1. Mies Julie at Shakespeare Theatre Company
“Simply put, from the production to the performances, the Baxter Theatre Center and the South African State Theatre have given us the must see theatre event of the season.” Elliot Lanes
Read for Elliot Lanes full review.
Synopsis: The Strindberg classic has been adapted to the rugged terrain of South Africa, 2013, post-Aparthied. The master of the “plantation” is away, and his daughter, Julie, is desperate for a human connection. She has longed loved the master’s number one man, the Xhosa John. John mother, Christine, has cooked for the master for decades. Meanwhile, hundreds of squators have moved onto the farm, demanding land in this post-Aparthied world. An explosive romance rips the lid off the world, sending all its inhabitants into a spiral.
2. The Pillowman at Silver Spring Stage
“I would never assert that The Pillowman is for everyone. Its folktale conflation of the grotesque with the comic can feel too much like a guilty pleasure for some, but The Pillowman is most definitely Martin McDonagh at his best. The play fiercely combines emotional honesty with intellectual astuteness, with just that touch of humor to make it all taste so sweet.” Robert Michael Oliver
“This production is a raging success!” Robert Michael Oliver
Read for Robert Michael Oliver’s full review.
Synopsis: Katurian is a short story writer; his stories often show violence against children; he has been arrested by two detectives, Ariel and Tupolski, because some of his stories resemble recent child murders. Then he hears that his brother, Michal, has confessed to the murders and implicated Katurian. Emotionally taut and compelling, the play contains both narration and reenactment of Katurian’s stories, most notably the autobiographical “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother,” which tells how Katurian developed his disturbed imagination by hearing the sounds of Michal being tortured by their parents.
3. Orphans at Fells Point Corner Theatre
“Orphans give a new meaning to the term brotherly love. The relationship between siblings has long been a tumultuous, loving and sometimes a complicated dynamic. With the occasional scuffle accompanied by mom’s forceful apology, learning to “get along” is the quintessential bonding experience between any siblings, but understanding your siblings is a different story. OrphansTreat and Phillip are two brothers who not only have problems with coping with the other’s behavior, but understanding how to cope with the challenges the world presents them. In return they respond with the only actions they know – violence, isolation and anger.” Sakiera Malone
Read for Sakiera Malone’s full review.
Synopsis: Two orphaned brothers live in their decrepit North Philadelphia row house. They survive by petty thievery and a steady diet of tuna fish and daytime television until the violent older brother decides to kidnap one of them.
4. The Tempest at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory
“The machinations that bring about Prospero’s reconciliation of magic to the world of mortals and the ultimate forgiveness of his enemies is lively and almost always entertaining with actors breaking through the fourth wall and into the audience all helter-skelter. I was left with the feeling that they were a good-hearted group of actors playing for the love of Shakespeare and that a ticket to see the spectacle, if only to see the lightest treatment of the Tempest you are ever likely to see and the sheer entertainment value is well worth the cost.” J. C. Larkin
Read for J. C. Larkin’s full review.
Synopsis: Prospero, a magician on an enchanted island, punishes his enemies, brings happiness to his daughter, and comes to terms with human use of supernatural power. The Tempest embodies both seemingly timeless romance and the historically specific moment in which Europe begins to explore and conquer the New World. It is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place, using illusion and skillful manipulation. The eponymous Tempest brings to the island Prospero’s usurping brother Antonio and the complicit Alonso, king of Naples. There his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio’s low nature, the redemption of Alonso, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso’s son.
5. The Woman in Black at Keegan Theatre
“The Woman in Black is definitely that theatrical rarity. For the occasionally spine tingling, tongue-in-cheek, ghostly night in the theatre, you should see this very well done production.” Robert Michael Oliver
Read for Robert Michael Oliver’s full review.
Synopsis: Following the death of a mysterious woman from Crythin Gifford, an assessor travel to the woman home to evaluate her estate. He soon discovers that the estate is haunted. The play, like the novel on which it is based, begins in a Victorian theater. The assessor has been haunted by his real life adventure for decades. He now wants to purge himself of the whole affair. He hires an actor to help him tell his horrifying tale.