Berkshire Stages

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A digest of what's playing at theaters in and around the Berkshires based upon reviews by Berkshire Eagle theater critic Jeffrey Borak.

Capsules include publication date of review, closing date of production, performance schedule, and production's running time.

A • denotes a highly recommended critic's choice.

BROADWAY BOUNTY HUNTER: This brash, high-volume, in-your-face world premiere musical draws its form and inspiration from the blaxploitation and martial arts movies of the 1970s but its heart and soul belong to Broadway and issues of gender, ageism, and diversity. In a vehicle created for her, Annie Golden stars as a down-on-her-luck, sixtysomething Broadway actress named, well, Annie, who, chiefly because of her age, can't get the roles she wants and doesn't want the roles she can get. She unexpectedly finds second career life as a kung-fu-trained bounty hunter who is sent off on a mission to the South American jungle to bring in a drug lord who has an insidious scheme to "improve" Broadway's business model. Composer Joe Iconis catches the style and pulse of the blaxploitation soundtrack but the show, overall, is clunky and moves in fits and starts. Its style is most successfully captured in Jeff McCarthy's breezy, audacious, go-for-broke performance as the drug lord and Scott Watanabe also is on target as the martial arts master who takes Annie under his wing. For her part, Golden looks a bit bewildered and not quite comfortable, yet, as the star of her own show (Aug. 25). Closes Sept. 4. Evenings — Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30. Matinees — Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3; added matinee Aug. 31 at 3. (2 hours — including one intermission)

Barrington Stage Company, St. Germain Stage, Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden St., Pittsfield. Tickets — $46-$20. 413-236-8888; barringtonstageco.org; in person at Barrington Stage box office — Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union St.

OR,: Liz Duffy Adams has constructed a smart, sly sophisticated farce about 17th century British spy, poet and playwright Aphra Behn and her effort to give up the spy game and complete her first play — a commission from the Duke's Theatre — while romantic intrigue involving her sometime lover King Charles II; her former lover and colleague in the spy business, William Scot; and actress Nel Gwynne swirls around her on the night before her manuscript is due. An immensely talented cast of three plays, among them, roughly half a dozen characters with seamless skill and robust style (Aug. 6). Closes Sept. 4. In rotating repertory — selected evenings at 7:30 and afternoons at 2. (1 hour 35 minutes — no intermission)

Shakespeare & Company, Tina Packer Playhouse, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets — $80-$20. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org; in person at Shakespeare & Company box office on site

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA: William Shakespeare's problematic early romantic comedy about how youthful first love strains the bond between two close friends is given a problematic production that sprawls across an intimate theater-in-the-round setting like a circus of human folly, throwing every anachronistic idea against the wall to see if anything will stick. Director Jonathan Croy grabs hold of the dark twist in Shakespeare's ending and makes it even darker and more unsettling, as if we were being prepared for a much more compelling play we never get to see (Aug. 18). Closes Sept. 4. In rotating repertory — selected evenings at 7:30 and afternoons at 2. (2 hours 41 minutes — including one intermission)

Shakespeare & Company, Tina Packer Playhouse, 70 Kemble St., Lenox. Tickets — $80-$20. (413) 637-3353; shakespeare.org; in person at Shakespeare & Company box office on site

THE WEDDING SINGER: Beneath the puerile goings-on in director Ann Cooley's production is a genuinely sweet, tuneful musical, based upon Adams Sandler's 1998 movie, about an unlucky-in-love wedding singer named Robbie and a waitress named Julia who is about to head down the aisle with the wrong man. Given the caddish nature of the waitress' fiance on the one hand and the portrayal of Robbie as a schlub on the other, you have to seriously question Julia's taste in men (Aug. 27). Closes Sept. 4. Evenings — Thursday through Saturday at 8. Matinees — Saturday at 4; Sunday at 2. (2 hours 24 minutes — including one intermission)

The Theater Barn, 654 Route 20, New Lebanon, N.Y. Tickets — $27, $25. (518) 794-8989

TRIBES: Playwright Nina Raine takes on far more than she can handle in this drama about what happens to the dynamics within a surly North London family — whose members hardly seem to like one another, let alone love one another — when a son who was born deaf and taught by his hearing parents to lip-read and speak, becomes involved with a hearing woman, born to deaf parents, who now is losing that sense. The production is ably acted but the play shifts focus from one situation to another and back again as it grapples with issues of words, language, identity until it finally ends on an inauthentic, manipulative note of schmaltz that is beyond words (Aug. 25). Closes Sept. 3. Evenings — Tuesday and Wednesday at 7; Thursday through Saturday at 8. Matinees — Wednesday and Friday at 2. (2 hours — including one intermission)

Barrington Stage Company, Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union St., Pittsfield. Tickets — $69-$20. 413-236-8888; barringtonstageco.org; in person at Barrington Stage box office on site.


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