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Wednesday, January 26,2011

Lost in translation

Holt-Dimondale's stab at Italian-American farce is about as authentic as Chef Boyardee

by Tom Helma
In Joe Di Pietro’s "Over the River and Through the Woods" ' now being performed by the still new kids-on-the-block, Holt Dimondale Community Players ' we’re going to an Italian-American grandmother’s household in Brooklyn..
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Wednesday, November 10,2010

’View’ remains crystal-clear

Strong acting illuminates shattering 1950s drama

by Tom Helma
Those who watched TV in the 1950s memorized the phrase, “There are 8 million stories in ‘The Naked City’ ' this is just one of them ... .” While far more eloquent than any of the “Naked City” episodes, Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” is, oddly, also a lot like one of them.
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Thursday, November 4,2010

Jeff Daniels is at his 'Best' showing people at their worst

Couples collide in savagely funny Purple Rose comedy

by Tom Helma
They were the best of friends; they were the worst of friends. Writer Jeff Daniels has a knack for creating complex characterizations of couples experiencing the challenges of interpersonal intimacy. In this latest piece of comedic stagecraft, “Best of Friends,” he tackles the phenomena of best friend couple relationships that go awry — and boy, do they go awry.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Brilliant 'Blue'

Wiiliamston's 'Door' is well worth opening

by Tom Helma
Williamston Theatre’s “Blue Door” is an intensely quiet and deeply moving play, one that stills and startles the audience into an unexpected opportunity for personal reflection and self examination.
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Wednesday, September 22,2010

Shaky Shakespeare

Shaky Shakespeare ’Shrew’ doesn’t shine

by Tom Helma
For those of you not familiar with this overly familiar tale of misogyny, “Shrew” is the simple story of Baptista, a father who sells his tempestuous eldest daughter to the aging Petruchio, a wealthy merchant, who “tames” (read: abuses) and thereby transforms this fiery female into a loving Stepford wife.
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Wednesday, July 14,2010

A new synonym for ’stinkeroo’

’Skungpoomery’ defines how bad theater can be

by Tom Helma
“Skungpoomery,” by the late British playwright Ken Campbell, fails on both counts. The word skungpoomery ' itself a made-up word ' is intended to describe the process of making up other nonsense words because the words we use to describe ordinary things are, well, too ordinary.
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Wednesday, May 26,2010

All in the family

Humorous and heartfelt, ’Home’ is a winner for Williamston Theatre

by Tom Helma
Written by Annie Martin and Suzi Regan and directed by Regan, “Home” follows 2008’s "Maidens, Mothers and Crones," which focused on women, and last year’s "Flyover USA," which dealt with men’s concerns. Approximately 50 people shared family stories that inspired the vignettes in "Home.
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Wednesday, May 12,2010

Punchlines, minus the punches

’Dead’ inspires yawns instead of chuckles

by Tom Helma
Starlight occupies a unique niche in the local theater community. It is a dinner theater in a middle school cafeteria with an auditorium stage and caters somewhat to a more geriatric demographic than other theaters.
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Wednesday, May 12,2010

’Size 8 Shorts’: Long on hilarity

Riverwalk hits home run with a night of sketches

by Tom Helma
There are 30 words in just the titles alone of the eight pieces that make up this delightful confection of laughs and snorts, beginning with “Wedding Duet,” a two-person compendium of all the roller coaster emotions that confront a bride and groom as they try to imagine what married life might actually look like.
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Wednesday, April 21,2010

'Rent' rocks

Strong cast and direction make musical drama sing

by Tom Helma
The mournful lyric “How do you figure a last year on Earth?” from the ensemble number “Seasons of Love" addresses a central existential question. The surprising answer is that “Rent” portrays ' in addition to a deep sense of loss ' an amazing sense of the capacity for joy among those who realize life is about to be cut short.
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