Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review of Lil' Women: A Rap Musical by Nobody's Sweetheart Productions at Chicago Fringe Festival

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Lil' Women: A Rap Musical. It was written by Sara Stock and Lindsay Taylor with music and lyrics by Isaac Folch with Jordan Keyes. It was based on the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. But it was a rap a musical and that novel was not about rapping; that book was about surviving hard times during the Civil War and what happens after the Civil War to the March girls. I thought it was a great idea because it was such a big change and that made it really funny because it is not just Little Women; it is a rap musical!

There was a song called "Who's That Boy?" which was about how Beth (Chelsea Hillend) and Amy (Ana Eligio) and Meg (Megan Borkes) thought that the boy who lived next door, Laurie (Adam Scharf), was really cute and "looks like he's got loot," and they wanted to marry him and spy on him. I thought that it was a really good song because it was really catchy, and it was all in very good time, and it was also really funny. One of the funny parts was how they were looking at him and even when Meg was saying "No!" she was kind of looking herself.

The song where Beth and Marmee (Sara Stock) were telling Jo (Rebecca Siegel) that she should really just forget about how Amy burned her manuscript made me feel angry. She shouldn't just say, "Oh, my manuscript is burnt but I should just walk away from it"! She should say, "That is my manuscript; my entire life has gone into that, and now it is gone. All of my stories that I have ever ever told are in there. And if I didn't memorize them that means that they are gone forever." She does rap that during the song, but at the end she decides, "They are right. I should just walk away instead of getting all messed up over it." That is a problem that I have with the book, and the writers of the play could not do anything about it, so I don't blame them. It was interesting to listen to, but it wasn't really fun because you felt sorry for Jo.

I thought that the song "Commander in Chief" was really funny. The father (Jim Doyle) was singing about how he had come home from the war and how he was still the boss of the house. It was funny because he said a lot of things that were very obvious. Like he said that he walked in and he used the house like he was the boss, because he was. I thought that it was great how all the girls were like his back-up band.

"Realism" is a song that is about how Frederic (Chris Dinger) wanted Jo's stories to be more realistic. I thought that was basically the scene that they fell in love in. I think that they are a good match for each other because he wants to help her in whatever she can do with her writing. It helps make her a better and more popular writer. I thought it was good how she had to go away to see her sister right in the middle of the song. She got the letter from the DJ (Cody Bush). I liked how they used the DJ as one of the characters. It was funny how Amy was trying to get the manuscript from him. In a previous scene he had tried to give her a high five and she refused. And she gave him a high five later, and he was like "yeah!" and she grabbed the manuscript from him.

There was a song that was called "Beth's Death" that was really sad because Jo had come back from New York to come and see her sister while she dies, and she sang this really sad song about how she's almost there and how she is coming back to her house. Just by thinking about it you want to sing it because it is a very touching song and you like to sing it even though it is a sad song. There's not much rapping in this song, so it is not a toe-tapper, but it is a bittersweet song. The sweet part is that she would come home to be with her sister instead of continue her career for now because Beth was very ill. The bitter part is that Beth probably will die.

People who would like this show are people who like rapping, ill-spittin' lil' women, and tricky high fives. People should go see this show because it is funny but also touching. And it is a big change from the actual book, but it is a good change too. You have two more chances to go and see it. The dates are Sunday, September 1 at 4pm and Monday, September 2 at 8:30pm at the Chicago Fringe Festival.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review of Conversations on a Homecoming at Strawdog Theatre Company

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Conversations on a Homecoming by Tom Murphy. It was directed by Jonathan Berry. It was about a guy named Michael (Adam Soule) who came back from being an actor in America to his home in Ireland. All of his friends whose names were Tom (Michael Dailey), Junior (Jeff Duhigg), and Peggy (Anita Deely) had been friends for a very long time and he is going to see them at the pub that Missus (Janice O'Neill) owns with Anne (Elee Schrock, who wasn't the understudy but came in at the last minute) who is her relation. Liam (Ed Porter) was a man who had been hanging out with the other guys while Michael had been gone. Michael discovers that things are not the same as they were when he left and he has arguments with his friends about how they are so different and why didn't they stay the same as they used to be. It is about getting to know people for a second time even though you already know them. It is about friendship, wanting to start over, and being drunk.

I thought that Tom was a really great character, He was really funny but he was also kind of scary. One time he said, "Oh, how is it being" and he says actor very fahn-cy. It was also funny to me because all of the people on stage were saying "You are so fancy because you are an actor" when actually on stage all of them were actors. And the thing is, I'm not so sure how fancy they actually think they are. I thought Tom was kind of scary because he was almost all the time yelling. At the beginning he seemed pretty nice, but then he started yelling. He was kind of scary then because he was yelling even when he was talking. He was yelling because he was always angry at people. He was angry because they were talking about someone named J.J. who used to be like the leader of them and gave them a lot of inspiration and they really admired him and then he turned into a complete drunk and made a lot of bad decisions. And they discovered that J.J. had been lying to them most of the time. He only had one wife and she was still alive.

Michael was also some of the time yelling, but not as much as Tom. They were always fighting even though they used to be friends when they were kids. He is not a very happy person; his career is not good, and he wishes that his life was better. He comes back to quit being an actor. He's looking to see if he can not have job and just stay with his mother. His mother does not sound like the most nice person. Everyone thinks that he has the most exciting life in the world; they would give anything to be in his place. But the reality is that he didn't really like what he was doing and he didn't really like his life.

Liam was, I think, the character I would not really want to hang out with because he tried to make Michael who already felt bad about his decisions, and regretted them, make him feel even sorrier about his decisions. He wasn't really generous to other people. He actually took a drink from somebody. He treated Anne and Missus like they should repay him and he wanted Anne to be his girlfriend but she was too young, wasn't she?

Junior was a guy who liked to sing a lot and he always wanted Peggy to sing, but the last time she sang was like 10 years ago. 10 years ago is a long time to me because I haven't even been alive that long. He was the one who I think was the nicest of all of the men. He didn't get into any fights or anything. He was just there to have fun. He didn't ruin anything, so that made him a very good character.

I think that all the girls were very nice and they didn't get into any arguments. There were more men and all the men were drunk. Only Peggy was also drunk but she wasn't as drunk as any of the men. Women weren't valued very much in this place even though the women were the people who were actually doing stuff. Like the entire place was run by two women, but the men didn't really appreciate that. And even Peggy, who was there as a customer, was trying to give the men money to help pay for the drinks and they were like, "you're just a woman, I can't take money from you." She was part of the group but they didn't think of her as actually one of their members. Tom is her betrothed, but they are not married yet. I think that is because he is a man and he gets to make the decision and he doesn't really love her so much but she loves him more. That makes me feel very sorry for her because she really loves him but he doesn't love her very much back.

People who would like this show are people who like Ireland, complicated stories, and conversations. It is a good complicated maze to go through where you try to figure out what these characters' relationships are. It teaches you that friendship can be complex.

Photos: Chris Ocken

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review of Mythical Proportions at Theater Wit

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Mythical Proportions. It was written and performed by Nora Dunn. What basically she did is that she told her own story, but she also told stories of people that she knew and characters that she made up. She made a lot of jokes that I really liked and thought were funny, but some of the stories really touched me, like one about a woman who had lost her first child, and one of them was downright scary. I think this play is complicated in a good way; you have lots of things to think about after the show. It made me very interested in the show, and I thought she did a good job keeping people interested through the entire show. I knew it was going to be just talking, and sometimes, for a kid, just talking can be boring, but in this case it was a really fun experience!

There was a story about a woman who was an agent to a bunch of Hollywood stars. But the thing is she didn't just agent them that way that agents do. She basically had a romantic relationship with every single one that she agented! All of the name changes were very strange. Like Rock Hudson was named Warren Beatty (but of course that's just another Hollywood star). And at the end, she said she made out with Claude Monet! How could she have done that! If she was like in her 20s and she was making out with an 80 year old...I just don't know why she'd want to make out with an 80 year old. I think Nora Dunn just wanted you to think that the agent was a funny and ridiculous person.

There was this part where she was pretending to be her doll that she had when she was a kid. She liked to write poetry is what she said. I thought that that was really great because I like when people write poetry, but the thing is this wasn't beautiful, heartbreaking poetry. It was mocking poetry. It wouldn't actually be nice in real life, but it is funny to think about. When she wrote her poetry, she always said, "Yeah, I got in trouble for that too!" which I thought was really funny. There was another funny part when she went to her friend's house and she watched this show she shouldn't be watching because it was about people in jail. And she said, "And each of them made little crafts. Like one of them made a weapon." It was kind of like a little kid's perspective of that kind of show.

I thought it was kind of sad when she told the story of her Dad being an actor. But the thing was, it is not sad to be an actor. It was because one of the actors that her mom was friends with committed suicide. And he had left his makeup kit there. And sometimes she would go in there and look at all the things that were in the makeup kit. It told me that her life was sometimes good, but sometimes it could be very sad. It told me that acting is sometimes a good idea, like she is an actress and she seems like she is a funny person, and my dad is an actor and he is a really nice guy. But the thing is, some actors do go wrong.

There was a kind of a scary one about a British woman who went to America and she met two people and she got angry at them and it doesn't end well. You feel at first that this is an innocent girl who just wants to go to America. I think that Nora Dunn was trying to tell you a story that would creep you out and it really worked. It really did creep me out. This story, even though it is not very realistic, you feel like it could happen when you are hearing it. She told it kind of like a regular story, but it wasn't a regular story, and that made it creepier because the character seems to not care about it.

People who would like this show are people who like funny agents, murder stories, and people in jail making crafts. People should go see this show because it is funny, sad, and scary. It makes you feel lots of different emotions.

Photos: Chuck Osgood

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review of The Hypocrites' 12 Nights

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called 12 Nights. It was based on the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night and various other plays. This is a very interesting version because it didn't have a bunch of actors; it only had four. This play is very funny. It is a Shakespeare play, but it is not like a Shakespeare play, but it also is. It is like a Shakespeare play because it has basically the same plot, but there are lots of changes that they made. The language was Shakespearean sometimes, but they switch back and forth a lot between the language that we use now and Shakespearean language. You feel very comfortable watching it, but you also feel kind of strange. When you go to a Twelfth Night at a place where they are very serious about Shakespeare they will do a completely un-made-up version of the play. But they don't do that here. What they do here is punk-rock-er. They've changed up things and they made it more captivating. Strange and funny things happen when you don't expect them.

When you go and see this show, you walk in, and they give you cookies, and you can draw on the wall. Then they lead you into this room where there are a bunch of lawn chairs and everything is painted like it's a rainbow. I think they did that because it is kind of fun to be led from a dark-ish room into a really colorful room; it is like a complete change of mood. It is supposed to remind people of holidays: like St. Patrick's Day and Easter and Christmas are all colorful days. There are also these comfortable plastic chairs that are kind of like beach chairs. Sometimes when you go to shows, the chairs aren't so comfy, but these are really relaxing.

Many of the characters were gender-reversed from the original story, like Viola (Zeke Sulkes) and Aguecheek (Christine Stulik) and Malvolio (Tien Doman). I thought that was really great because it made the play really fun to watch. I wasn't expecting that most of the actors would play different genders of characters; it was a fun surprise because you can make a lot of funny moments with gender switching. Some of my favorite moments wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for the gender switching. At the beginning, Viola tells you, "You know, because I am actually a lady. (Get used to it)" when the actor is clearly a man. That really made me laugh. The holy-father-fisherman (Doman) was one of my favorite characters; I liked him because he was a very lovable and funny character and it was great that a girl played him because I thought that character was perfect for that actor even though she wasn't old or a man.

I really liked the scene where Sir Toby Belch (Jeff Trainor), Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Feste (Sulkes) were having a party. And Aguecheek, when he came in, he brought this little fridge, and he said, "And in this little fridge I have brought you...BEER!" And everybody was like dancing like, "yay! We got beer!" And all the actors were getting beer from the fridge. But it wasn't actually beer, it was sparkling water. Sir Andrew Aguecheek had this awesome accent that somebody described as "a nondescript European" accent. When they started drinking beer, Maid Mary (Doman) decided that she was going drink with them, but then she's like "I don't want to be seen drinking with you guys, but still I'll have one last beer." So she had to be against it, but she didn't really want to be against it. And she wouldn't have been able to stay, even if the character wanted to stay, because Malvolio was coming and she also played Malvolio!

I thought it was funny how they always used mixed tapes instead of pieces of paper. Like one of my favorite times was during the speech about "some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." I liked that because when she was on the tape she talked in this kind of wispy way that was kind of like singing. I liked the tape because you need to stop the tape, but you didn't need to stop a paper. I liked the stopping of the tape because it makes the scene more complicated and interesting.

I thought it was kind of a strange moment when Viola fell in love with the Duke (Trainor). They were singing along to mixed tapes in like this romantic way. It was kind of weird because they basically just started kissing after they had listened to all the mix tapes. If you are not gay, you probably wouldn't just kiss another boy just because of mix tapes. In the Shakespeare version, the Duke doesn't really want to express his feelings. But here he really did express it, even though he says later he is not gay.

One thing that kind of bothered me was how they told everybody that Viola was a girl by showing us that she had toenail polish on. Yesterday I saw a grown man wearing nail polish and toenail polish on the street. I've been seeing more boys lately wearing nail polish and stuff. That didn't really tell me that he wasn't a boy. That wasn't the best most descriptive way that they could have shown it. I would have suggested grabbing a pink dress and pulling it on over because that would have been a bigger thing and would have suggested it more, even though it doesn't make him a girl.

People who would like this show are people who like Shakespeare, rainbows, and mix tapes. People should go see this show because it is a really fun show to watch. It is a great experience because it is different from any old Twelfth Night. People should definitely go see this show; it is fuhlarious!

Photos: Matthew Gregory Hollis

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review of Bo Thomas and the Case of the Sky Pirates

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Bo Thomas and the Case of the Sky Pirates. It was about a detective (Megan Schemmel) who was basically the girl Friday of another detective Sam Lowell (Mark Lancaster). A girl Friday is basically a helper. But the person who actually did all the work was Bo Thomas, the girl. This show was really funny but also very mysterious. It was very suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat--literally--for the entire show. Some of the characters were very lovable and some of them you were like "grr" about because they were so evil. I didn't just feel like I was watching a play; I felt like I was in those situations.

One of my favorite lines was when Sally (Kelly Yacono) and Bo were tied up but they had been tied up before. And Bo said, "Well, this feels familiar" because they were in the exact same position but in a different place. They were getting the knife when they were tied up, and while they were doing that they basically fell over on each other. That was really cool and funny. It was cool because they actually showed the audience the detective gadget she was using.

Usually it is the man saving the girl Friday. I liked how in this version of a detective story it was the girl Friday saving the detective. I liked how Bo taught Sam how to use a gun. I thought it was kind of funny how he was like "Please let me use a gun," and then after that he really freaks out; he's scared of the gun when he actually gets it in his hands. I think that they had not exactly a romantic relationship but more a best friend relationship. I also really liked it how they stayed friends through the whole thing and he didn't exactly completely fall for Lydia Day (Jennifer L. Mickelson). Lydia Day was the woman who gave them the mystery, and she was like a pretty rich lady.

Minerva (Maureen Yasko) was a very scary character. She was scary because she was always fighting people. She was being mean to them, but she was also physically fighting them. It really kind of makes you happy to see how wicked she is; it really makes the plot much more interesting. She is super-good at being evil. You don't feel sorry for her, but you hate her so much that you love her. There was one time when she turned around and her hair was in her face, and it was really funny because she was completely staying in character which I think is really hard to do when she just did something funny.

Bo had a very good relationship with Sally, who was the secretary at the orphanage. They were such good friends, and I wished that Sally could have always been her friend--dun dun dun! I really like the secretary-like characters in shows because when you think of secretary-like characters you don't think of them saving the world or stopping the world turning, dun dun dun! But in this show, it is people that you don't suspect that have power and brains.

Bo was a really great character because she was a very funny character but also sometimes serious. Babes with Blades shows are always all about girl power, but this was a particularly girl-powery show because even though there was one boy in this, the main character was a detective who was very smart and a girl. And the villains were girls. This is a list of qualities that I would like to have that Bo has: I would like to be able to solve mysteries like Sherlock Holmes; I would also like to have a typewriter; I would also like to be able to have my own office (it indicates you are a professional, and I want to be a professional); and she is very independent but she doesn't just want to be on her own--she wants to have some friends.

I really liked the fight scenes (by JK Choreography). They were very realistic, and I was also kind of scared for the characters. I thought it was cool when Bo had already gotten hit and then Minerva went toward her with the knife and was about to stab her, but then Bo stabbed her before she could stab her. I also thought it was awesome when they held the daggers together and one of them charged but then one of them held it back with her sword. I liked the dagger fighting the most!

People who would like this show are people who like: mysteries, complicated secretaries, and evil Greek ladies. People should go and see this show because it is funny, scary, and the fights are very realistic. Girls and boys ages 8 and up should definitely go and see this show because it teaches boys and girls that girls and boys can fend for themselves but that doesn't mean that they can't have friends.

Photos: Johnny Knight

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review of 'Namosaur at Factory Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called 'Namosaur. It was about the Vietnam War, but it was not realistic because it was also about dinosaurs because, of course, dinosaurs were not alive in the Vietnam War. It was when my grandma and grandpa were alive and when my mom was a few years old. 'Namosaur is about a woman named Weaver (Laura McKenzie) who goes to the army to tell them about an evil scientist Nguyen Nguyen (Eric Roach) who wanted to make dinosaurs alive again. And it all went wrong because he wanted everybody to die and for the world to start all over again. It was a good idea for a play, but it would be horrible if it could actually happen.

Weaver kept having these weird flashbacks to when she worked with Dr. Nguyen Nguyen. They had to say, "Do you like it?" and then they would go back to when they were working together. And there was a nurse (Angela DeMarco) and she was one of the Doctor's helpers and he shot her. That told us that he was a very cruel character and he would do anything to get dinosaurs back in business.

There were some things that I thought were a little bit too inappropriate for me. Like the intestines I thought were really disgusting. The intestines were bloody and I thought that made it kind of scary. When Bigfoot (Eric Frederickson) explodes the dinosaur and he had blood all over his helmet, that was also kind of creepy. I am fine with the usual type of stage blood, like when someone gets shot, but this was a kind of thicker and bumpier blood that made it a little more scary. The way the soldiers talked to each other was also kind of scary because they were swearing at each other even if they said a complementary thing. Next time, my parents are going to see the show first!

I was suspicious of Professor Chaldarhallohapzrd (Allison Cain) from the beginning. She kept covering her mouth when she was about to give away one of the secrets and stuff. And she kept writing down stuff in a notebook. And she kept giving people Coke in strange intervals. That was part of the character and it was very funny, because whenever she was giving Cokes, people were like "Thanks! That's very nice of you" instead of being like, "Why did you just give us Coke?" She was using the Cokes to get them to be distracted.

There were these two butterfly spirit ladies (Alison Dornheggen and Ele Matelan). They were basically like guides for everyone on the 'Namosaur trip. No matter what they did they always said everything at the exact same time. I thought that that was very interesting to add into the play because you don't think, "In the war there are strange spirit ladies who tell you what to do."

Colonel Evans (Jon Sevigny) was really strange. He was strange because when I think of a colonel I think of a man who is very strong and very brave and very sophisticated. But the colonel that they did in this version was very weird and was not very brave. My mom said it was like in some war movies they show the men who work out on the field as army men and the people who work behind the desks as not very hardworking people. I found him more funny after I processed what he was. He used a spatula as his weapon, which I don't think would be a very good weapon if you went into the battlefield.

The soldiers were very funny but very disturbing. There was one called Tiger-Ass (Linsey Falls) and he meant it very literally, meaning that he actually had a butt that was a tiger pattern. Another one was Bigfoot. They meant like he was like the monster Bigfoot--he was very big and hairy. He didn't have a big foot, he was just called Bigfoot because that is what he was like. I actually liked TP (Ross Compton) because he was very funny and kind of a scaredy cat. I was sad when he died. Buckshot (Brian Parenti) was the brother of Tiger-Ass. He was kind of a jerk because he was the one who was the least nice to Private Osborne (Roy Gonzalez). He was really a good way to get things going; when he died, the play really started the plot. Private Osborne was very cool character because he was kind of scared but the thing was he grew to be very brave. I felt like he was misinterpreted by people in the army. They thought he was just a stupid guy who talked to his grandma. But once you really got to know him, he was very brave.

Sgt. Montrose (Timothy C. Amos) thought he was better than any woman. And one time he had a beer drinking contest against Weaver and they tied. So then after that he was nicer to her because he knew that he was an equal with her. When you first meet Weaver she is a drunk and you don't really like her because she's a drunk, but then later you like her because she's really funny. There is no real moral to this story. The purpose of the play is to make people laugh.

People who would like this show are people who like war movies, weird colonels, and dinosaurs. People should go see this show because it is funny. People might not enjoy it as much if they don't like crass humor, but if they do, they're going to love this show!

Photos: Dan Tamarkin

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review of The Nerd at Black Fox Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Nerd. It was about this guy Willum whose life had been saved when he was in the Vietnam War by a guy named Rick (Guy Wicke). It is not still the war; Willum is an architect. The play is about how when Rick comes over to his house he turns out to be kind of a crazy person. It is a very funny show, but it is also kind of distressing because the things that Rick does are so horribly weird.

My favorite character was Rick even though he was sort of the bad guy. He was very interesting because he had a lot of weird things to do and a lot of things to say, like "This is fun!" when they were staring at an apple core. At the party I started to be really irritated by him, but in an interesting way. When they were doing the bags on their heads, he was just messing up this party, but it was interesting because it was so crazy. I also really liked it when they were playing "I went on a trip," and when he was supposed to say something that started with E, he said, "a map of the area." I thought it was funny because he was on E and M is not even close to E. I really liked it when Rick played "Venus in Blue Jeans" on the tambourine. He only had to use the tambourine actually once. He only had to do one shake which was pretty funny, because he said, "I know how to play it on the tambourine."

I really liked it when Willum, Axel (Philip Aman), Rick and Tansy (Jasmine Ryan) were singing this weird song where they were rhyming everything. Like, "Take a bowl of cottage cheese! Throw it out on Mr. Trees!" Everybody really seemed like they were going crazy or something. Willum is trying to get Rick out by doing weird rituals. I thought it was really funny when Ticky (John Wilson) came in with cottage cheese all over him and said, "I would like an answer to why I am all covered in cottage cheese." And then Rick said, "Is it your way?"

I thought it was funny when Clelia (Shawna Tucker) kept doing this plate-breaking thing. When she got angry she had to take a few saucers and break them. She would take a hammer out of her bag and smash it kind of angrily and kind of matter-of-factly. How many saucers do you think they had to buy? Like 5 for each show, right? Sometimes her son, Thor (Jack Edwards) and sometimes Rick made her angry. But her husband never made her angry, at least not as angry as she was made by her son or Rick. At least she never had to break anything about him. Once she and Tansy went into the kitchen where she broke those saucers and when they came out after all the boys had heard crash crash crash, all the boys said, "What was going on out there?" And then Tansy said, "That was just girls' talk." I thought that was pretty funny because it was obviously not just girls' talk.

I thought it was funny when Tansy accidentally said what kind of underwear her boyfriend wore, which were flower ones, even though he is a boy. Boys can wear flower underpants, but it was a little weird her saying it in front of like five people. I thought that Willum and Tansy, how they were boyfriend and girlfriend, was pretty sweet. It seemed kind of like a romantic relationship and kind of like a kid's relationship with a friend.

People who would like this show are people who like tambourines, saucer breaking, and cottage cheese. People should go see this show because it is funny and crazy but the message isn't unrealistic. Willum learns that even if you think something is really important to you, it still could not actually be. Then you can make room for other things that you actually really want to do.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review of Flashdance (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Flashdance: The Musical. It was about a girl named Alex (Jillian Mueller) who did pub dancing when she actually wanted to be a ballet dancer. She also works at a welder's and she fell in love with the boss Nick (Matthew Hydzik). And there is this ballet audition that she wants to do so she fills out a form. What was really great about the show was that the choreography (by Sergio Trujillo) was very entertaining. But the thing that I thought they could have changed was I thought they could have had fewer songs. It is not appropriate for little kids at all, but it has kind of a little kid's tv show message: that if you can try you can do anything, which is not always true, but sometimes it is.

I liked the choreography because it was very interesting and made me very captivated in the dance. One of my favorite moves was when Alex did the move where her leg went all the way up and her hand touched her foot. It made me really want to be able to do that move. I also really liked when they used the buckets. It looked like something that would be really hard because you had to move with the bucket otherwise you would fall over. I really liked the "Maniac" song because I really like music from that time period. I thought the choreography for that was really cool because it actually seemed like a little concert during the show. The moves that she did were very new and unusual for me--in a good way. I really liked it when she pulled the chain and lifted her head back and water poured on her.

There are a few songs I thought they didn't really need in the show, for example, "Steeltown Sky" because she only really goes to work at a steel mill a few times in the show and you didn't really need to know that much about those characters at her work if you don't see them very much. I think that it would have been better if they had cut the song and just did the scene. I thought they didn't need "Chameleon Girls" because you didn't really need to know who all the Chameleon girls were because they were such a small part. I wish they just cut the song; they could still have a scene to show you what Gloria (Kelly Felthous) was going through.

I liked Alex's friends at Harry's: Tess (Katie Webber), Kiki (Dequina Moore), and Gloria. They were very silly; like one time Tess had to dress up like a bunny and Kiki had to dress up like a maid. And they were talking to Harry (Matthew Henerson) about how their costumes were really weird, and he was like, "no, they're really great." And one of my favorite parts was when they said, "Did you pay for these?" They sang this really cool song called "Put It On" and it was about how he should just let them do their thing and let them do what they usually do. The first time they sang the song was with Kiki, Gloria, Tess and Alex. They are singing to Gloria that time about how she is a little bit scared about her number but she should just go on. They get out of their robes and they go back behind this changing screen for like two seconds and they get into these pretty golden outfits. I thought that was really cool. How do they change that fast?! I thought that this number was funny and it showed me that they really kind of looked up to each other.

It was really weird how Alex got into the ballet school even though she danced hip hop for the audition. I thought that was weird because, if a lady says to you, "I would like a ballet dancer," it wouldn't be the first thing that I would think, "Hey! I'll do some hip hop instead." I thought that the bad message in the play was that to get a girl to like you, you should just do everything for her, like getting her into ballet auditions, and she'll hate you for a few seconds but then she'll love you.

People who would like this show are people who like dancing, quick-changes, and buckets. Most kids should not see this show, I think, unless they are used to seeing a lot of women in bikinis. There are bad messages and good messages, so people who will be able to know which one is which could go and see the show. When you go and see a show you should just be interested in it, not make your life like the person in the musical.

Photos: Jeremy Daniel

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review of Chicago Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Loyola Park

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called The Comedy of Errors. It was about two pairs of twins who were separated from their actual brothers in a shipwreck. They were separated into different towns and they looked so much alike that people mistook one for another. When Antipholus of Syracuse (Paul Hurley) went to the same town as the other Antipholus (Andy Lutz), he stayed with his brother's wife Adriana (Lanise Antoine Shelley) because they looked so much alike she couldn't recognize that it wasn't her husband. It is about forgiveness, love, and mistakes. There were problems with it being in the park, like dog walking and a bunch of children playing. But it is great to have Shakespeare in the park because even if you are just walking down the street you can say, "Hey there is Shakespeare going on! I'll go and watch it!" And this is how many dollars you have to pay: zero.

The scene at the beginning where all the actors were trying to figure out what show they were going to do I thought was a little pointless. I thought it was pointless because it wasn't very believable when they said, "Hey, let's do Romeo and Juliet" because it says on the program Comedy of Errors. They wouldn't just put that on the program as a joke and give you another program for Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet. I thought it would be better if they just started the play so people wouldn't have to rush home afterwards to bed. Also they could have put on more of the actual Comedy of Errors. It also felt practiced not improvised. I mean that it didn't seem like they were really trying to make these decisions.

There was also some improvising that really worked. Like when one time Dromio of Syracuse (Samuel Taylor) got some nunchucks from a kid in the audience and used them on the Courtesan (Yadira Correa) and he does like a slow-motion ninja thing. I thought that was really funny and great. But not everybody who goes to see Comedy of Errors will get to see that, because there was a kid in the audience who was behaving very rudely but Dromio was able to just work him into the show.

In this version of Comedy of Errors there was acrobatics. I thought it was cool when just to change the set they would make it a circus act. Sometimes they would bring out a chair and get on their head, and then they would flip the chair over when they flipped. When the waiters (Wesley Daniel, Jacob Grubb and P. Tucker Worley) came out to set the table they did juggling sets where someone would throw out plates and bowls and spoons and stuff. I didn't really like it very much when one of the waiters kept saying "Ciao!" The third time was too much, even though there is that rule about comedy about three times and then it gets boring. It only took two times for it to really get old. They also used gymnastics in the chase scene. For example they would do somersaults or backflips and stuff like that to get to a guy. I thought it made it more exciting. It didn't seem more realistic; it was just really cool.

I thought it was funny when Dromio of Syracuse was talking to his master Antipholus about Luce (Jeffrey Baumgartner), the woman who was really the other Dromio's (J├╝rgen Hooper's) girlfriend. He said that she was like a big globe and his master asks, "Where's Ireland on her?" and he said, "It is on her buttocks." I liked that even though it was a horrible thing to say to an actual woman, it was funny to the viewer. You kind of felt the same way. Her outfit made her look very strange. This character was actually played by a man. It makes you not feel so bad because it is not an actual woman and it wasn't even his body--it was a big suit.

I think I liked the Syracuse brother better than the one from Ephesus because he didn't just go and say, "I'm going to have dinner with a prostitute just because my wife locked me out of the house by accident." He basically does something like that every day because he is drunk most of the time. You know that because he is hanging out with all his friends, and they are all drunk, and they seem like they've done this before. I thought you could forgive the Syracuse brother more because he was very nice to ladies and he doesn't know who these people are. He just thinks she is a lady who thinks he is cute; he doesn't know that she is married.

People who would like this show are people who like circus acts, funny mistakes, and men dressed like ladies screaming "Dro-o-omio!" I think this show should be for people who can listen carefully. I know that you are at a park, but you are still watching a play!

Photos: Chuck Osgood