Cynthia Allen

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Reviews (12)
Ship of Fools

“Visual artist and puppeteer Jessica Scott navigates through a satiric and fascinating new media ‘seascape’ with a dysfunctional ship’s crew, albeit all women. ‘Ship of Fools’ uses nightmare structure, intentionally drawing from Book VI of Plato’s ‘Republic’ (from whence its title came), Bosch imagery and other surreal allegories, depicting the fine line between heroines and madness. Scott tackles misogyny in a multimedia tour de force where past issues are not so different from ones today.” Full Review

for a previous production “‘Underground Railroad Game’ is Neo-Burlesque at its most outrageous – a balancing act of satire, irony and comedic bedlam concerning race and romance. Underground Railroad Game is a ‘R-rated, kaleidoscopic, fearless comedy,’ where the playwrights, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard, cross their own Mason-Dixon line with their provocative approach to what a contemporary Underground Railroad ‘game’ might offer.” Full Review

Midtown E
Stage and Candor

“‘Butler’ is an outstanding, captivating, important play about race relations. The play focuses on an event in American history that acted as a catalyst which helped enact a sea change for racial equality. On May 23, 1861 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, three courageous fugitive slaves – Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend – and a shrewd politic Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler worked in tandem in unexpected ways to set in motion the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862.” Full Review

"'Alice In Black and White' is an intimate portrayal of Alice Austen—an unconventional, daring, slice-of-life photographer who focused on 'Street Types of New York' for over 40 years. Robin Rice’s play is structurally uneven and confusing which detracts from a meaningful perspective of Austen’s complicated life choices and what sacrifices she made becoming America’s first female photo-journalist." Full Review

Men on Boats
Midtown W

"Kudos to Clubbed Thumb for originating this spirited and intelligent production of 'Men on Boats'. (The play began at the Wild Project as part of their 2015 Summerworks festival). 'Men on Boats' is a finely-tuned adventure that transports you back to a time when the wonders of discovery still existed and heroes/heroines were the backbone of a nation." Full Review

"Writer/director Gosheff has witnessed hundreds of women who have endured, despite maintaining silence in the face of adversity; she also draws from her own experiences as a 'survivor' of sexual assault. The stories of these girls are powerful because they ring authentic, though they are also told with humor and compassion." Full Review

The God Projekt
East Village

“The Lone Wolf Tribe’s ‘The God Projekt’ is macabre McDonaghesque puppet play with overtones of Groundhog Day and Borsch Belt-style humor, where God is in a tragic time loop of his own creation. Kevin Augustine and Edward Einhorn co-wrote as well as co-directed and acted in this surreal, engaging puppet play. The playwrights tackle several suppositions: that God has dementia and that his gradual loss of faculties is a result of murdering his ‘significant other’ -- the Great Mother.” Full Review

Bears in Space
Midtown E

"'Bears in Space' is fringe-zany puppetry at its most infectious — a comedy gone viral, captivating a cult audience who appreciates mad leaps in imagination. Darkly quirky -- 'bears' witness to a fun and delightful theater experience that is both fringe-zany and pun-wacky." Full Review

"'To Protect the Poets' shows how readily lines can be crossed when 'street justice' is employed, instead of the judicial system. This first-rate, timely and intelligent play is a just representation of how two people who love each other deal with violent crimes against women and police brutality." Full Review

"'Paradiso: Chapter 1' takes immersive, participatory theater to a captivating whole new level — targeting escape-room enthusiasts. Freely borrowing from Dante, with a soupcon of Ridley Scott’s 'Blade Runner', 'Stranger Things' and 'Mr. Robot', 10 or less players band together and participate in a post-modern, interactive puzzle game — a new type of mind-bending immersive theater." Full Review

Oslo (Broadway)
Upper W Side

for a previous production “J.T. Rogers effectively walks a tightrope between what was fact and what was fiction in his inspired and tightly drawn drama, ‘Oslo.' With wit, finely honed dialogue, the appropriate dollop of levity, and sufficient timeline accuracy, he portrays crucial events leading up to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.” Full Review

Himself and Nora
West Village

“Michael Bush doesn’t allow for the interplay of passion and lust to happen between Joyce and Nora. Both Matt Bogart and Whitney Bashor are capable actors and strong vocalists. However, a love for all time needs a particular chemistry, and this symbiotic attraction is lacking from the two actors. The music adequately moves the story along. But there is more romp than depth to the songs, rather than music that haunts and captivates with decisive Joycean wit.” Full Review