Kathleen Campion

Kathleen Campion is a critic with Front Row Center. 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 (80)
Front Row Center

Score: 70% "TA huge cast on a tiny stage benefits from some lively choreography. Mugging at the audience is encouraged. And a few vaudevillian tricks work surprisingly well. The price of a ticket buys you a little 'time travel.'" Full Review

White Noise
East Village
Front Row Center

“’White Noise'...is an emotional minefield that forces an insightful confrontation with all the racial subtexts we pretend to have in hand. There’s laughter and passion and some pretty serious eye-opening...A near perfect production...The play is paced with precision, the performances flawless and engaging. The staging is spectacular...That said, ultimately, it is the writing that captures the audience...Over and over, in the quick, spare dialogue, there are flashes of language redefined.” Full Review

Call Me Madam
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“I found the first act annoying, the songs overlong to the point of tedium. That said, the second act delivers...The Encores! orchestra moves stylishly through the rich and memorable magic of Berlin’s score. They’re wonderful, everything an orchestra ought to be...The orchestra remains the leading character throughout...The leads are reliable...Despite my first act issues, I’d buy a ticket — it was fun to be there.” Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"Cranston’s Howard Beale is such a sustained wonder of a performance that he crowds out the rest of the cast. Director Ivo van Hove is fearless, rattling our cages with visual noise and a breakneck pace. Get a ticket...Still, no matter how intense the effects are — and in this production they are a startling commingling of then and now — it still comes down to the performance. Cranston remakes Beale from the inside out." Full Review

The Naturalists
Soho/Tribeca
Front Row Center

"Much of the finesse of Jaki McCarrick’s script is in the loaded, telling silences her characters share. I would argue the first act is indulgently long, but I wouldn’t trim the silences...This is fresh and authentic theater. The direction is deft. The characters capture you quickly; you never doubt them. The script is a glimpse of a moment fraught with all the breakage engendered in the Troubles before, all the specific damage visited on these four people, and all the slim hopes of redemption." Full Review

Fire in Dreamland
East Village
Front Row Center

“Jones owns ‘Fire In Dreamland’...She makes you believe she is Kate...A complicated tale, spinning out competing narratives, occasionally forcing the audience to pause and take stock...Wolf makes the most of a talented cast. She pushes them to execute even the silences with power. She uses a small audio device to pace the action — a clapperboard — a filmmaker’s artifact to mark scenes in a powerful stage play about filmmaking...Remarkable script, and deft direction.” Full Review

First Love
West Village
Front Row Center

"It’s a very talky play. And here’s the hitch: They are explicating the wonders of love, of first-love, of just-in-time-love, of the-rest-of-our-lives love and you certainly hear it, but, you don’t ever feel it...Fiordellisi’s Edith is on-again-off-again radiant...If you see a lot of theater and you want to see something odd and edgy, this might do it for you. If you want a taste of downtown theater with a whiff of the bizarre, consider it...It is interesting but not satisfying." Full Review

The Metromaniacs
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"If you know a lot about period drama— French or otherwise — you will be tickled with this adaptation...If you know nothing about period drama, but love the odd piece on the wrong stretch of 42nd Street, you will still giggle yourself into an unseemly frenzy at The Duke...It is playful and certainly silly; it is designed to drag you in from the jump, and the play’s own mad momentum keeps you in tow...Just sit back and enjoy the ride." Full Review

Lobby Hero
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"Intriguing...Cera gives us the polished, subtle performance that has become his brand...It feels current, dealing as it does with issues of sexual harassment and the inequities of the criminal-justice system...Cullman's challenge is regularly picking fights among his four wildly disparate characters...Then plausibly restoring equilibrium...Four gifted actors well-directed, and a script to die for...I won’t tell you what happens, except to say it is, at best, subtle; at worst, a bit flat." Full Review

Hal & Bee
Midtown E
Front Row Center

"These actors Candy Buckley (Bee) and Jeff Hayenga (Hal) are gripping…Anderson delivers her profanity-laced screeds with both conviction and a strangely charming aplomb…Director Sarah Norris gets what she needs from each of the actors...So — compelling performances, well directed and supported by production staff, addressing a subject we all struggle with — what could go wrong? There’s nothing wrong with 'Hal & Bee,' it just goes on too long. I’m glad I saw it." Full Review

Relevance
West Village
Front Row Center

"Lee keeps us off balance. For all the posturing and philosophizing, all the warfare of words, all the grabbing and gaining the upper rhetorical hand, the script is rich in incisive, intentional misunderstanding...Director Liesl Tommy maintains a furious pace in the polemic scenes and a gentle pace in the Theresa-and-David exchanges. She uses to advantage the natural imbalance between the old pros and the aspiring actors." Full Review

Broad Comedy
Soho/Tribeca
Front Row Center

"An ensemble production with five game performers...The content is earnest, feminist, topical, and thin...An evening of too many amateurish, if well-intentioned pieces...Generally the songs are better than the skits and much of the sketch comedy feels like fill...This show should thrive on the industrial circuit but it is not meant for a New York audience. That may speak as much to the wealth of polished performance we take for granted as to the rookie quality of much of this material." Full Review

Front Row Center

for a previous production "It is a lot of fun—punctuated by moments of stunning cruelty and painful revelation...There is much that rings painfully true in Bioh’s seventy-minute immersion in those estrogen-charged, initiation-to-adulthood dramas, rife with both tenderly shared secrets and blindsiding betrayals. But there is something more here...'School Girls' delivers enough punch to keep you engaged and entertained—even if the payoff punch is a tad short of a knockout." Full Review

Junk
Upper W Side
Front Row Center

“This fictionalized account is largely on point — broad strokes, to be sure, but all-in-all accurate in spirit if not detail...The show paints a realistic picture of how it was...There is a huge cast, 24 people in all, some with several roles. All are good, or bad, as they are written. The direction is lively, the effects powerful, and, while set in the ‘80s, the moral desert of the money cult and the latter-day ‘kings’ in towers hold a very current punch. I’d say go.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"The discussion becomes tedious. It is not banter, though there is laughter. It is not incisive, but not quite obvious either...It’s not thin soup so much as well short of cassoulet. The actors inhabiting the great men have precious little breathing space. The dialogue is dense with reference and the pace is fierce...But when it comes to wrapping it up—the meaning of life, what’s it all about Alfie? Crickets." Full Review

A Parallelogram
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"There is such a muddle of 'message' that one is at once intrigued and unsatisfied...Norris seems as much at sea as the rest of us...Director Michael Greif’s artful and experienced sensibility is evident in the smooth, sleight of hand misdirections...The actors bring talent and polish...Still, with all these gifts of talent and experience, 'A Parallelogram' falls short...A play needs more than a clown car of notions and a three-ring circus of ambiguity." Full Review

Front Row Center

"It’s a brilliant contemporary take on this classic, with a genuine star in the lead and a genius directing...Oscar Isaac is riveting in the title role...He inhabits and invigorates the troubled young prince...Gold gives Friedman a lot of room. I’ve never seen Polonius played more engagingly...In this version, tragic or not, we laugh a lot...Grim, to be sure, but genuine fun in this go ‘round...It is too long, to be sure, but too good to miss." Full Review

The Traveling Lady
West Village
Front Row Center

"Wildly predictable...So, what’s the reason to hustle downtown to go there, again? In this case, it comes down to the acting...Difficult to say how much of the authenticity of the acting magic is owing to the director (Austin Pendleton) and how much to the craft and alchemy of the polished actors...There’s nothing wrong with 'The Traveling Lady' but there is little bite to it, little memorable about it, nothing surprising to take away. If you like Horton Foote, you will probably like this one." Full Review

Front Row Center

"The film was a terrific zebra; the Broadway musical is a kind of unicorn...Minchin’s score makes a joyful noise, to be sure, but it is not unalloyed hoopla...This is an original score that will endure. The sometimes dense lyrics, by turns funny and poignant, leave you stretching to sort it all out at times. It’s more than worth the effort...Erasing the estimable Bill Murray in the audience’s memory is no small task—unless you are Andy Karl...On the performance side, the craft is stunning." Full Review

Church & State
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“Playwright Jason Odell Williams beats every comic moment out of the cultural differences of these disparate people, and lulls the audience into a comfortable complacency…‘Church & State’ slams you with import. You do not see it coming…Williams writes an unlikely hero, then someone casts a remarkable actor, Rob Nagle, who makes him breathe…’Church & State’ packs surprising philosophical punch, though dressed as a comedy.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"LaBute’s opener proves a hard act to follow. In ‘What Happens in Vegas,’ LaBute gives us a darkly funny pas de deux...There is the risk, really just a suspicion, that we are watching promising scene studies—works in development—rather than realized plays. If pressed I guess I could drum up a definitive difference. But I’m struggling with it. On the one hand ‘Vegas,’ for all its brevity, feels fully formed and completely realized, while ‘American Outlaws’ begs a good deal of indulgence." Full Review

Rancho Viejo
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"The cast is so solid. You may not warm to the characters, but the actors are true north on delivering them…There are nifty, and telling, small pieces of business...For all the struggle for meaning, the play’s resolution is a downer…The production makes a big demand. Running time is three hours with two intermissions…The first two acts here seem interminable but—stay with me here—perhaps they were intended to underscore the tedium of life at Rancho Viejo. In that, they succeeded." Full Review

The Front Page
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"The exchanges among the three principals are rich and pithy and often funny. They are also often so broad and predictable as to be eye-rolling. I’m not sure they are enough to keep you riveted for three acts, especially because you have to wait till act two to lay eyes on Nathan Lane...Lane—what’s left to say?...He plays Walter very broadly but nobody does broad better...This is a show with many good moments, but you do have to pay the piper with your patience." Full Review

One Flea Spare
East Village
Front Row Center

"Zaken maintains a remarkable, if manic, charm throughout. She is the flashpoint for much of the action and we rely on her Puckish energy to keep things moving...This was a tedious evening in the dark. It’s not so much that anything’s wrong as that it’s preternaturally grim. When the lights came down and up at the end of the first act my thought was: 'Thank you, Jesus! It’s over.' But it wasn’t." Full Review

Front Row Center

"I would not make light of the accomplishment here. At the end of the 90-minute production you do feel you have met deeply damaged people, genuinely scarred women, completely undone by what’s been done to them…I am not sure what 'Phoenix Rising' is but I fear it is not yet a play. It has power and life but it has the feel of a therapist’s session gone wild." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce are Madeleine and Andre, married fifty years and facing the ultimate divorce. Lots of clever misdirection keeps audience tuned in as we figure out who is actually loved and lost." Full Review

Superhero
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"'Superhero' reminds us how fickle is the alchemy of stage magic...A book by John Logan, music & lyrics by Tom Kitt, direction by Jason Moore. You can imagine the pitch to the backers — how could it miss? Yet it does...The music saves more than a few maudlin moments. The crew wisely kept the effects — clever projection and illusion — relatively simple, mirroring the comic book motif. The choreography was nifty." Full Review

Noura
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“It would be a cheap shot to say ‘Noura’ is just a contemporary version of ‘A Doll’s House’, with an Iraqi-refugee wash. But, it gets us in the ballpark. There are many intriguing parallels, but Raffo’s ‘Noura’ borrows judiciously and enriches profoundly. It has the immediacy of a news flash and the overlay of brutal, desperate flight...’Noura’ is philosophically intriguing but needs more in the emotional-impact department to satisfy.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“So much fun...The music here was lively, if familiar. The lyrics suffered occasionally from a self-mocking, self-referential quality; still, there were some refreshing stings...The characters are broadly drawn Broadway type...The story is unlikely at best. But the script has some bite. There were up to twenty lines that only worked if you were steeped in musicals...That ‘The Prom’ is not edgy is fine; it is exuberant.”" Full Review

Front Row Center

"The thematic thrust here is 'binary is so last century!' It’s not so much politically edgy as it is gently teasing, a crash course on LBGTQ+ sensibility, but all very safe. This high-spirited production is for folks looking for a good time — a lot of pounding good music — young actors with powerhouse voices — and a director who knows his way around a farce...There are moments of hilarity, the kind of laughter that catches you up and keeps doubling back.” Full Review

Desperate Measures
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"'Desperate Measures' relies on cliche and spoof to carry the evening. That said, this show has enough feel-good reserve that, by the time it wraps up, the audience is clapping to the band’s hoedown rhythms as the cast takes curtain calls...Kellogg makes the rhyming device fun without beating you over the head with it…The singing voices and the harmonies sound pure...In the market for a small, sweet, feel-good musical? 'Desperate Measures' should do the trick." Full Review

Front Row Center

“It is difficult to fault the actors, or the set and staging, or the direction...So I guess we are down to the script...If Churchill intended to make us weary of the argument by offering no way out, she got it done. It wasn’t pleasant, or moving, or enlightening...The six actors could not be a more motley crew, disparate in age and gender, race and physical ability...I’d go see any of these actors in their next plays. But, this play? At best it is a port in a storm.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"'Mean Girls'—a big, noisy musical based on a hit teen movie...turns out to be one of those feel-good nights on Broadway when you unabashedly jump to your feet applauding because you’ve had such a good time...It comes down to the talent— on the boards to be sure, but more importantly, at the production table...Laugh lines are perfectly paced through the script...Production is impressive...The dancing is exuberant...All the songs are new, and some are especially compelling." Full Review

Front Row Center

"All in all, these 'masterpieces' serve as a master class in the efforts of the Literary Resistance Playwrights...One caveat: with few exceptions, the production feels representational; that is, the characters stand for this or that and don’t easily break through to a realized, distinct identity...These one-acts feel like old friends on the one hand, and a tad stale on the other...Period drama — even written by these masters — seems to demand more indulgence than I could muster." Full Review

queens
Upper W Side
Front Row Center

"Majok's script is rife with cut-to-the-core lines...Captures the women's sense of otherness, of some shame and some fear...Seven actors give us ten characters. Each is pitch perfect...Lots to like, even love here. But, still there are the nearly inevitable second act problems...The payoff is intentionally ambiguous. While intriguing, it is not satisfying...It has power and passion and laughter and pathos." Full Review

Front Row Center

"There is enormous economy in this script...Kennedy haunts her characters with the thundering violence of history...The two actors never leave the stage, though for the bulk of the drama he is away and they are writing to each other. Very little of what they say is dialogue. He speaks, even sings, while she is a presence, there-but-not-here, visible but apart...Kennedy maintains a poet’s frugality with words...I’d expect to see it produced again and when it is…go see it." Full Review

The Parisian Woman
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“’Willimon offers a remarkably pedestrian script mixing hoary cliché with his signature ‘House of Cards’ Washington-insider slant, smug asides signaling status...Willimon overreaches, folding in marital infidelity pressed into political service, a bewildering male-menopause theme, and the predictable collusion of the D.C. establishment swallowing hard to gain advantage...There’s a sense of missed opportunity here...It’s neither funny nor significant.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“This thoroughly enjoyable new musical is the Seinfeld-of-musicals, in that nothing much happens — but it gently embraces all that is elemental about living life...Katrina Lenk is stunning...The music has an earthy, familiar, convivial quality. It feels old and new at once...The pace of this 95-minute production is all but perfect. The mix of foot-stomping, jump-up-and-join-us numbers artfully juxtaposed with quiet, sweet, introspective solos and duets, is just right.” Full Review

The Portuguese Kid
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"'The Portuguese Kid' has it all: idiosyncratic characters you cannot help but champion, rambunctious dialogue that leaves you occasionally breathless, and a director’s deft massage of the actors’ already polished gifts for comic timing...What’s most engaging here, is that John Patrick Shanley has written a series of pas de deux, binary battles between and among his characters that enchant even as they resonant." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Susannah Perkins’s mesmeric eyes capture you at the get-go. The entire production rests on her narrow shoulders. I’ve rarely seen an actor more perfectly cast nor a character more ideally realized…The high-school setting seems to invite cliché and caricature. The cacophony of all that social referencing plays like a good idea that’s been over-amplified, and some editing would be helpful...All the distractions aside, we remain in Grace’s pocket. We want her to figure it out for us." Full Review

Front Row Center

"The powerhouse play is ‘Jack’...The script might be a master class in balance…Second on the bill is ‘Playing God,’ which has the feel of sketch comedy...Zweibel is an accomplished comedy writer...But it feels like he called this one in...Moore invites us into Ayn Rand’s sitting room...Pressing real life into stage characters has its pitfalls. ‘Acolyte’ seemed overlong to me, but I can see why Moore might worry about how much philosophy 101 the audience sat down with." Full Review

Napoli, Brooklyn
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“‘Napoli, Brooklyn’ has the palpable sense of someone’s actual family story…The cataclysm that shocks the audience into intermission is stunning…Luda delivers the last speech with an exquisite tenderness speaking of her child, her daughter, and all daughters, all women. I was moved. That said, when the curtain falls, there is something missing…While there is much substance here, one is hungry for more substantial resolution. It is a good pasta meal, but it is not the Seven Fishes.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"The low end of the city’s menu of anti-Trump diversions...While, on the one hand, I’ll offer playwright Young a tip of a smutty cap for a remarkable variety of fecal reference, I fear beating that one drum does lose its shock value about 12 minutes in to the 60-minute presentation...Halliday, O’Shea, Strayhorn, and Watts are each original, definable, and endearingly arch...If you hanker for an edgy, 'out there' hour, this bizarre little Trumpian gag-fest (and I do mean gag) is your show!" Full Review

Oslo (Broadway)
Upper W Side
Front Row Center

"Rogers gives us a frame for the play: Can gradualism succeed where traditional negotiations have demonstrably failed? As in Frayn’s 'Copenhagen,' the pursuit of the big idea, however worthy, can get tiresome, if not relieved by credible characters, witty exchanges, deft direction, and fine performances. 'Oslo' offers all of that...Mays manages to give Terje a credible enthusiasm for the task at hand as well as a humanizing vulnerability." Full Review

Bull in a China Shop
Upper W Side
Front Row Center

"Their exchanges about love and commitment, about courage and challenge, are constant if a tad pedantic...There are two riveting speeches...The first is capriciously funny; the second brought me to tears...While not a perfect play, it has several remarkable performances, two searing soliloquies, and some true dialogue...This play is not for everyone. But, if you are up for 'an odd little evening' with a piquant take on just how complicated it was to suggest women might be whole humans—go." Full Review

Sweet Charity
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"As a pure reconstitution of a remarkable musical, it is a triumph...Silverman retains all that was wonderful about 'Sweet Charity' as a heel-kicking, brassy musical. It is the grim reality of the present—that we are all about to be slammed back to those days, when misogyny was just the way it is—that gives the audience pause. That aside, there are no dead spots in this show...Foster is so good at everything." Full Review

Falsettos
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"The production is lively and pointed without a whiff of tired...If the plot verges on predictable, the characters are another story...They are simple—as in clear, and accessible, and engaging...All the maneuvering for that love is informed by funny and complicated lyrics and ironically compatible harmonies. Direction is superb...I’m glad I saw 'Falsettos' in its current iteration and find it a period piece with enormous vitality." Full Review

Attorney Street
West Village
Front Row Center

"Oliver tells the tale of 'Attorney Street' with disarming innocence, addressing the audience with a sweet familiarity...He is funny and warm, wide-eyed and thoughtful, charming and vulnerable. All that said, the evening resolves in a brutal sadness, as he concludes his primal wound has not, cannot heal...A supremely confident performer, with a patina of shyness about him, Oliver inhabits the stage completely...A genuinely special night of small pleasures in the downtown theater." Full Review

Fiorello!
East Village
Front Row Center

"'Fiorello!' was already a period piece in 1959. This production depends on its fresh-faced cast and its music and musicians being scrupulously true to the time to slip you right into the play...There is charm and wit in the lyrics. Still...the wit in 'Fiorello!' has an antiquated, 'let’s-not-ask-too-much-of-our-audience' feel...This production is entirely authentic...The cast all seem to be about the same age so on occasion they struggle to cover all the character demands." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Israel Horovitz has written women who talk to one another the way grown-up women talk to one another. It is the rare man - much less the rare writer - who has that ear...This comedy is really fun. The first act is a cascade of surprising arrivals, telling anecdotes, bitchy exchanges. It is fast-paced and genuine. Unlike so much new theater, the second act is every bit as much fun as the first. It has a niggling finale problem, but that’s not crucial.” Full Review