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Reviewed by PJ Grisar (May 19, 2013)
Jean Genet’s The Balcony, now playing at the Access Theatre, has always been a play with a lot to say. The 1957 satire is part polemic and part love letter to all our pet perversions and the masks we put on. It spins an enchanting web of illusion while stripping down the fallacies of political posturing, celebrity, and the puppets and props of state and romantic revolutions. Like much of Genet’s work, The Balcony is a play about pretense and the nature of theatrics and role-playing—it’s worth noting that many of his plays were cast untraditionally (The Maids for example, was first performed with a pool of male prisoner-actors presenting women in one of the author's many stays in the clink). The Horizon Theatre Rep’s production has a decidedly more narrow and unambiguous focus than is the fashion for the piece, touching less on the broader themes of affect and being-other and more on the anxiety of a real-world Europe on the brink of economic and political collapse. This context is markedly different from Genet’s time where the threats to Europe and his native France were largely non-domestic but the concept holds water, even when the execution doesn’t.
I WANNA DESTROY YOU
Reviewed by Ed Malin (May 19, 2013)
It's New York during the summer of 2011 (just before the vote that finally legalized same-sex marriage) and one can see a spectrum of gay standards of living. In Chelsea, "the queens look just like the jocks that used to beat them up". In Bushwick, less prosperous folks like roommates Mick (Kieran Mulcare), a waiter, and Beau (Anthony Johnston), a personal assistant who is turning 30 today, try to get through the summer heat. Mick, who was recently assaulted and slashed and so does not feel secure or employable in the universe of New York, has been dating Beau for eight years. Beau is employed as assistant to somewhat abusive author Cecile (Geneva Carr). Happy to have a gay man for "girl talk", Cecile is promoting her latest soft-core romance novel and planning her fourth wedding, to manly man Hal (Jamie Jackson). Cecile has a wedding planner, Daphne (Kathy Searle), who knows Beau through Mick, and who is sleeping with Hal. Hal picked up Daphne next to the stuffed Dodo bird at the Museum of Natural History. Bad heterosexuals....
BRIAR ROSE & THE THIRTEENTH FAIRY
Reviewed by Joan Kane (May 4, 2013)
Briar Rose & the Thirteenth Fairy, by playwright Caroline Angell is a modern adaptation of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Masterfully staged by Anais Koivisto, this adaptation asks the question that parents throughout the ages have tried to answer: How do you protect the innocence of your children in a world where evil is ever present? The story weaves together the storytelling narratives of Perrault, Walt Disney and The Brother’s Grimm.