Martha Wade Steketee is a critic with Urban Excavations. 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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"Class, culture, language, appropriation, and integrity underscore the quiet power of Saracho’s 'Fade.' A story about storytelling, a play about the creative process, a demonstration of culture meeting commerce and two characters from very different worlds who meet at work...Ruiz’s choreography of these initial interactions and the subtle performance of presumption and quiet decision to put up these 'microagressions' are stunning...The power of this story grows as it is absorbed." Full Review
"Playwright Athol Fugard directs and conducts the breathtaking hairpin turns in the dialogue rhythms that lull us into revelations...The play feels devastatingly current and resonant in today’s America…An intimate, slow burn of a masterwork. Characters with full and layered lives change in a dramatic instant into social stereotypes, the race and class tensions simmer through civility, and we feel their loneliness and their loss." Full Review
"This show packs comedy with pathos and tragedy with laughter in a masterful mixture...Gethard has a vibrant ear for telling description...This narrator is someone you grow quite fond of as the show proceeds...He’s ready for anything, in the moment, in control of the room...This show manages to be a sad, funny, full-throttle, honest, life-giving journey...Timing is everything, and Gethard is a master." Full Review
"A history lesson, a romp, and a reconstruction that attempts a lot and achieves quite a bit...Much competence and multidimensional dexterity is demonstrated by the eight-member cast, from dance flexibility to musicianship to facility with presentational stylistic acting...Whether this 'Black Crook' achieves the aspirations of 'Shuffle Along' and 'Indecent'...it is certainly true that this production frames and stages an essential part of American theater history that is worth a visit." Full Review
"Dances are deftly delivered, speeches are articulately delivered, yes. But the depth of experience behind the devastation of the war-torn universe of the play is not quite evoked. I yearned for vocal quality variation…The insistent delivery of meaningful speeches was wearying...Yet, I was pleased to go along this intermission-less ride…And some speeches held me rapt…This adaptation of the myth of real human historical tragedy of war merits multiple productions more." Full Review
"Witty lines receive witty deliveries (and earned audience responses from the skilled actresses), but the characters make little sense. The dialogue and tone of interaction becomes cloying when the purportedly intelligent women snipe at one another rather than unpack their similarities...After spending two hours with these characters and this set, I wanted to move into the apartment but I knew the characters no better than when they first entered." Full Review
"You are offered warm and loving sustenance in many forms. The tunes are all by Irving. He accompanies himself on instruments that are sometimes recognizable and often are not. Irving’s voice is perhaps the most important calling card of this show, with its huge range, with which he accompanies himself on each instrument with wondrous nuance and ululating resonance...Come with an open heart. Heart, head, stomach, and sense of humor are filled and thrilled by this production." Full Review
"A history play re-conceived as a modernist take on universal themes has the potential to reveal deep truths. Yet in director Pamela Moller Kareman’s design-heavy treatment of Helen Edmundson’s play, the modernist gloss dulls the overall impact. Concept trumps nuance, speeches are swallowed by actor movements, costuming choices raise more questions than answers, and specifics and universals end up in a bit of a muddle...A frustrating treatment of the historical material." Full Review
"When it works, this musical brings down the house. When it doesn’t, the seams show in the storytelling and it is let down by some uneven performances...As the big dance numbers dominate, quiet dramatic scenes fade into the scenery...After several blow-out dancing and singing ensemble tunes before intermission, we are left with long sequences to ponder the plot in the second act. We remain hopelessly waiting for another glimpse of that sensational first-act exuberance." Full Review
"The historical setting of the lives of the musical’s characters radiate drama that this new musical has yet successfully to hone…There are genuinely moving moments in this production…And there are many times that this often luscious piece feels without clear focus or too many perspectives presented…This history is rich, the characters are endlessly fascinating, and the structural frame here feels unnecessarily twee at moments." Full Review
"Two two-handers begin the evening, with a spectacular multi-scene, myth-meets-human 'end of time' extravaganza to round out the marvelous programs...Cusi Cram‘s gives an actor’s exercise delightful shape in 'The Helpers'...'After the Wedding' is a great a nuanced surprise...The playwrights, directors, designers, and performers address past harms, understanding, and forgiveness on professional, deeply personal, and mythic scales. All in three bite-size powerful one-act packages." Full Review
"'Ugly Lies the Bone' is a wonder of simple craft and a bare bones production in a special basement performance space...This play provides wonder in language, in pacing, revelations." Full Review