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Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Kodachrome" @ PCS

"Kodachrome" is a play of small moments, much like the photographs at its center. It is full of ruminations on the large and little things of life, and how one can sometimes turn into the other. It is a shoe perfectly-suited to its space in the Ellyn Bye Studio, the intimate size of the theatre makes for easy viewing of the frequent projections. The only element that is too small is the size of its cast. Meaning the number of characters each actor is supposed to play at times seemed to exceed a reasonable limit, causing the brief but somewhat frustrating loss of each individual arc as the viewer has to shift between them. The photographer/narrator helps a bit with some scene-setting that sometimes includes reminders about facts revealed much earlier in the play, but she too often seems to be talking a mile a minute, cramming quite a lot into ninety minutes without an intermission. Even with those minor quibbles, the play as a whole does manage to be emotionally resonant. (And since "Kodachrome" was not the play's original title, I can't even feel teased by the absence of the song.)

Monday, January 29, 2018

"Murder for Two" @ Broadway Rose.

Broadway Rose knows its way around a murder-farce. In fact, those are my favorite kind of shows to see there. It is high-time they did another, the last one being "Whodunit" which feels like ages ago. The "two" in "Murder for Two" refers to the two actors, one of whom, David Saffert plays an astonishing number of characters. Other reviews have compared "Murder for Two" to "The Mystery of Irma Veo", but I'd say it's closer to "The 39 Steps", which I saw at PCS before this website began in earnest. Saffert's performance is every bit as skilled as one would expect to be able to take on such a daunting task, but there are times when I wished he was given more to work with than a single prop to signify each. By far the best moment in the show is "Steppin' Out of the Shadows." I wish they had sent a Press Photo from that number. It is hilarious and worth the price of admission all by itself.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

"Astoria" Parts One & Two

"Epic" has become somewhat stripped of its true meaning, overused to mean merely "cool." Yet, "epic" must certainly be used here with its original definition: "a work of sweeping scope." Chris Coleman's "Astoria" fits that description to the letter. It's a truly massive Two-part work, chronicling the settlement of Astoria by fur-traders. It says in Coleman's Director's Note that author Peter Stark expressed doubts about the book's suitability for the stage, but there are moments of seafaring drama, particularly in Part One, that have a feeling of realism made possible by little more than sound effects. It's quite impressive, as is the entire work.

Unfortunately, Part One only had a brief seven-day revival, I am surprised that it did not run as its own entry in the Season because I remember missing it last year due to rioting Downtown, and I would imagine quite a few others faced the same predicament.

The is a must-see because it dramatises a pivotal moment in your country's history in vivid and unexpected ways.