Rating System: Activate!

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the one, the only – Becca Doodle.

Smile Option 1    Meh Option 1     Frown Option 1

 

 

 

 

Becca Doodle will be making appearances with my review posts from now on to give you a quick look as to how I feel about a show.

Designed and drawn by me with the most innovative of technology (ahem, Paint), Becca Doodle will help guide you as you make upcoming Broadway ticket-purchasing decisions. As you likely can gather, there’s happy Becca Doodle, sad Becca Doodle, and meh/somewhere-in-the-middle Becca Doodle (shout-out credit to Allie for the shrugging arms idea). This is really advanced stuff, I know, but go with me on this journey, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Becca Doodle’s future theatrical adventures!


The Prodigal Blogger Returns…

Oh hey there, friends. That was quite the unexpected hiatus, but I’m back! How was everyone’s summer? …and fall apparently. (Winter is coming). ((I don’t even watch that show)). Want a quick recap of where I’ve been?! Thought so!

My brother got married! How beautiful is this?

Wedding

I had an 80s murder mystery birthday party and got to murder my friend Neil. It was quite the evening.

Murder Mystery

In July, I went to the 25th Annual Spelling Bee Reunion Concert, and it was as delightful as you’d expect it to be.

I saw a whole bunch of shows, many of which have since closed (sorryyyy): 10 Out of 12 at Soho Rep, The Wild Party and A New Brain at Encores, Cymbeline at Shakespeare in the Park, John at Signature. But I also saw things that are still running like The King and I, Fuerza Bruta, and Spring Awakening so we can get back to those at a later date.

I went to my friend’s wedding in the Bahamas and made another music video in honor of the occasion!

I visited my good pals in Chicago and my brother up in Boston.

I took my first improv class ever this summer, and it has been hilarious and terrifying all at once.

I went to a friend’s wedding in upstate New York — noticing a trend? One more in November will wrap up 2015 for me. Look at the pretty bridal shower!

And I just had a full weekend of shows which I will be posting about soon, I promise.

ALSO. I’m going to be introducing a rating system this week for the theatre I see. Stay tuned for some brilliant drawings by yours truly.

Until next time!


Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult

Tristan & Yseult

You can always count on Kneehigh Theatre for a whimsical treat for the soul.

When I first heard St. Ann’s was presenting the theatre company Kneehigh’s production of Tristan & Yseult, I jumped at the opportunity to go. Plus I got to see it with Shannon, one of my favorite people, who was visiting from Chicago last week (to launch Brontosaurus Haircut Productions!). Kneehigh’s style is right up our alley so we were eager to drink in the performance. I’m sorry to say that the run ended on Sunday night, so unfortunately I can’t recommend that you go see it (slash I’ll keep this brief). But here’s the trailer to give you a taste.

One of the reasons I’m drawn to Kneehigh is their seamless threading of storytelling with dance, music, and physicality. It’s consistently innovative, exciting, and unexpected. I got to see Brief Encounter at Roundabout Theatre Company in 2010, and while I don’t recall specifics (except the swinging on chandeliers), I definitely remember how it made me feel. I remember being awed, thrilled, and challenged by the acrobatics, ideas, and designs. It was simply beautiful (here’s the clip reel).

Their newest production is the story of Tristan and Yseult, your classic case of star-crossed lovers. We are greeted by a group of self-declared “Lovespotters,” who also introduce themselves as the unloved in this world. They are all dressed in uniform track jackets, hoods up, carrying around notepads and binoculars as they search for signs of love (this ensemble also doubles as the characters of the main story). I loved the unloved. They were like the minions in “Despicable Me” – working in unison, saying random things, singing and stomping around, and called names like Steve and Kenneth. They’ve also been known to croon sappy love songs and modern pop songs with the kick-ass band at the Club of the Unloved.

Even though I can’t recommend this particular play, I can tell you to keep your eye out for Kneehigh shows. We went on a journey of love, heartbreak, song, and dance as these characters sailed on ships, battled, and flew in the air. The storytelling is quirky and light until you realize just how heavy-hearted things can be.

Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult
Written by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy, Adapted and Directed by Emma Rice
St. Ann’s Warehouse, Closed December 14, 2014
Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich
Pictured: Dominic Marsh and Hannah Vassallo


A Disclaimer on Reviews

Ghostlight

I’ve been thinking a lot about reviews and critics recently. It remains fascinating to me how people can have such different opinions about things, and I’m not just referring to theatre. I’m talking about movies, TV, books, any form of art really. I mean, this isn’t news. Art is subjective. We know this. People are going to see it through their own eyes, approaching it with their own history of experiences, relating to it in their own way. If art weren’t subjective, it would be a whole lot less interesting, not to mention a lot less universal.

I find that in the theatre world, we tend to surround ourselves with those who have a similar aesthetic in the same way that our friendships naturally evolve. You know how you’re friends with people your friends are friends with? But even within that shared aesthetic, you’re still likely to have massive differences of opinions. My pal Matt loves the musical Ghost. I hate it with a fiery passion (sorry Matt, you know how I love to dig at that show). Jenn adores certain actors whom I would rather not see again. Brigitte loves the movie “Runaway Bride.” But despite these differences in opinion, I would still take their advice any day on what shows to see.

Honestly, it’s amazing to me that critics have a job, that the concept even exists. When opinions are so varied, how is it that one individual can make a living saying what he or she thinks? This isn’t a Yelp situation where a musical receives a certain star rating because 600 people went to see it and then commented about their favorite parts. So much of a production’s sales can depend on what the New York Times prints the night of its opening. Is the fate of a show in the hands of Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood alone?

There are times I’m reading a Brantley review and it’s like he took the words right out of my mouth, but other times when I think, “Did we even see the same show?” I thought Aladdin was a major miss – it got great reviews. Matt and I did not care for last season’s Cinderellasame thing. ROCKY we loved. In fact, when it was in previews, I didn’t hear a negative thing about it in the general Broadway buzz. But then the reviews came out negative to mixed. I admit – I began to worry people would start to not trust my reviews, but it’s not really about trust, is it? It comes down to opinion and opinion alone. Not everyone will see eye to eye with me. The best I can do is share what I see and what I know, and from there it’s up to you.