Colin Macdonald

Colin Macdonald is a critic with Plays to See. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (19)
Wives
Midtown W
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"'Wives'…is a raucous, funny, well-acted, and well-intentioned production that suffers from intermittent heavy-handedness and whose four distinct parts don't fully cohere…The conceit, at least of the first three vignettes, is to look at the wives or lovers of 'great men,' but not through 'the visions made by men.'" Full Review

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"A sporadically interesting, though somewhat flat, theatrical experience, that, despite the horrific political situation in this country today, never manages to feel particularly engaged or relevant." Full Review

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“A generally sturdy production that opts for some overly broad humor, diminishing the impact of the play’s turn to violent, grotesque tragedy. What should feel like a punch in the gut is more like a tap...The humor on display...is more in the vein of a particularly zany sitcom...In this production, one is too much aware of watching a play that is dealing with a set of themes. This reduces the ending’s emotional impact...We see the mess and the tragedy, but we don’t quite feel it.” Full Review

Plays to See

"The Mad Ones imbue the ordinary with hilarity...This tone of zaniness that is also realistic is something the Mad Ones have mastered, as they capture the inherent awkwardness of so much of human interaction...There’s simply something wonderfully different about a Mad Ones production because of their unique method of composition... But at its core, 'Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie' is great character-driven drama with a dose of all-too-real absurdity." Full Review

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"The lack of specificity runs the risk of plunging viewers entirely into abstraction and diminishing the stakes. The production becomes increasingly stylized, which produces some stellar moments...But outside of these expertly staged scenes, the production doesn’t offer much insight into the play’s most fundamental questions...It avoids a fashionable interpretive gimmick or an overly literal gloss on contemporary events. But it becomes abstract and frenetic." Full Review

Plays to See

"The monologues wander pleasantly, seeming aimless at first, but soon the pieces for the devastating conclusion are all aligned. Although some of the writing is too broad, flirting with clichés, and some of the themes are clumsily telegraphed or treated without enough complexity, both actors overcome this...with nuance and conviction...The production achieves lyrical beauty and emotional power, addressing a historical incident that remains all too relevant today.” Full Review

Plays to See

“More than a mere curiosity for Williams enthusiasts: it is a stylish and enjoyable, though flawed, production, which shows that there is real power in Williams’ largely comic play, even if this staging is ultimately unable to fully capture it...Nielsen is a pleasure to watch...making a full character out of what could have been a caricature...Pendleton’s direction is on point...The main problem is Lichty’s uneven and uncertain performance, a not insignificant portion of which is nearly inaud... Full Review

Tremor
Midtown E
Plays to See

"This gripping opening is ultimately squandered by a series of clumsy revelations and awkward sermonizing on contemporary politics, at which point the characters cease to be complex individuals and become stand-ins for competing ideologies...The dialogue is fast paced, full of stops and starts, which all works very well under David Mercatali’s tight direction, until the move away from mystery and tension and toward all-out exposition and speechifying." Full Review

I Of the Storm
West Village
Plays to See

"Well-intentioned, timely, and occasionally shrewd and lyrical. But, ultimately, the story never transcends the clichés and generalizations that make it seem more like a New Age self-help speech than a complex examination of a character’s inner life...As with the script’s themes, Hoehler’s acting style is broad...What we are left with when Hoehler’s tramp has left the stage, is really just a collection of slogans that, however well presented, never take us beneath the surface." Full Review

Dear Jane
Midtown W
Plays to See

"Conflict is exactly what is missing from this adequately staged but ultimately flat, confused, and unmoving production...The characters never emerge as anything close to complex individuals, but rather are mere outlines of people...The play is occasionally enlivened by short dance numbers and smatterings of song, but neither that nor the competent acting can overcome the flat characters, stale dialogue, and haphazard structure." Full Review

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"The 'Summer Shorts Series B' showcases three plays that deal with the gulf that can separate people in relationships….The evening gets off to a shaky start, with the plodding Lucky…Bleemer's Providence [is] a humorous though melancholy look at a seemingly happy marriage…LaBute's gripping Appomattox concludes the evening." Full Review

Mac Beth
West Village
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"An exciting theatrical experience that injects fresh energy and immediacy into the oft-performed and oft-read play. It strikes a good balance between faithfulness and innovation, and its central conceit never feels like an interpretive fad or a new-for-the-sake-of-new device...The audience is never allowed to forget that they are watching a group of schoolgirls playing 'Macbeth,' and the actors are thus able to make the play deeply moving on two levels." Full Review

All Our Children
East Village
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"The play is well-staged and intermittently powerful, but overly schematic, as the characters too often feel like mouthpieces rather than fully realized individuals...A fundamental problem is that...it is so one-sided that its emotional impact is stunted...’All Our Children’ captures the evil that can be done...and offers some riveting and chilling moments that are tempered, however, by issues laid bare instead of explored fully through character.” Full Review

Life Sucks.
Midtown W
Plays to See

for a previous production "Despite the talent assembled on stage, and some funny, well-timed zingers, what we’re largely presented with is cynical, expletive-laden speechifying about how human relationships are difficult and desire can be frustrating...The result is crude and superficially clever, and ultimately quite empty...At times the play seems to be flirting with farce, at other times satire, but it never entirely commits. The play mistakes cynicism for wit, and vulgarity for irreverence." Full Review

Maverick
East Village
Plays to See

“In this pleasant and meandering memory play, we are told over and over that Welles was a genius...but we are never really shown this, and Welles and the many other characters...feel like only the outlines of people...It is overstuffed with short scenes and undeveloped characters...Frank himself never emerges as a full character...We don’t really feel how this extraordinary experience has affected him, even while we’ve enjoyed spending some time ourselves with Demas’s Orson." Full Review

Plays to See

"There is a lot to admire in the ambition, and there are glimpses of how the production could have been successful, but it never coheres, and we are left with no greater insight into either masterpiece...Some ambiguity in the conceit could have been effective, allowing audience members to debate and discuss afterward, but as is, it just descends into incoherence." Full Review

Plays to See

“‘The Plot’...A dark comedy...Some of the humor is too broad and the exposition of personality traits is too explicit...Lane’s enigmatic 'Ibis' explicitly addresses storytelling...Lane’s work is suffused with a haunting strangeness, and despite some minor kinks, this is the play that will stick most deeply in my memory...LaBute’s ‘Sparring Partner’, the most polished of the three plays, concludes the evening...Featuring terrific performances...The dialogue is sharp and naturalistic.” Full Review

Plays to See

"Joyful and high-energy production...The play text is streamlined and rendered with speed, clarity, and exuberance...Talented cast...Expertly moves between moments of slapstick humour and deeply felt emotion...Focus is on the language-spoken with such colloquial clarity that it hardly seems out of place...The performance embraces joy and merriment but with such skill that it doesn't seem naïve or simplistic. This is Shakespeare that is accessible and moving." Full Review

Lost and Guided
East Village
Plays to See

“Moving and absorbing…One of the drawbacks of having a play constructed from transcripts is that a certain amount of subtlety is lost...But the play text effectively incorporates ordinary details of characters’ lives into the larger political and historical backdrop, which, along with the power of hearing refugees’ own accounts and Kapustina’s expert directing, enables the production to accomplish its stated goal of humanizing the refugee crisis.” Full Review