Review Archives


Arts Reviews 2,574 results

Coyote on a Fence

Bruce Graham's Coyote on a Fence makes a strong political statement about the unfairness of capital punishment, but both the script and Real Rain Productions' staging of it are uneven, with choices that undercut the undeniable tension inherent in the dramatic situation of death row inmates.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Jul. 26, 2002

Into the Woods

Although several performers are excellent, the orchestra is good, and the Austin summer-night atmosphere is as laid-back and fun-loving as ever, Zilker Theatre Productions' staging of Into the Woods is fraught with problems, from technical glitches to set-design issues to actors' difficulties handling the musical demands of the show.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, Jul. 26, 2002

Late Nite Catechism

The popular interactive theatre piece Late Nite Catechism thrives on the interaction between the audience, cast as students in a course of religious instruction, and the actor who plays the nun teaching it. In the touring production, Amanda Hebert is amazing in the role, playing Sister with perfect presence and timing.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Jul. 19, 2002

True West

The dirigo group production of Sam Shepard's True West sees Corey Gagne and Judson L. Jones swapping the roles of petty criminal Lee and screenwriter Austin every other night. While both are exceptional actors, offering plenty of sharp character work, both versions bring that pervading sense of threat that gives the show the violent inevitability of Greek tragedy.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jul. 19, 2002


A 6-year-old critic pronounces kidsActing's latest production of Cyberella to be "the best show ever," but even her jaded reviewer has to admit that its update on "Cinderella" boasts a playful script, top-notch production values, and a young cast and the cast that really delivers song after song.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jul. 12, 2002

Edward, the Owl & the Calico Cat

Austin playwright Emily Cicchini tells the true story behind Edward Lear's magical "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" in Edward, the Owl & the Calico Cat, and the Pollyanna Theatre Company production delivers it smartly, if at a somewhat breathless pace.

Reviewed by Kate X Messer, Jul. 12, 2002


Director and sound designer Stephen Balgooyen and his youthful cast bring us the horrors of war live and in living drab green in Tracers, but shouted lines and an overwhelming sound design render much of their work on this difficult material unintelligible.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Jul. 12, 2002

Making Porn

Ronnie Larsen's play Making Porn dramatizes the making of Cops, a gay porn movie, from casting calls to the spin-off calendar, and in Naughty Austin's production, director Blake Yelavich realizes the comic potential of the script and the world of porn. But a tragic subplot undermines the show's success as a satire on the adult movie industry.

Reviewed by Rob Curran, Jul. 5, 2002

The Unexpected Guest

For Different Stages' staging of The Unexpected Guest, director Johanna Whitmore has tried to bring Agatha Christie's 1930s English village mystery into a contemporary setting, but with the text still rooted in the phraseology and linguistic mannerisms of the past, the result is a stilted and, ultimately, wooden production.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jul. 5, 2002

"Master Harold" … and the boys

This Pro Arts Collective production of Athol Fugard's "Master Harold" … and the boys sneaks up on you, seeming mundane at the outset but in the end delivering a dramatic power that draws tears.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Jun. 21, 2002

Intergalactic Nemesis Redux

Salvage Vanguard Theater has remounted The Intergalactic Nemesis and Return of the Intergalactic Nemesis, its pair of homages to the golden days of radio, with a double-bill of light-hearted, clever spins on those old serialized mysteries.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jun. 21, 2002

12 Steps to a More Dysfunctional Family

With 12 Steps to a More Dysfunctional Family, playwright-performer Rob Nash elevates the unhealthy sport of impersonating the members of one's family into a fulfilling art.

Reviewed by Rob Curran, Jun. 21, 2002

The Manhattan Transfer with the Austin Symphony

The four accomplished vocalists who comprise the Manhattan Transfer turned an evening with the Austin Symphony at the Austin Convention Center into a night when "there was magic abroad in the air."

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Jun. 14, 2002

The Sopranos

New Texas Music Works closed the 2002 New Texas Festival with some tremendously talented ladies -- sopranos from the Conspirare Choir -- singing a variety of material, but for all its warmth, the concert lacked the sustained intensity and interest that is the hallmark of the choir's best work.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jun. 14, 2002

Evocations: The Music of Hugo Distler, Opus 12

With its presentation of sacred choral works by early 20th-century German composer Hugo Distler, the Conspirare Choir put its versatility on best display and provided a sequence of absolutely divine sounds.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Jun. 14, 2002


Gore Vidal's script for Romulus, from a play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, is as perceptive as they come, and the Bedlam Faction's production has more than a few things to recommend it, but the company's playing style often undercuts rather than enhances the drama.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Jun. 7, 2002

The Pavilion

Director Dave Steakley and three outstanding Austin actors make a visit to The Pavilion, Craig Wright's bittersweet drama about two old flames who meet again at a high school reunion and ponder time's ability to widen chasms as well as heal wounds, time well spent.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, Jun. 7, 2002

The Man Who Came to Dinner

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Jun. 7, 2002

Chicken and Beans

Chicken and Beans, a dance / variety show created and performed by Heloise Gold and Leticia Rodriguez, gives the viewer vibrant multi-sensory glimpses into the performers' Jewish and Hispanic heritages, respectively, revealing the cultural environments which molded these two women into the talented performers they are.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, May. 31, 2002

The Music of Erica Zann

Vortex Repertory Company's The Music of Erica Zann brings H.P. Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann" to the stage as a chamber opera, and the result is a fever dream, a hallucinatory state in which you're overwhelmed by strange visions and a palpable sense of anxiety and apprehension.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 31, 2002

Marion Bridge

In Marion Bridge, playwright Daniel MacIvor reveals how the death of a parent causes a major shift in the lives of three sisters, and the actresses who play them in Hyde Park Theatre's production fit so naturally in these characters' skins that they project a sense of belonging together and to the lives they describe.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 31, 2002

The Well Inside

In The Well Inside, Sally Jacques' extraordinary site-specific work, dancers suspended high in the air swing and sway and spin, right side-up and upside-down, exhibiting athleticism and daring that take your breath away but also convey an isolation and yearning for connection with amazing grace.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 24, 2002

What Goes Up

In their new show What Goes Up, advertising "40 percent new Idiocy," those juggling, bantering fools the Flaming Idiots incorporate a Sam Hurt cartoon, giant puppet limbs, and lots of audience participation for a family-friendly show guaranteed to get you on your feet and clapping.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, May. 24, 2002

Dinner With Friends

The State Theater Company's production of Dinner With Friends brings into crystalline focus the many facets of friendship and love that playwright Donald Margulies has exposed in his Pulitzer-winning script, and does so with crisp timing, finely blended humor, and moments of genuine theatrical honesty.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, May. 24, 2002


The thrill that comes from the bright, full, flashy, splashy sound of a brass band is the feeling you get from Austin Musical Theatre's production of Sweet Charity and to coin a phrase, how sweet it is.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 17, 2002


With Rigoletto , Austin Lyric Opera once again executes in bold strokes a classic opera in the vaulting openness of the City Coliseum, with director Joseph McClain again showing a flair for the theatrical and finding a degree of intimacy in that vast space.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, May. 17, 2002

El Paraiso

The Rude Mechs took a road trip to see the Marfa lights, and their journey has been translated by playwright Kirk Lynn, director Shawn Sides, and a gifted ensemble into a raucous, sweet, funny, fanciful meditation on the tension between desire and intellect, and heaven as embodied in the land called Texas.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 17, 2002

The Kindermann Depiction

In The Kindermann Depiction, Physical Plant Theater's Steve Moore and director Carlos Trevino have created two worlds, one flooded with leaves, one made of cloth, that are full of strange wonders. We wouldn't want to live there; but our lives are much enriched by having paid a visit.

Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, May. 10, 2002

Really Rosie

In the Second Youth Family Theatre production of the Maurice Sendak-Carole King musical Really Rosie, a cast of young performers brings a gang of rowdy Brooklyn kids to life with a spark and sass that suits their streetwise scrappiness and executes the show's musical numbers with the polish of much more experienced stage performers.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, May. 10, 2002

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Portraying the kids from the Peanuts comic strips is trickier than you might think, but two of the performers in the Silver Star Theater Group production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown radiate the bold outline and broad humor -- the cartoon essence -- of the source material.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Apr. 26, 2002

Seven Deadly Sins

The seven short plays that make up iron belly muses' production Seven Deadly Sins aren't always pleasurable to watch, but several capture that desperation behind sins' commission and ask interesting questions about transgression itself.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, Apr. 26, 2002

A Streetcar Named Desire

Doghouse Theatre's production of A Streetcar Named Desire creates an interesting environment in the back yard of a University neighborhood, but the story gets lost in the show's directorial freedoms and delivery.

Reviewed by Barry Pineo, Apr. 26, 2002

The Medea Stories

With The Medea Stories, the St. Edward's University Theatre Department with guest artists from the SITI Company reinvents Euripides' tragedy as a modern courtroom drama and connects us to Medea's tale with immediacy and a great urgency.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Apr. 19, 2002

The Rainbow Machine

Rick Ehrstin's play The Rainbow Machine is ultimately a tale of a man and a woman who simply cannot communicate, but this idea is drowned in a deluge of words and much tangential, quasi-absurdist schtick.

Reviewed by Robi Polgar, Apr. 19, 2002

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, Liz Lochhead's award-winning dramatization of the bonnie queen's reign, is an ambitious first production for Renaissance Austin Theatre Company, but producer Lorella Loftus prevails by enticing some of Austin's finest actors from the Shakespearean courts to the realm of the experimental.

Reviewed by Rob Curran, Apr. 19, 2002

True West

Boys will be boys -- especially if they're brothers and they're written by Sam Shepard. And this offering of True West from 4th &1 does a damned fine job of showing us what that means.

Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Apr. 12, 2002

'David Douglas Duncan'

David Douglas Duncan inaugurated the David Douglas Duncan Endowed Lecture Series in Photojournalism by talking about his dog Yo-Yo, a small terrier, and providing the audience with an intimate and entertaining slide show from one of the world's master photographers.

Reviewed by Clay Smith, Apr. 12, 2002

Blade to the Heat

The Nushank Theater Collective produces a cast of powerful performers for its production of Oliver Mayer's glove love drama Blade to the Heat.

Reviewed by Rob Curran, Apr. 12, 2002

As You Like It

Director Johanna McKeon opens her UT Department of Theatre & Dance staging of As You Like It in a court of stylish bleakness, but when she moves it to the Forest of Arden, spring permeates the production and a buzzing, exuberant spirit takes over.

Reviewed by Robert Faires, Apr. 12, 2002


As produced by Hyde Park Theatre, playwright Melanie Marnich's Blur draws the audience along in a briskly-paced, dynamic ride.

Reviewed by M.B. Rice, Apr. 5, 2002

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