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Wednesday, March 25,2015

Curtain call: The ugly truth

‘Dogfight’ explore ugliness, inside and out

by Mary C. Cusack
Peppermint Creek’s latest production, “Dogfight,” is a play about unattractive women and crass human behavior, set against the backdrop of a violent global conflict on the eve of a presidential assassination. Yet despite — or perhaps in spite of — all of that ugliness, it is an entertaining and beautiful masterpiece of love and compassion.
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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Curtain call: Fantastic voyage

Ixion Theatre brings the outlandish tales of Louis de Rougemont to life

by Mary C. Cusack
Ixion Theatre’s latest production, “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — the Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)” is the polar opposite of its last play. Review “Topdog/Underdog” was gritty, intense and tragic, while “Shipwrecked!” is innocent, charming and cute. And while “Topdog” benefited from the bare and intimate space of the AA Creative Corridor, “Shipwrecked!” would benefit from a space that offers better light and sound effects. The play is based on the real-life and imagined exploits of one Henri Grin. In the late 1800s, Grin created a fantastical (and mostly fictional) biography, under the pseudonym Louis de Rougemont, which he sold to London’s Wide World Magazine.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Curtain call: Together at last

Two Lansing theater veterans share the stage in ‘The Best Brothers’

by Mary C. Cusack
Williamston Theatre is entering a new chapter with the purchase of the building it has inhabited since 2006. Its first production since the purchase is historic as well: pairing two respected theater professionals and friends on stage together for the first time. It’s a small shame that the play, “The Best Brothers,” isn’t the best script to celebrate this monumental occasion.
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Wednesday, January 28,2015

Curtain call: Love, death and puppets

Puppets deliver surprising tenderness in ‘Or You Could Kiss Me’

by Mary C. Cusack
The online description of Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.īs current production, "Or You Could Kiss Me," accurately sums up its storyline about an aging couple who grapple with the impending death of one partner. What it doesn’t tell you is that there are puppets involved.
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Wednesday, December 31,2014

Stage struck

Local theaters were filled

by Mary C. Cusack
The year came in like a lion, literally, as Williamston Theatre opened 2014 with an outstanding production of “The Lion in Winter.” In this era of reality television where families trade their dignity for 15 minutes of fame, “Lion” is timelier now than when it was written in 1966. The play is a fictionalized version of historical events during Christmas 1183 in the home of Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, their sons, lovers, and other assembled guests. The psychological eviscerations are bloodier than a “Saw” movie, and the phenomenal cast, in particular Sandra Birch as the matriarch, stormed the stage with relentless narcissism and fury.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Curtain call: Dangerous intentions

MSU tackles French drama of social, sexual politics

by Mary C. Cusack
There can be no play more aptly fitting MSU’s seasonal theme of “Power Plays” than “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” It is a powerful script about powerful people carelessly playing Review with power as they manipulate and destroy those around them.
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Thursday, June 26,2014

Rising like a peacock

REVIEW: MSU Summer Circle Theatre’s ‘Ruthless’

by Mary C. Cusack
THURSDAY, June 26 — The Summer Circle Theatre Series at MSU continues with a work that investigates the circular nature of families and fates. The musical “Ruthless” is far from an academic view of the topic — it more closely resembles the material covered by a “Dr. Phil” episode, which would actually be the appropriate venue for this family to hold a reunion.
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Wednesday, May 14,2014

Curtain call: Secrets and ‘Lives’

The women in Riverwalk comedic drama play with the truth

by Mary C. Cusack
The title of Riverwalk Theatre’s latest black box production, “Telling Lives,” may be a play on “telling lies,” or it may be that the circumstances in which each character finds herself is Review telling of the life she has led. As uninteresting as their lives end up being, it is a relief that they can be told in just over 90 minutes.
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Wednesday, April 16,2014

Neverland goes to India

MSU’s ‘Peter Pan’ flies high in inventive reimagining

by Mary C. Cusack
It is not possible to crow too loudly about MSU’s production of “Peter Pan,” especially as Peter himself insists the audience do so during his showstopping number, “I Gotta Crow.” The MSU Review Department of Theatre has maximized every inch of the Pasant Theatre to create a truly spectacular fantasy with amazing production values.
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Wednesday, April 2,2014

Curtain Call: A deaf in the family

Peppermint Creek drama explores family communication in a different way

by Mary C. Cusack
For those who have wished they could tune out their family during a Christmas fight over who ruined the childhood of whom, Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.’s “Tribes” will serve as a cautionary tale. There is a fate worse than suffering petty familial bickering: Sitting on the sidelines in silence.
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