Tulis McCall

Tulis McCall 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 (204)
70
Front Row Center

“A well intentioned play that never lands in one spot. We hear about Vera’s struggles in a way that is more a litany than a gut punch...We never get into the heart of this woman. Nottage is taking wide swaths through this territory and covers a lot of ground. But in the end it feels more like a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We see it but we don’t feel it. Everyone is a caricature and the beating hearts that keep them alive never surface.” Full Review

95
Front Row Center

“The story of ‘On Blueberry Hill’ is out of the box. One of those what if, and also what if, and then what if THAT...These are tales of deep sorrow and joy told in the plain language of facts...Both these actors are accomplished storytellers. They know how to paint with words...The story flags a teeny bit as we come round the bend, but in the end it picks itself up and leaps off the edge of the chasm. These two fine actors let their characters fly – and take us with them. Bravo Big Time.” Full Review

95
Front Row Center

“Although Quinn disparages most of the immediate world, he does it with a light touch. He also repurposes and recycles his material, and makes it work...Quinn understands that we are walking around with blinders on, and he does not condemn us for that. Instead he steps into our field of vision and makes it impossible to look away. Quinn makes you smile as you squirm. Quinn is a comedian who sticks to your ribs. Bravo.” Full Review

90
Front Row Center

"I have always been a fan of Theresa Rebeck. She has the ability to knit together fully formed characters and lock them together like small tidal waves...The pacing is nearly Hitchcock. The characters are set up and delivered by each of the actors with sensitivity and restraint...Under the skillful direction of Campbell-Holt, and aided by the brilliant set design by Narelle Sissons, this play brings home the goods. This is a play that gets under your skin for all the right reasons." Full Review

65
Front Row Center

“I understand that this is satire...And it is supposed to be funny – the lines indicate this even if the actual staging does not make it so. But for me, satire is usually connected to something...There was none of that here. Just a group of willing actors going through the motion and promising to catch one another as they flew through the air. They do, and everyone ends safely on their feet. Why it all happened, and why we sat and watched it – well that is the mystery.” Full Review

77
Front Row Center

"Although it is a sad slide, watching May navigate the splotchy fading verbal path down which her Gladys Green is careening is a thing of rare and exquisite beauty...Lonergan‘s dialogue has a beautiful rhythm to it...The plot, however, lands with a thud...The family is beyond slow on the uptake, and the presence of Don is without purpose...Still, May is the real deal and worth the trip. You will not forget watching her make magic." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

“Not only is the plot wanting, the writing is stiff and uneven. One minute it sounds vaguely 15th century and the next minute we are hearing phrases like, ‘check this out’, and, ‘I’ve got it covered’...In addition, the characters are not clearly defined. Close swings like a pendulum...She has no clear path in this play, and because she is the fulcrum, the play is out of balance. The result...is an altogether pedestrian production that cannot decide what it is or why.” Full Review

88
Front Row Center

“'On Beckett,' with the marvelous Bill Irwin, is, as the title suggests, a talk and a performance. With a bit of tweaking it could be a TED Talk. And a mighty good one...Irwin is not only earnest, he is mercurial. A dollop of him performing goes a long way in explaining Beckett...I know more than I did about Samuel Beckett – more than I even knew I could know. But most of all I got to spend 85 minutes with Bill Irwin, which may be the true gift in all of this.” Full Review

97
Front Row Center

“One of those once-in-a-lifetime productions...The story by McPherson could not be more simple...Extraordinary cast...These are songs that you have never heard before even if you have heard them before. The arrangements and these voices seem to pull the lyrics down from the rafters and weave them into story...The panoply of events rolls out with excruciating detail and slowly seeps over the footlights into your core.” Full Review

65
Front Row Center

“I cannot muster up any enthusiasm for this production...The return of Sanders and DeVries is a welcome addition as both men give exceptional performances. This is a Vanya you will feel in your gut and an Alexánder who’s narcissism fits him like a tailored suit…At the center of this disappointment is the script...It takes Sanders and DeVries every ounce of their skills to light a match under this text, but so soggy is the writing that the flame fizzles out as soon as either leaves the stage.” Full Review

60
Front Row Center

"'Less Than 50%' is a distraction and, unfortunately, not much more...It is not remarkable in any particular way...On the plus side Soresi is a talented performer who is eager to try and try and try. He is often a pleasure to watch. Ditto Hannah Hale who is the actor playing the real Laura. They are both charming and talented actors and I look forward to seeing them again sometime in a play that is not defying gravity as well as logic." Full Review

95
Front Row Center

“One of those shows that, when it concludes you automatically think back to where it started and trace the path. You don’t notice the path...because you are having so good a time...Birbiglia sends us into the stratosphere howling at his observations, and brings us to a full stop when he wants to drop deeper into what it means to be a man on the verge of changing his life forever. He examines all of it. And going along for the ride is an experience not to be missed.” Full Review

70
Front Row Center

"Each scene in this play (and the scenes are not chronological) brings with it one or two little pilot lights that stay with you. They do not, however, connect to one another. Nor do they ever accumulate into a fire. They never have the chance. We are pulled from one time and space to another, and just as something begins to simmer, the scene ends and the next begins." Full Review

97
Front Row Center

"Ireland is an extraordinary writer. And the word needs to make it off the page like a foal getting up on its legs. For that you need an actor who is a chemist, a chameleon, and a magician. Rea is all of that and more. Then you need a director who intuits how best to guide such a performer...Featherstone appears to be such a person…A master class in the art of acting...This is the magic that is theatre. This is the transformation that theatre promises staring you in the face." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

"Both Berry and Cozine handle their characters with precision and grace. These are two skilled and devoted actors. Their make their performances look easy, which is why we are glued to their every move. In addition, Love has given them the words that drive the play, and their hold on the reins is unwavering." Full Review

80
Front Row Center

“Sensual and eager to devour life with every pore in her body. Walker’s portrayal of Solidor makes this abundantly clear. The fine performances of the other members of the cast...not only support Walker but bring needed zest and spark. Walker does her best to convey the passion and determination of Solidor, and she succeeds mightily in the songs...The autobiographical monologues and the patter directed at the audience do not hold up as well as they feel random and disconnected." Full Review

93
Front Row Center

"J.K. Rowling’s writing is masterful. Even though this play was written by Jack Thorne, it has her finger prints all over it...These are not the fancy schmancy special effect, but they are spectacular. They are simplicity itself, made of puppetry magic and lighting that tells us exactly where to look...The ensemble’s choreographed movements, clean, simple and unrelenting, give the entire production a physical urgency...Bravo, Brava, Bravastrodamus!" Full Review

97
Front Row Center

"'Mlima’s Tale' is a shattering work...A tight, unsparing script...A director and four actors of immense talent...Everyone knows that there are things, moves, that a body cannot do. Cannot. Nope. Contortions and expansions that would turn a man into an elephant of physical, emotional and mental majesty. It is pretty much impossible. Lucky for us, Sahr Ngaujah did not get that memo, because the leap he takes into this impossible sphere is astonishing....'Mlima’s Tale' is a play not to be misse... Full Review

75
Front Row Center

"An ambitious piece...Every member of this ensemble is spectacular...The performers are stellar and the musicians are snake charmers. In addition, the direction of Lear deBessonet is compelling and vibrant...What is not so compelling or vibrant is the story and the music...It was the performers' mastery that charmed the audience. The story has holes the size of craters...The sincerity and dynamism is packed tight into this troop and the musicians who accompany them. They explode onstage." Full Review

92
Front Row Center

"A perfect confection...It is a fairy tale come to live in the present, physical world...A whole lot of Disney, a little Lloyd-Webber, a little John Williams, a ton of spectacle, and a boat load of that magic elixir, l-o-v-e...A timely show for the #MeToo and the #TimesUp era...This audience was in full throat at every calamity, each special effect (BRILLIANT!), and every blazing song (Levy and Murin have some serious pipes). They roared their approval at every triumph." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

"'The Low Road,' now at The Public Theater, has one of the best first acts I have ever seen. It is filled with twists, turns, sleight of hand, surprises and deceptions...The first act, however, is followed by the second act...The characters are engaging and every actor in this well-oiled ensemble is terrific...Technically, everything is in the right place at the right time. Everything except that pesky storyline that refuses to stay the course. As a result, the second act drags on too long." Full Review

60
Front Row Center

"A well meant play that, with the exception of a mildly interesting mid-section monologue, remains no more than well-meant. The actors are unable to transform this loose knit tale into anything resembling whole cloth. And it is not for lack of trying...While there is nothing of substance in the text of the play, the odd part is I was never lost or bored. These performers do make magic out of flotsam. They weave it in front of our eyes, and they deserved a standing ovation." Full Review

60
Front Row Center

"A seminar on the history of Israel that manages to be one-sided and absent of fireworks of any sort...Plot is nowhere to be found...No drama...The actors do the very best they can, but neither their work, nor the beautiful music, nor Leynse's direction are enough...Inverne intended this play to be a story that captured the passion of a people prepared to sacrifice anything to have a home. Instead he ended up with a play that has all the intrigue of a warm bowl of milk. A missed opportunity." Full Review

60
Front Row Center

"The story twists and turns and never lights long enough for an actual plot line to sink in...As a matter of fact everything is left in a 'sort of' state. Unfulfilling and then some...All the elements of this production are on the dull side - writing, staging, direction, performance, and delivery. Actors forget to keep their faces in sight. Lines are mumbled. Enthusiasm falters. After awhile you just give up trying to follow the bread crumbs and wait for the train to run out of steam. Which i... Full Review

80
Front Row Center

“A creepy pleasure…There is something a bit Hitchcock in this work. One fact slides into another until there is a very slow motion pileup on the freeway to happiness…This is one of the many delicious qualities of the writing – days later a person will still be mulling over the events to see how one led into the other…The second act does not fare as well as the first…The plot becomes predictable. Organ does, however, come close to saving it all with a bit of fancy footwork.” Full Review

65
Front Row Center

"In the latter there are a few laughs well-played by Gyllenhaal, but on the whole, it is a gloomy evening...In many ways this is a brave piece that compels us to watch, the way that videos go viral, or crowds gather to watch a fire. Except here the actual event is the man himself...Each of these might be compelling as short stories. Might be. I am not certain I would get through them, however, because there is not enough meat on these bones to keep me interested." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

“Dano is not up to the task...Hawke is more capable and takes command of everything pretty much from the get go. The imbalance is astonishing...People will go to see Hawke, and there are moments when he does not disappoint. He is an actor who loves adventure, and that commitment is infectious...He will try anything – and that puts us on notice...As for there rest – it was all Sturm und Drang...In a word, boring.” Full Review

70
Front Row Center

“In this trio of plays...Everyone is pretty much unlikable...Each play is built around good intention, but...not enough to pave the road to a riveting piece of theatre...'‘The Fourth Reich:’...Not only was the text going nowhere, but the intended recipient was unknown...’Great Negro Works of Art’...Not a new idea but it could have been...’Unlikely Japan:’...Lacks gravitas and becomes a ho-hum...All in all a great set of intentions that fail to lift up off the page.” Full Review

93
Front Row Center

"A play that will stay with you...Demos-Brown has written a play that takes a pick-axe to our identity as a country...Washington and Pasquale take on the challenge of performing mutual open heart surgery on one another...Leon’s use of silence and simplicity fuels the raw situation better than any stormy display could.” Full Review

80
Front Row Center

“This is a comedy in so many ways...In addition there are a few intimate scenes that let us in on the closets these characters keep stocked with secrets and intrigue. These could be caricatures, but the authors avoid that trap...While setting out with excellent intention, the play runs off the rails about half way in...There is no crescendo that spikes our interest or the characters’ willingness to go all in. That is unfortunate because these three actors are up to the task.” Full Review

97
Front Row Center

"This brilliant production...This is not so much a play as it is a communal aria. The writing is choral. The characters move in and out like wild folk dancers slipping in and out of the light. Each of the performances is crafted to perfection, and Sam Mendes direction insures that everyone has their spotlight and their glowing place by the hearth in rotation...Butterworth knits characters into characters, then into stories...then into worlds that are larger than the stage that holds them." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

“There is a lot of yes, yes, yes as we empathize with these characters’ journeys. There is not, however, some specific element that ties them all together...Although Mandvi is a mercurial actor, sincere and possession a kind of innocence that you cannot fake, he never transcends the sadness of the material...He makes the cardinal error of repeating the lines of the unseen characters so that we can understand what is going on. This is a fantastically unnecessary element.” Full Review

88
Front Row Center

for a previous production “A souped up TED TalK...An excellent and passionate argument in favor of the Constitution...Schreck is so adept and facile that we are willing to follow her...There are odd, unneeded elements included in this production...Iveson is given the thankless task of fulfilling the part of the contest moderator...Also not needed is the debate with a high school student...All in all, Schreck’s is an electric presentation. One only wishes she would be presenting it for a joint session of Congress.” Full Review

77
Front Row Center

“McTeer is quite, quite wonderful. Period. She is mercurial and thoughtful. She conveys the feeling that she is looking for just the right word to say, and that she herself is not certain what that might be. She keeps you on alert...Less satisfying is the play...What is lacking is a strong plot, a reason to move forward, something that raises the stakes. This is not easy in a biographical drama...And because of this McTeer never makes the leap into the Bernhardt that everyone is discussing.” Full Review

99
Front Row Center

“If Taylor becomes any more charming, hilarious and in possession of laser-like timing, she will have to be arrested because there is only so much perfection that the rest of us can stand...She does not disappoint...The anecdotes that make up her life are nearly unbelievable...Behind the leopard print...lives a magnificent woman who is choosing to tell her story to us. She sits. She reads. She makes us scream and howl. And she breaks our collective hearts – just a little.” Full Review

70
Front Row Center

“This play is operatic. The writing itself is unexceptional, and the plot lines that crisscross the stage are predictable. But the towering set...serves to lift the tale up and let it float in thin air. There are majestic themes at play here...Not a remarkable play, but one that benefits from the sum of its parts, and one that shines the light on a past swept out of sight for way too long. Bravo for that." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

“There is a lightness and frivolity that dominates this play that is out of keeping with the story...The script doles out incident after incident while the projections attempt to show the protesters and their signs that screamed segregation. None of this is convincing or particularly daring...In addition, we are missing why and how this situation happened to begin with...This story is an important one. Kudos to Maharaj for making a run at this. Too bad he wasn’t willing to scratch below the ... Full Review

85
Front Row Center

“The entire evening is tailored and tweaked to show off the talent assembled. And the audience was appreciative in the extreme from the start...Spectacular voices that blended and soared seamlessly. So seamlessly that within a few minutes they started to sound alike...The music begins to sound like it was a soundtrack for a movie. Not that this is a bad thing – it is just on the dull side. The standout performance, to my mind, was Shoshana Bean." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

“Harrison covers a great deal of territory in a land to which much attention has not been paid. Like I said – hats off to that. But at no time does he take a deep dive and let one of these complicated themes take the wheel. As a result, the story drifts without landing. These actors have no sticking place, and the tale remains vague in its direction. In the end, it is left to the two toddlers to explain to them and to us what the writer’s intentions are. This is a less than satisfying conclu... Full Review

97
Front Row Center

“Nwandu is a fearless writer who takes no prisoners. She writes with a laser beam...Nwandu’s skill is supported and enhanced by this ensemble as well as Taymor’s direction...These actors execute their roles both as performers and characters with exquisite precision...The conclusion is a hairpin turn that leads us like a highway pile-up to the exact spot we were avoiding.” Full Review

88
Front Row Center

"A master wordsmith and plot crafter, Ayckbourn pulls us ito this 4 chapter story and weaves his magic well before we figure out exactly what he is up to...The performances here are all exceptional. These are actors who have worked with Ayckbourn before and they know the drill. You will be asked to suspend your own belief and enter into the Ayckbourn world...Another treasure of an evening at the theatre thanks to Alan Ayckbourn." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

"Hadden-Paton is a mercurial performer. Even with his back turned toward the audience he is revealing this man of many layers...Butz is brilliant in his limited time on the stage...Ambrose is a perfectly fine Eliza, with a lovely voice, who discovers her footing in the last third of the production...Overall the direction plays it safe. Which is okay because the story takes over anyway. Lerner and Loewe – sublime. Sublime. Sublime. And magnificently presented by this 20 piece orchestra." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

"It is a sweet tale, as memoirs often are. What 'Feeding The Dragon' lacks, however, is a mission...Indeed, the few points of drama we hear about are only passing references...Washington is an engaging performer and an excellent character actor. But the material does not give her a chance to show off her many skills. Without the twists and turns, the obstacles and challenges, this becomes a ride on calm water. Neither Washington nor we get to soar the way we would like to." Full Review

95
Front Row Center

"Jackson and Metcalfe are an extraordinary team as they reminisce, question one another, and load up on buckets of sarcasm...A majestic piece of theatre...At the center...is Jackson. Her aim is true. Her work is immaculate. Her mission is clear. She is there to give us the gift of reminding us that we are alive...She does it by being fully alive herself. And she makes it look easy...This is theatre that makes a person believe in magic." Full Review

92
Front Row Center

"While watching the intense gay themes, it is almost too easy to forget that this play is set in 1985...The writing is masterful and Lane and McArdle are more than up to the task...Under Marianne Elliott’s direction, 'Angels' is a roiling, churning entity." Full Review

90
Front Row Center

"The story that rolls out is not filled with hearts and flowers. It is not happily ever after. It is ruthless and oddly comic at the same time...Purely feminine. There is no man on whom the sisters rely or with whom they confer...Depend only on themselves...This is writing that goes deep, not wide...There is nothing and no one who is extraneous...Ditto for the direction by Magar which is spare and spot-on...An allegory about the human condition." Full Review

95
Front Row Center

"This is a by-golly-and-thank-you-Jesus 'Hello, Dolly!' show...In Peters we have an actor who connects with her character. Peters conveys the circumstances as well as the determination needed to navigate the world as a single woman relying on her own wits...The entire production is a creamsicle designed to make you feel good. Period. The music is mostly jolly and occasionally poignant...A visual feast...Dolly is finally home, where she belongs." Full Review

70
Front Row Center

"We are served up a goodly portion of violence...There is cryptic humor, braggadocio, and the kind of bi-polar mood explosions that leave your stomach churning...I was missing a story that I could believe, and characters who were more than two dimensional. The performances were quite excellent so this lack of a larger sphere of dimension seems to have been an artistic choice...Perhaps I am missing the intention of the entire shebang." Full Review

77
Front Row Center

"A memory play and a mythic tale...A home-coming and a home-embracing and a home-leaving tale. The characters are solid and vibrant...Beautiful ensemble work...The important points that unravel the mystery are often glossed over...The logistics were sometimes murky, and this pulled me out of the story. Not enough to leave me stranded, however...I look forward to more of Anyanwu's work. Hers is a voice that should be encouraged." Full Review

75
Front Row Center

"A very fine example of what ensemble work is. More than fine...They have discovered their characters inch by inch. They know who they are and whether we do or not is of no matter...We are, after all observing...We don't need all the dots connected for us...Where this play stumbles is in its structure...These actors are a pleasure to watch. They know their craft as performers. It is the story that needs some attention." Full Review