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Tuesday, March 29,2011

Starlight shines

A success is announced: 'Murder' is fast-paced and enjoyably played

by Tom Helma
Return with us now to those thrilling moments of yesteryear — no, it is not the Green Hornet and not the Lone Ranger either, but rather Miss Marple of Agatha Christie fame, as presented in the Starlight Dinner Theater's production of “A Murder is Announced.” While ...
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Thursday, February 24,2011

'The Wizard of Oz': Ding! Dong! The show is dead

MSU musical has technological magic, but is sorely lacking in charm

by Tom Helma
While scenic designer G. Max Maxin has thrown tons of technological video graphic wizardry at the audience in the Michigan State University Theatre production — a spectacular unfolding of everything plus the kitchen sink that a scene designer can do...
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Tuesday, February 1,2011

The Case of the Redeemed Hitman

True love blooms between gun battles in Purple Rose's 'Corktown'

by Tom Helma
CHELSEA — At first squint and frown, “Corktown,” now playing at the Purple Rose Theater, appears to be nothing more than the latest incarnation of the hit-man-with-a-heart-of-gold genre popularized in crime novels by Elmore Leonard, on the big screen by “Pulp Fiction,” and on HBO by “The Sopranos.”
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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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