Shani R. Friedman

Shani R. Friedman is a critic with Theatre is Easy. 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 (37)
70
Theatre is Easy

"I wouldn’t say I agree with a lot of Quinn’s positions, but he’s intelligent, thought-provoking, funny, and he doesn't play favorites. Although the ending, in which he names every state and gives an example of how each one is uniquely terrible, is largely uninspired and not all that witty. One might wonder how many people in the audience will agree with Quinn on what’s wrong with America. But I don’t think that’s really the point." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

“Mandvi brings his funny, poignant and timely one-man show about Indian immigrants in NYC back...Although there are a few instances where it isn’t immediately apparent which character he has suddenly transformed into, Mandvi handles the transitions deftly, some characters feel more lived-in than others...’Sakina's Restaurant’ serves as a welcome antidote to the anti-immigrant vitriol coming out of the White House and cropping up across the country." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"In addition to the hilarious shenanigans, there are several stand-out moments of staging...The cast is uniformly excellent with great comedic timing, from Pedlow practicing Lucille’s absurd pouty lips to Kybart’s rehearsing Baliveau’s off-stage bellowing. But my favorites are Dina Thomas and Adam Green...It’s rare that writing leaves me in awe, but I am justifiably impressed by Ives's ability to rhyme so artfully and masterfully." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

“In this sharp, funny look at what it takes to win, and what happens if you do, tennis is like life: sometimes you come up aces and sometimes you get smacked with a ball...Ziegler and director Upchurch do a fantastic job of creating a riveting, well-paced match without the benefit of an actual tennis court...It feels real thanks to terrific design...Ziegler has an excellent ear for crackling dialogue...For both tennis and non-tennis fans, ‘The Last Match’ scores.” Full Review

65
Theatre is Easy

"A worthwhile opportunity to see a play about Native Americans written by indigenous playwright Mooney...Mooney has created an absorbing family drama set against the backdrop of violent racial strife, but her plot is overstuffed...The performances are mixed, with certain actors coming across as less polished...Although this is an imperfect production, it’s an engrossing story...The themes of racial inequality and violence against people of color are unfortunately as timely as ever." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"Writer Emilie Landmann, composer Jonathan Quesenberry and lyricist Carrie Morgan have crafted a funny, inspired, highly memorable show. Director Thomas Caruso has a deft hand, staging nearly twenty songs without it feeling rushed and skillfully utilizing a cast of ten, including the terrific ensemble. The musical numbers breeze along, but a couple of cuts could be made." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"A rich drama...Grant shades with pathos a role that could have come across as just glib...Brand is very affecting as the brooding, resentful brother...But the MVP is Cynthia Harris...Aunt Harriett has the best lines and Harris, clearly enjoying herself, uses lacerating wit to great effect...Jesse Marchese has paced the three acts well...Milne’s play is not without flaws...But the Mint Theater shores up their reputation with another solid production." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

“Hilarious…The ensemble cast is uniformly excellent. The male actors skillfully play multiple roles…Hamill is pitch-perfect as the feisty and flinty heroine…As a writer, Hamill has made some inspired changes to Thackeray’s novel…'Vanity Fair' isn't perfect. I could have done with less of the passing gas humor, done as a group effort—but it got laughs, so what do I know…But these are minor quibbles…A fresh, fast-paced, and wildly entertaining take.” Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "I really appreciated getting to hear such an impressively-sized, exceptional group...Virtually everyone in the cast is a trained dancer and, under John Heginbotham’s animated, engaging choreography, the art form is as much celebrated as the music...The most acrobatic face-off is naturally between Peter and the Wolf as the feisty hero and villain share their climactic tête-à-tête...A beautiful, lively show that makes for a wonderful addition to the holiday season." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"Gethard comes across as incredibly genuine and sincere, in his desire both to tell his story and to provide comfort to others who have gone through what he has and continue to fight the good fight every day. Although not everyone will relate to references to medications and their side effects, Gethard does a service by opening up...He shows the pitfalls of remaining silent about one's struggles, and also how much better it can be through humor and hope." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"There are a lot of laughs, courtesy of Quinn’s writing and performance...Colley runs a well-oiled production with abundant props and actors doing triple duty; he keeps the antics absurd without them becoming silly or slapsticky. Sure, 'Bears in Space' is not a very deep or meaningful show. But the four actors are clearly having a great deal of fun, and so will you." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

for a previous production "For this highly modern and clever take on Shakespeare’s 'The Comedy of Errors,' the very energetic writers and actors Maggie Seymour and Olivia Atwood have condensed the Bard’s farce to an hour, with time for raps, dance breaks, puppets, Nerf guns and a little audience participation…Seymour and Atwood deftly and hilariously keep the 15 characters straightish...Shakespearean scholar and novice can both enjoy this riotous showcase for two performers with standout comedic timing." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

“The meet-cute is certainly not a new conceit and in the wrong hands could come off as tedious and clichéd. But playwright Dan Moyer brings a freshness to his take, combing humor with sexiness and pathos…Director Jess Chayes steers the flirtatious and bruising ballet with a light hand, maintaining a lively choreography, both verbally and in the constant advancing and retreating between Annie and Gabe.” Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “The multi-ethnic cast of fourteen are standout singers…Guerrerio has done a masterful job not only of making an 18th-century opera relevant for modern audiences, but also of hitting a lot of marks during this election season…Some of the plot threads are underdeveloped and a few of the characters get a rushed treatment…Those issues aside, Crespo is adept at keeping the frenzied antics going at a lively clip…Delivers trenchant commentary with an abundance of showmanship." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"Brutalities of war, and the power of brotherhood and Christmas spirit to achieve peace, are given vivid life in this moving one-man show... As Gwyther jumps from person to person, he’s guided by the effective lighting and sound that transport the action from the quiet moments to where the sky is lit up from bombs...It’s not a long show, but it packs a thoughtful and emotional punch...Gwyther and O’Brien have crafted a show that, 100 years later, feels very relevant." Full Review

70
Theatre is Easy

"Director Lisa Peterson, along with scene designer Rachel Hauck and props master Zachary Serafin, create an effective noir atmosphere. The ending, which is really ambiguous, may leave audiences dissatisfied, and the characters aren’t given the opportunity to demonstrate much growth...Both actors hold the stage and are fun to watch as the two tussle." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"A well-crafted staging that may leave audiences with unanswered questions about the central couple...The performances by the trio are uniformly strong and engaging...Although I didn’t fully click with the story, it’s a thought provoking play by one of the twentieth century’s most trenchant commentators, one whose catalog has been somewhat overlooked in recent decades, and is therefore worth renewed interest." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “A thought-provoking, very topical satire on Judaism, identity, and current events in Israel...Levey’s show will no doubt strike a nerve with Fringe attendees but he skillfully raises questions about religion and politics with humor, earning laughs from a subject that many might think is too sacred to get such a treatment. For those looking for a show with substance, Levey makes for a compelling inclusion in the festival.” Full Review

70
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "A unique holiday show that resurrects the art of live Christmas storytelling...Their approach utilizes storytelling, enhanced by a musical score, sound effects, and minimal visuals...I would have enjoyed more of the Dickens since those phantoms are meant to truly terrify...Although I was expecting more chills with the spectral visitors, it was a novel way to experience storytelling and old fashioned entertainment." Full Review

70
Theatre is Easy

“A lightweight musical that’s more than a little naughty...An ode to an off kilter Christmas that gets wicked before it goes right...Despite Apple’s comedy writing background, there really aren’t enough laughs...The cast has a good time...Their enthusiasm goes a long way towards making up for the lackluster lyrics and thin story...’Christmas in Hell’ isn’t the most subtle or sophisticated of shows, but what holiday isn’t made better by giving the sacred an unholy kick in the ass?” Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

“Guaranteed to be clapping and singing along with this expert cast...There’s no plot to speak of, which allows the audience to simply enjoy the very talented artists...Transitions seamlessly from song to song...Points to Bergasse for putting actual musicians on stage and having them do their own song...The rollicking eight-piece band makes the café seem like a...fun place to hang out...Come for the nostalgia, stay for the songs and the transportive performances.” Full Review

90
Theatre is Easy

"Part of the great fun comes from seeing how the stories intersect as the play shifts between different time periods and relationships. Joseph does a masterful job crafting rich characters whose tragedies and triumphs are immediately compelling...Director Giovanna Sardelli displays a skilled hand in keeping the many moving pieces flowing gracefully...Expertly cast...Joseph’s warnings about politics, corruption, and manipulation couldn’t be any more resonant right now." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

“Funny, fast-paced political satire...The adaptation never feels stodgy, but that’s not to say that initially, given the large cast, the rapid-fire dialogue, and the brisk staging that I wasn’t a little confused as to who was who and doing what...Whether you’re a political junkie, love a cutting satire set to music, or have never been to Fraunces Tavern, 'Androboros' is a clever romp through history told with fresh eyes, influenced by current events, in a legendary space.” Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"Asha isn't a born performer, but she is funny and ultimately has the audience in the palm of her hand...Jain is a skilled storyteller and deserves props as a writer...A couple of small cuts could be made early to get the family to India sooner without any of the setup of their relationship being sacrificed...'Asha' is a charming production with an unlikely comedic duo that also provides a window into the subject of arranged marriage...It's a welcome introduction to another culture." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"Although it doesn’t detract from the abundant laughs, if you aren’t up on your 'King Lear,' you may find the plot of Shakespeare’s play, such as it is here, a little hard to follow. Carl’s pace, which is brisk, could stand to be slowed down a little...Michole Biancosino is adept at keeping the energy and craziness up without letting it spin into incomprehensible chaos...This wince-inducing, utterly engaging production is a very limited run." Full Review

55
Theatre is Easy

“A raw, uneven revival with a standout lead…Chrissy is often a difficult character to understand or be engaged by…Chrissy's parents remain inscrutable, especially in the overly long second act…There are too many scenes with Chrissy's parents that don't add much...The play makes for a time capsule of sorts…It’s a polarizing show that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s a chance to see a Rabe play that gets far less attention than his other works, and features a lead actress worth watching.” Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"As memorable as the cast is, they’re backed up by Max Vernon’s catchy and moving songs. Everyone gets a turn, which is admirable, but certain songs land better than others...Jason Sherwood’s set design, aided by Andrew Diaz's props and set dressing, is outstanding...Just as Wes gets woke by the end, the production’s intent is clearly to have audiences not just walk out humming, but to fight back." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

"It is absolutely a thrill to watch Foster up close…She’s winsome and utterly sincere as Charity expresses the happiness she feels at meeting one of her romantic silver screen idols…Leigh Silverman has assembled a large, ethnically diverse cast but even in a small space, the dance numbers don’t feel overstuffed or too busy…Although Simon’s book doesn’t entirely hold up, the show is improved by a stellar lead. You’ll be dazzled by the dancing and humming the catchy songs for days." Full Review

90
Theatre is Easy

"The two comedians have created a full meal out of what started as a sketch...Kroll and Mulaney are great fun to watch, and their affection for each other and the characters is evident...There’s no staleness or boredom despite them having portrayed the grumps for over a decade. Alex Timbers uses a light touch, letting his funnymen and their antics loose...Kroll and Mulaney have crafted a tasty sensation for the new Broadway season." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “Rather than either a purely uplifting finale or a bitterly dark one, we get a narrative arc - good guy put through emotional meat grinder who doesn't emerge without some lasting scabs - that feels inevitable. But perhaps for an actor chasing the big Broadway dream, it’s the most honest. Reitz and Schnee have crafted a thought-provoking, funny, and sometimes shocking production, which is exactly what you look for in the Fringe. “ Full Review

65
Theatre is Easy

"A contemplative discourse on science, the paranormal, reincarnation, and the connections between us…There are moments late in the play that feel both overstuffed and rushed, demonstrating that subjects such as past lives, existence, and souls are very hard to dramatize in a captivating way. That being said, the trio nimbly navigates through the somewhat murky waters...The play didn’t entirely gel for me, but it was nonetheless largely engaging." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"Linn-Baker, so winning as an unfortunate newlywed trading barbs with his sharp-tongued wife, is gifted with numerous hilarious moments as he sputters in indignation…The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, fleet-tongued as they keep all the parrying and machinations going…If you like your classics with more than a bit of bite, get schooled before the show closes." Full Review

95
Theatre is Easy

"Harrower and director Joe Mantello have crafted a gripping, tense drama unfolding in real time that doesn’t indulge any wasted moments. They let the actors and the dialogue do all the heavy lifting and they do so without judgment, leaving the audience to decide if they are sickened, moved, saddened or all of the above...'Blackbird' is a gripping portrait of a taboo love story done with unflinching honesty that is brutal and unforgettable." Full Review

80
Theatre is Easy

"Wallace…has a great ear for dialogue and has crafted a vivid picture of the lives of the two very different women...I would tighten up the introduction or change the pacing. But as the play progresses, Rauch expertly guides the later intimacies and blow ups so that they crackle with energy and no moment seems extraneous. If you’re looking for a play with unpredictable twists and outstanding acting, you’ll be rewarded with a deft portrait of ruin and renewal." Full Review

75
Theatre is Easy

"Jesse Eisenberg and Scott Elliott bring star power to a funny, well-acted production, but the story doesn’t entirely add up...The main problem is that all of the action revolves around Ben. He’s more of a type -- a man-child -- than a fully realized character. Audiences wanting motivation for his character’s behavior will likely be frustrated. But it’s a testament to Eisenberg’s writing and the strength of the talented ensemble that the show still mostly works." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "Jones traverses the familiar moments in an abbreviated version of the novella without giving short shrift to the key plot points and themes of despair and joy, death and new beginnings...Adorned with period holiday decorations, Merchant’s House is a special place to get reacquainted with the holiday classic...Despite 'A Christmas Carol' being the recipient of countless modern-day interpretations that almost everyone has seen in one form or another, Jones’s rendering is fresh and lively." Full Review

85
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "Judging by the audience reaction, Carl has a sizable fan base. It’s well-deserved, but even more impressive than his Busey is his ability to return to the text after all of the moments where he goes off script. My only criticism is that, given all of the references in the play, an annotated guide would be handy. But whether you’re a first-timer at the fest like me or a seasoned veteran, you should not miss this inspired entry." Full Review