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Members say: Disappointing, Dated, Banal, Confusing, Slow
1 review
26 reviews

In Creative Arts Lab's stage adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters' 'Spoon River Anthology,' two strangers return to their hometown to say one last goodbye to their pasts.

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Julia and Ham meet and journey together through the Spoon River cemetery. There they—and the audience—encounter the town's departed who speak and sing of their lives, their loves, and their town as they guide the living in their search for truth. These memories are complemented by performances of traditional American songs and hymns such as “Down to the River to Pray,” “Simple Gifts,” and “Battle Cry of Freedom.”


Cast & Creatives (19)

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Reviews (27)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

DC Metro Theater Arts

“The individual stories lack narrative fluidity and cohesion…Under Arment’s direction, the cast’s delivery of the outdated language sounds unnatural and stilted, at times recitative, at other times cloying and histrionic, with mugging and emoting that miss the mark for either drama or comedy…The performances as a whole are generally lacking in credible emotion. As a result, the show’s underlying didacticism seems little more than an antiquated cliché." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Ambitious, Slow, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you would like to see a Hallmark card come to life, full of sentimentality and old fashioned values.

Don't see it if you prefer modern shows with contemporary music.

Enchanting, Refreshing, Relevant, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You like musicals You like shows about returning and reflecting on the past and ones home You like talented actors taking on many roles

Don't see it if You don't like small theater

Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You're really bored and can't findd anything else available

Don't see it if You have high standards

Shallow waters

See it if You like comfort food theater in small doses. First five rows a must to stay woke. Elder Ham most likable, but just supporting filler piece!

Don't see it if Ticket cost is double digits. Boring and unmemorable show. Not good or bad, simply the definition of mediocrity. Who has the time for meh?

Also Two new characters from SR who meet in the cemetery are a bust. Plot l... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining

See it if enjoy a sweet play with music about deceased people remembering the past and 2 strangers who meet and discuss their past and future.

Don't see it if you like a sophisticated play or expect a musical with original music. There are old songs, some religious in nature that accompany stories.

Thought-provoking, Slow, Dated, Pleasant

See it if you love Our Town, and want a similar experience without the tears. This show doesn't dig deep, but evokes enough to be worth seeing.

Don't see it if If you want to see something cheerful or happy. This is a quiet little show that settles nicely into your soul and makes you glad to see it

Indulgent, Banal, Cliched, Insipid, Dated

See it if "Down by the Riverside" is the highlight of your day. You want to hear poorly performed retreads of "old timey" songs.

Don't see it if Sophomoric, semi-professional, trite, musicals with clashing voices and poor harmonies do not appeal.

Old-fashioned, Sleepy, Dull, slow, Community theater, Some good musicians

See it if you like small vignettes with moral, small-time themes. Enjoy hymns and spirituals. Like watching actors play multiple characters.

Don't see it if Want a faithful retelling of SRA, expect all the actors to be good, aren't bothered by jumbled storytelling, don't like many odd accents.

Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Dated, Fluffy

See it if You're an actor like me who's never seen this classic text performed outside of class. If you have patience for fluffy, musical revisions.

Don't see it if You don't like church music added to a classic poetic play that's already hard to understand and execute by actors. ( I was disappointed)

Confusing, Cliched, Insipid, Slow, Dated

See it if you are nostalgic about turn of the century (last one, not this one) white Christian Midwestern small town America and Masters' Anthology

Don't see it if you cannot sit for 90 minutes or are bored by insipid Christian themes/music and inconsistent accents (is it Illinois, Maine or Arkansas?)

Wonderful singer/musicians, Community theatre vibe, Tries to integrate the contemporary, Pleasant staging, Use more spoon river text please

See it if pleasant evening of poetry & music some talented actor/singers, heartfelt rendering of EdgarLeeMasters SPOON RIVER ANTHLOGY is up your alley

Don't see it if hymns & civil war standards, some less than stellar acting, non-unified design concept & poetry would keep you away

Slow, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You want to hear familiar songs intertwined with remembrances of small town characters.

Don't see it if You want new songs rather than old folk songs.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Professional looking vanity project

See it if can't think of any reason.

Don't see it if you have anything better to do.

Confusing, Disjointed, Not true to source material

See it if love Spoon River. The adaptation which played live outdoors at Green-Wood Cemetery was much better. Probably the best I have seen.

Don't see it if are a real Spoon River Fan. The adapter rewrites poems, changes relationships,adds characters. Literary liberty is fine, but this too much!

Also I know Spoon River Anthology pretty well. This was not so much an adap... Read more Read less


See it if you need a 90 minute nap...

Don't see it if you want to see an interesting show...

Confusing, Lovely, Nostalgic, Disjointed

See it if you'll appreciate old hymns and songs with on-stage musicians and a compilation of various memories; lovely music and movement

Don't see it if feels more about the place than the people as some memories not clearly attached to the modern story which makes it feel disjointed

Ambitious, Disappointing, Uneven

See it if Some episodes moving-others miss mark.Absurd jumble of accents.Old hymns and familiar songs with good musicians but not always the singers

Don't see it if Remember book with great fondness.

Also Not purist for sticking to setting of book- but should decide where pl... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid

See it if You like a play in the small theater. Setting is beautiful. Do not expect a dance and songs.

Don't see it if You want real acting, the story is based on life and death but their acting was so surface that can't reach our heart.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if like Edgar Lee Masters characters in his poems. Learning about their family backgrounds was interesting

Don't see it if you do not like the corny musical numbers they chose

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Insipid

See it if If you want to see some fairly well known songs, well sung by a good cast.

Don't see it if You're interested in a decent plotline and an absorbing, entertaining play. It's a very minor show - disjointed and disappointing.

Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like old fashioned folk music and singing. You are sentimental.

Don't see it if You like flashy production values and "with it" characters.

Banal, Disappointing, Dated

See it if If you want something sleepy and short

Don't see it if If you want a rich vibrant musical

Delightful, Dizzying, Enchanting

See it if Your brain needs a rest. Not much concentration required . Pleasant music, singing and dancing.

Don't see it if You like a more absorbing story or plot..

Banal, Cliched, Dated

See it if You like old folk songs and want to see a future star, Alison Whitehurst.

Don't see it if You want a coherent vision and a forward-moving story.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You fondly recall Spoon River Anthology, like traditional American songs sung by lovely voices, don't mind a slight plot.

Don't see it if You want a compelling story, don't like traditional American music, aren't willing to have your mind wander during the play.