Review: Pure entertainment now plays on The Winnipesaukee Playhouse stage with their production of Mamma Mia!

Review: Pure entertainment now plays on The Winnipesaukee Playhouse stage with their production of Mamma Mia!

It was not a perfect performance, but live theatre is rarely all together perfect and that is one reason why people love it so much. It’s fresh, exciting and anything can happen; just like life. The audience couldn’t get enough and stood loudly applauding not only during curtain call, but again through and to the end of the encore. Direct quotes from the audience after the show: “Wow”, “Excellent”, “So much fun”, “I loved it” and many more positive comments. If you need a break from a reality of stress and strife, go see this immensely enjoyable production.

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Review: Boeing Boeing at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Review: Boeing Boeing at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

The outlandish farce Boeing Boeing now plays on The Winnipesaukee Playhouse stage in Meredith, New Hampshire. Originally written by Marc Camoletti and translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, it is the story of Bernard, a Parisian bachelor played by William Wilder, who has, through meticulous calculations, gotten himself intertwined with three fiancés. There’s Gloria, an American air hostess played by Rebecca Tucker, Gabriella, an Italian air hostess played by Molly Parker Myers, and Gretchen, a German air hostess played by Suzanne Kimball. The essential factor that keeps all his fiancés from ending up in their Paris flat at one time is the fact that they all work for different airlines and have different routes around the world.

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Review: Miss Julie sets the bar high for the Summer Season at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Review: Miss Julie sets the bar high for the Summer Season at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Directed by Matt Cahoon, this US Premiere production of Howard Brenton’s new adaptation of August Strindberg’s 1888 play Miss Julie invites the audience into the kitchen of a home in Sweden. It tells the story of Julie, lady of the house, Jean, her father’s valet, and Kristin, the house cook and Jean’s fiancé. It is a story of lust, ambition and a desire to break through the barriers of class. When Julie and Jean give in to the building sexual tension between them, the unforeseen consequences are catastrophic.

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Review: 'Peter and the Starcatcher' at Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter 

  • OnStage New England Critic

Meredith, NH - Opening Winnipesaukee Playhouse’s Summer Season is Peter and the Starcatcher, a play by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker and based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It tells the story of a young starcatcher, Molly, her father, Lord Aster, their mission and the friends and enemies they make along the way. One of these friends is an orphaned boy who just wants “to be a boy for a while”; and who comes to be known as Peter Pan. 

Superbly directed by Neil Pankhurst, this imaginative and heartwarming production features both Playhouse veterans and first-timers. In the few musical numbers, (led by musical director and keyboardist Judy Hayward, with choreography by Lisa Travis), the cast excitedly sang and danced about the stage to the great amusement of the audience. One such highlight was the fantastically funny mermaid number at the top of act two. 

Photo Credit: Cast of Peter and the Starcatcher courtesy The Winnipesaukee Playhouse


Photo Credit: Cast of Peter and the Starcatcher courtesy The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

As if a nod to Monty Python, the cast creatively performed as set pieces, such as walls and doors of the ship as well as generated their own sound and lighting effects.  The simplicity of the set (designed by David Towlun) provided the perfect backdrop for showcasing the strength of the cast’s physical comedy skills. The cast was fully committed to their characters and together they brought life and magic to the play.

Playing Molly is the only female in the cast: Katrina Michaels. Full of energetic spunk she dominated the stage. Pirate Black Stashe was played by Playhouse favorite, Nicolas Wilder, with impeccable comedic timing. The lost boys: Ted, adorably played by John-Michael Breen, Prentiss, well played by Kristian Sorensen and Will Champion, engaging as Boy, who, through the course of the play, discovers his capabilities, learns the meaning of family and becomes Peter Pan.  Each cast member provided memorable, playful moments and not a weak link was found among them. Rounding out the cast was Charles Baran, Versee Damien, Kevin Killavey, Mike Newman, Ty Pearsons, William Vaughn, and Mark Stephen Woods as Lord Aster.  

A well-deserved, rousing, standing ovation ended the evening after a quick two hours and a 15 minute intermission.  The Playhouse has added a symposium presentation on June 21st and a “Talk-Back Wednesday” on June 22nd for added enjoyment.

Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until July 2nd and is a fun family friendly production. For additional information and tickets visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org

 

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com

Review: National Premiere of ‘Tilting Ground’ at Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

OnStage Massachusetts Critic

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MEREDITH, NH - For one weekend only, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse presents the National Premiere of ‘Tilting Ground’ by Guy Hibbert. This powerful drama, directed by Neil Pankhurst and featuring a cast of three terrific actors, is a compelling story of happiness found and happiness lost. 

Picture Credit: Cast of 'Tilting Ground' photo courtesy Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Picture Credit: Cast of 'Tilting Ground' photo courtesy Winnipesaukee Playhouse

After not hearing from her son for over a year, Nancy, played by Pat Langille, is thrilled to have him back in her life.  Jack, played by William Vaughn, returns to his mother’s home in Escondido, Mexico to find that he is no longer the only man in her life. This is something he does not easily accept even when Charles, Nancy’s new husband, played by Richard Brundage, demonstrates kindness towards him. It is soon clear to Nancy that she cannot have both her husband and her son in her life and is forced to choose who stays and who goes. 

The set, designed by Dan Daly, is simple, featuring sand and seashells and is nicely complimented by soothing lighting, designed by Becky Marsh. The subtle sound of splashing waves upon a shore, designed by Neil Pankhurst, completes the idyllic scene. The three elements work nicely together to transport the audience to the beachfront property. 

Langille’s portrayal of Nancy was well done, though her interactions with Charles seemed more authentic than those with Jack. Both Langille and Vaughn jumped each other’s lines throughout the production; however, their commitment to their characters was unquestionable. Though Jack was my least favorite character, Vaughn’s captivating portrayal made me hope everything would work out for him in the end. Brundage grabbed the audience’s attention from the start and his heartfelt portrayal of the compassionate and sensitive Charles was outstanding.   

Overall, the actors did a great job with this very intense drama; however I do think this play is best appreciated by a mature audience. ‘Tilting Ground’ plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until April 24th. For additional information and tickets to visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org

 

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/ 

Review: 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' at Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a fascinating play by David Edgar adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Set in Victorian London this play is filled with beautiful poetic language and is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally poignant. 

Walking into the intimate theatre for the opening night performance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde my eyes were immediately drawn to the substantially dark set. Designed by Andrew Stuart, the set was perfectly complimented by the lighting, designed by Graham Edmondon. The eeriness established by the set and the lights was exemplified even more through sound and musical additions. Neil Pankhurst expertly designed the sound in a way that kept the audience engaged and often times on the edge of their seats. It is clear that Nick Saldivar, who magnificently directed the show, worked very hard with everyone involved to ensure all elements of the show blended together seamlessly to create a beautiful and hauntingly intriguing production.

Nicholas Wilder brilliantly portrayed Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. His characterizations were fantastically unique while also allowing a few similarities. His first transformation startled the audience, many of whom jumped in their seats. His Dr. Jekyll was polished and dignified while his Mr. Hyde was physically and vocally menacing. 

Helen McMillan, as Annie Loder, and Elizabeth Swan, as Katherine Urquart, were wonderful to watch. These two women heightened the emotional aspects of the show and allowed the audience the opportunity to see the man behind Dr. Jekyll - the scientist and before the madness of Mr. Hyde took over. Their kindness towards him near the end of the play opened a door for the audience to feel sympathy towards this dark and violent character.  

The cast also includes Winnipesaukee Playhouse veterans Richard Brundage (Gabriel John Utterson) and A.J. Ditty (Richard Enfield/Parson), Jason Plourde (Poole), Ray Dudley (Dr. Lanyon/Sir Danvers Carew), Sophie Pankhurst (Lucy Urquart/Matchgirl), and Tyler Browne (Charles Urquart). 

This production is thoroughly captivating from start to finish; and for anyone who is familiar with the classic story it is not to be missed. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until September 5th. For additional information and tickets to visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org


For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com

Review: 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

Accidental Death of an Anarchist is a full force farce taking place in Milan, Italy and based on the real-life story of the suspicious death of Giuseppe Pinelli, a railway employee and recognized anarchist. Written by Dario Fo in 1970, only one year after Pinelli’s death, the play centralizes around themes such as governmental power, corruption and cover-ups. This play exposes hypocrisy not only within the play’s world, but in the real life world around its audience members. 

The moment the audience walked into the theatre the detailed and intimate set drew them into the world they were about to see. Ingeniously designed by Dan Daly, the set effectively portrayed a simple office at police headquarters in Milan, Italy circa 1970. At the center of the stage were two French doors which opened to a small terrace to show a blue sky and leafless tree. Perfectly placed, the doors too, are characters within the play; with many parts of the story focused around them. During the prologue before the play began, the audience was slowly introduced to its characters and their morning routines as they silently entered the office and begrudgingly began their tasks. Though there were no lines and the play hadn’t officially started, the audience lowered their voices except for moments of chuckling when they made comments to those around them regarding the action on the stage. 

Fantastically directed by Matt Cahoon, the cast is comprised of six wonderfully talented actors, Richard Brundage (Inspector Bertozzo), A.J. Ditty (Maniac), John-Michael Breen (Constable), Nicholas Wilder (Sports Jacket), Jason Plourde (Superintendent), and Rebecca Tucker (Journalist). All six brought quirkiness and vigor to their diverse characters. While all had their strengths and made the show an overall success, there was one who stood out a little more from the very beginning. A. J. Ditty brilliantly portrayed his hysterical Maniac character. A master deceiver, the Maniac, constantly had one, if not more, of the other characters wrapped up in one of his schemes and either hanging on his every word or wanting to hang him with his every word. His intelligent and creative portrayal of this complex character is not to be missed. 

This thoughtful play was not only full of slap-stick comedy, but it also included modern day references which effectively kept the audience engaged and laughing throughout the play. Best appreciated by a mature audience, Accidental Death of an Anarchist plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until August 22nd. For additional information and tickets to Accidental Death of an Anarchist visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/

Review: 'Table Manners' at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

Table Manners, by Alan Ayckbourn, is the first in a trilogy of plays entitled The Norman Conquests. The play takes place in a country house in West Sussex, England where three grown-up siblings and their significant others all end up under the same roof. This is no ordinary weekend holiday as strong personalities, long-time rivalries and romantic entanglements converge and quickly boil over. 

Directed by Neil Pankhurst, this fantastic six actor cast brings to life this witty and highly entertaining British comedy. The full play takes place in a comfortable dining room, designed by Meredith Brown. Once it began it didn’t take long before the audience was fully engrossed and laughing; which they continued to do for the next two hours.  

Rebecca Tucker (Annie) and Molly Parker Myers (Sarah) wonderfully portrayed their sister-in-law characters. Their opposing views, mannerisms, and the ways that they believe flowers and place settings should be arranged make for great first scene. It is clear within the first few minutes who prefers to always be in control and have things done her way regardless of whose house she is in. When the other characters arrive into the scene tensions escalate to the point where by intermission, more than one character has become unhinged. Tom (Jason Plourde) is the rather in-different friend of Annie, who is constantly trying to figure out if he has interest in her and if so why won’t he make a move. Jason Plourde is pleasantly charming as the only character who seems to stay relaxed during the play; with the exception of one momentary misunderstanding. Richard Brundage superbly portrays Annie’s brother & Sarah’s husband Reg. Reg is a very relatable character in that he is just trying to make it through the weekend without too much family drama. Norman, incredibly played by Nicholas Wilder, often finds himself in the middle of the dysfunctional drama and rightly so; though he does feign his innocence in the thick of it. Suzanne Kimball who splendidly plays his wife Ruth, sister to Annie and Reg, joins in the weekend of family disorder and like Annie, knocks heads with Sarah most of the time. 

As the chaos continues throughout the play the audience gets a clear understanding of why the trilogy is called The Norman Conquests. And if you want to know why you’ll just have to head over to the Winnipesaukee Playhouse sometime before July 25th to find out. It would be great to see this trilogy of amusing plays about family pandemonium produced at the Winnipesaukee playhouse in the coming years especially if this same group of talented actors reprised their roles. 

For additional information and tickets to Table Manners visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/

Review: 'Red' at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

Red is a Tony Award-winning play by John Logan. This intellectually stimulating drama, directed by Timothy L’Ecuyer, follows a two year period in the creative process of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, played by Peter Josephson, and his assistant Ken, played by John-Michael Breen. It begins in 1958 when Mark Rothko, at the height of his career, is commissioned to create a series of paintings for the new and very high-class Four Seasons restaurant in New York City. 

From start to finish this 90 minute play grabs the audience’s attention and never lets it go. It is captivating and offers a realistic glimpse into the world of an artist. The play shows the struggle, the sorrow, and the pain that an artist goes through to create. Red is an intimate look into the heart and soul of its two characters and their relationship with art, each other, and the world around them. 

John-Michael Breen and Peter Josephson in RED

John-Michael Breen and Peter Josephson in RED

The creative team involved with this production did an incredible job designing a realistic, functioning art studio. The detailed set, designed by Melissa Shakun, was filled with everything a real painter would need. The simple, yet complimentary, lighting, designed by Shawn Kaufman, gave the audience the feeling that we were not watching a play, but an artist in his studio creating his next masterpiece. My favorite element, however, was the background music (sound design by Neil Pankhurst) usually playing off a record player, it added realism and even more depth to the play.   

Peter Josephson, who portrayed Mark Rothko, and John-Michael Breen, who portrayed Ken, were dynamic, compelling and brought incredible life to the smart and witty script. Josephson gave a strong and passionate portrayal of the complex painter at work. Breen’s portrayal of Ken displayed expressive versatility and youthful exuberance while also showing Ken’s emotional depth and desire to learn and create beautiful and memorable art. Their contrasting yet complimenting characters were realistic and wonderfully portrayed.   

Red, playing at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until July 11th, is a terrific piece of theatre. Though it is best appreciated by a mature audience, I highly suggest if you are in New Hampshire this week to go check it out. It invites the audience to think, to feel, and to embark along with its characters on a journey of discovery and creation. 

For additional information and tickets visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org

For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/