remote section of the woods, making a living by cutting trees.  As the Mother and Father mature and eventually die, young Nick is left on his own, following in his father’s footsteps as a woodsman.

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