16
Sep

12 Angry Jurors

 

 

 

 

 

12 Angry Jurors
Act3 Playhouse
through September 29, 2019

This is a jury of men and women, but the 12 of them have the same problems as did 12 Angry Men. They’ve sat through a trial where a teenager, with a rap sheet, is accused of stabbing his father to death. The DA is seeking the death penalty.

Is there to be a hung jury? That is the essence of the show and it hangs in balance through 2 acts, although total running time is only about 90 minutes. Johnna Barrett Mitchell directed this cast of thirteen players (one of whom, Sorsha Masters) is the guard from the court, and they argue and fight their way through the process of trying to reach a decision.

Not sure where the location was, but could have been by the 3rd Avenue EL in NYC. An old lady across the way testifies she saw the crime being committed as a train was passing by. A tenant in the apartment house testified he ran out and saw the defendant running down the stairs. But, things may not always be exactly what people think they have seen, and therein lies the question of reasonable doubt. Sam North, Jessica Wise, Patrick Croce, Katie Wickline, Angel Escobedo, Sarah Palm, Jack Allison, Aaron Hancock, Angela Van Tassel, Michael Miller, Franco Trelles and Justin Grey are on stage full time, as the jury only goes into recess at intermission.

If you’ve ever been on the board of a social service organization then you’ll easily relate to how getting an unanimous vote of 12 opinion-holders, is no easy task. Logic does not always rule, and predeterminations do not always persist. I can’t tell you the outcome but I can tell you these players at the small theatre, put a LOT of effort into this work, which could easily be one taking place in our own community these days.

More info at Act3Productions.org

15
Sep

Matilda

Matilda
Onstage Atlanta
through September 29, 2019

Roald Dahl’s Matilda is that incredibly bright young girl who winds up having some problems at the prep school, and family things to deal with as well.

Directed by Abra Thurmond with a pretty large cast. Matilda is played by young Eden Mew. The parents are Bradley T. Johnson and Bridget McCarthy. Her dad is a real piece of work. But then, the school mistress, Ms. Trunchbull (Stuart Schleuse) can make Miss Hannigan look like a saint, when she sends the kids to the Chokey.

What makes this one work is a large group of youngsters who can act, sing, dance, and handle gymnastics as well, a some really goofy adults. Kind of makes one think of why actors never want to share the stage with a child nor an animal.

The music is not a score you’ll recall and leave the theatre humming. And, this may not be for all youngsters, as this is not one of those “Once upon a time, there was a happy ending” kind of script. It works better for those who have read the story or seen the film or the play previously; so they have a better understanding of what is going on and what to anticipate. Having said that, it is not Annie, even though Matilda’s odd-ball father does strike it rich.

More info at OnstageAtlanta.com

14
Sep

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
City Springs Theatre
through September 22, 2019

Let’s jump to the bottom line . . . . get your tickets and you will thoroughly enjoy every minute of this world class production at a local theatre. The sets, cast, costumes, music, choreography, flying and every single aspect of this production are the equal of anything you may ever have seen on Broadway or Shaftesbury Avenue.

Kerry Conte comes on stage as the world’s favorite nanny. She has the looks, pipes and moves of the original nanny; and truly everyday’s a holiday with Mary. Con O’Shea-Creal has come to town to sweep those chimneys and step in time with the giant cast. The banker who may have some problems is George (Drew McVety) who is the somewhat strict father of Jane (Neve Juday) and Michael (Carson O. Shelton).

Hats off to Brandt Blocker who directed this incredible opus. Cindy Mora Reiser did the choreography and Chris Brent Davis was in the pit as conductor for the live full orchestra. More than two dozen superb performers take on 30+ roles as the tale unfolds to show us how anything can happen.

Yes, you are probably going to want to sing along to some of the numbers, but try to just move your lips. They will give you a chance to really clap and sing along when they do an audience-invited encore of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and you get a chance to come off being really precocious.

This is one to take the kids to, whether they be 5 or 95, they’ll truly enjoy it. No expletives, nobody getting killed, and even easy to relate to; albeit no clue what brimstone and treacle may taste like. The show at the Byers Theatre just off 285 in Sandy Springs is easy to get to, with plenty of garage space and goodies. More info at CitySpringsTheatre.com

13
Sep

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through September 29, 2019

Are our lives a reflection of the world in which we live, or is it the other way around? If we accept that any real dictionary should have as a definition of “dysfunctional” to “see family” then you can understand where the weirdos in Tennessee Williams’ plays come from. His mother was often in zoo-zoo land, his father was abusive and was much closer to his brother than to him, and his sister Rose, had been diagnosed as schizoid and spent most of her life in an asylum. And, Williams was a depressed alcoholic homosexual. Well, HELLO!  Meet the family in this play.

Kate Donadio MacQueen as Margaret and Joe Sykes as Brick, dominate the stage for the first hour act. He’s drowning himself in booze, and is not at all inclined to intimacy with his wife. John Maxwell is Big Daddy, who is not a happy camper. He’s got medical issues, family issues, and is sitting on a fortune in cash and property that has to pass off to a bunch of folks he would prefer to ignore.

Big Mama is played by Karen Howell, and she is one who seems to have some problems dealing with reality, when the reality doesn’t offer the outcomes she would prefer. I figure that should remind most of us of somebody in our respective families.

The cast includes Kelly Chris as the sister, Mae, Topher Payne as the brother, Gooper, Jacob Jones as the preacher man and Peter Hardy as the doctor with the bad news. James Donadio directed this work and did a fine job. The play won the Pulitzer in 1955, and maybe it was because things were going pretty well in that year. But, this is not an easy one to handle.

The static set works for the whole show as players come and go. There are a couple of laughs but this isn’t a comedy in any sense of the word. There is a load of yelling and angst to deal with, and it certainly is not for the kids. For those of us who’ve been dealing with family members final days, or other difficult times, it can be a difficult couple of hours.

While this is not one of those works where all comes out right in the end, it does explain where the title comes from, and helps one to understand that they are not the only ones dealing with a mountain of you-know-what. Very well done and easy to get to with plenty of parking and goodies. One suggestion is try to get seats closer to the stage so you don’t miss a line.

More info at GET.org

10
Sep

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers
Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
through September 29, 2019

Alexander Dumas would probably have enjoyed this staged telling of his famous tale. D’Artagnon (David Sterritt) takes off for France to become a proud Musketeer. The tale is how he gets involved with Athos (Glenn Lorandeau), Porthos (Charlie T. Thomas) and Aramis (Ryan Vo) as they fall into the evil doings of the nasty Cardinal Richelieu (Matt Nitchie) who is the power behind the throne and the Grand Manipulator.

As you know it is a story a great intrigue, personal enchantments, and loads of personal conflicts being resolved at the end of a blade. With a cast of about 18 players and some of the best fight scenes you’ve ever seen, the tale unfolds in two acts but ends with One for All. Better than many contemporary political scenarios.

The athleticism of the players in fantastic, as they move through the fight scenes directed and choreographed by Drew Reeves with Mary Ruth Ralston acting as Fight Captain.

This is one truly intriguing saga, staged to perfection in the Tavern Playhouse. Fear not, for they also have a good kitchen with some fine pub grub and a pint or two as needed. It is open prior to curtain time so you can dine and watch, and go back at intermission for some goodies. The Tavern is located at 499 Peachtree Street and there is limited on-street parking. But fear not; park across the street in the hospital garage and when leaving, show them your ticket stub and they discount the rate.

If you have some youngsters you may wish to introduce them to the world of The Bard with a visit to one of their shows. More info easily available at ShakespeareTavern.com