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Theatre Reviews

A trivial comedy for serious people

“I practice my English accent for at least 15 minutes before the show starts,” says Jeffrey Thompson. The 16-year-old plays Jack Worthing in Twin Beach Player’s all-teen production of in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest.     The teens’ hard work and weeks of practice paid off for the all-teen cast. Focused and on cue in every scene, they’re a team.     A stage veteran at 19, Brianna Workcuff makes her directing debut in this production.

Country music’s most popular woman singer still awesome after all these years

Always … Patsy Cline offers remarkable singing and terrific acting in the service of country legend.     Patsy Cline met ardent fan Louise Seger at a Houston concert in 1961. A brash sort, Louise introduced herself and invited Patsy to her home for a late-night breakfast. The meal turned into an overnight stay and that stay turned into several years of correspondences always signed by Patsy with the closing that gives this show its title.     I wish the story gave us as much.

This frothy farce reflects on commitment as characters at crossroads take literal and figurative steps

British farces are not usually my cup of tea; I find madcap, bawdy romps to be silly and exhausting. But Alan Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps is a delightful summer infusion of iced chai: more cool and spicy than hot and saucy, with suspenseful plot twists to make it fun. Colonial Players’ production delivers on its promise to present “a set of very probable, though quite amusing characters in a series of improbable situations that uncover a treasure trove of truth about human nature.”

Rich not only in sound but also in spectacle

Atorch flickers in the castle keep before the orchestra plays a note, illuminating the Dark Ages and modern times alike with the dream of Camelot. 2nd Star Productions’ revival of Lerner and Loewe’s 1960 blockbuster sparkles like a chandelier with 33 local stars in sumptuous costumes and sets, under the visionary direction of Jane B. Wingard. It’s three hours of enchantment and unflagging entertainment.

Big entertainment with 17 singers and dancers, 30 songs and dances and 100 costumes

Swing! was a gusty and lusty blast from the past on Friday night at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. At 53 degrees with gale-force winds, it felt like Winter Garden Theatre. President Carolyn Kirby said she hadn’t seen the like since the cast were babes. But as the program notes, “Swing was never a time or place — it has always been a state of mind.” In the end, mind triumphed over season.

See for yourself in three days of Compass Rose Theater’s New Play Festival

A three-ring circus excites us with more than we can possibly take in with only two eyes.     A three-act play relies on incitement, complication and resolution.     Compass Rose Theater’s New Play Festival promises three days of ambition, achievement and aspiration. Day I: Ambition

This cabaret of pop, Broadway and opera tunes is a fun potpourri

Theater 11 is the 2003 creation of 11 artists from the Anne Arundel County theater and music scene, devised to bring new or rare works to local audiences. They began with a seldom seen Wendy Wasserstein play, followed by two original works by local authors. Their stage went dark after two seasons while its members focused on life’s larger needs. But their vision never died. They reclaimed the stage in December with In Celebration, a holiday collage of prose, poetry and song, which they hope to make an annual tradition.

Interesting. Very interesting.

In stereotype, the Victorian era is dark and overbearing, peopled with prudish and stodgy citizens. That stereotype gives the required context for Sarah Ruhl’s In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play. The assumption is that the doctor — providing relief for hysteria by using a vibrator on his patients, female and male — is both innovative for Victorian sensibilities and naïve of mental and physical health concerns as we understand them today.

A brilliant staging of Arthur Miller’s moving tribute to bonds that bind

Sometimes you want a simple beach novel to bide away the time, and sometimes you want to be in the presence of a master who can control language, inflection and develop great profound meanings. If you are in the latter mood, Bay Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price is the show to see.  In The Price, Miller revisits the family dynamics he explored in Death of a Salesman. This work has some prescient lines for today, some of the most realistic (and often, painful) family dialogues and confrontation written this side of Eugene O’Neill.

Unspoken passion simmers behind courtly manners in this gem of pop culture from a bygone era

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.