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2013 Starting the Year (January) With a Few Good Promises

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2017!
"Nutcracker Rouge"
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FRINGE NYC 2013 - So Far!
2013 Starting the Year (January) With a Few Good Promises
Current THEATER Reviews - for 2013
"MANIPULATION" at Cherry Lane
Fringe 2012
Fringe 2011 (NYC)
onStage with "HERE COMES THE CHANGE"
Some Things in 2008 Worth Remembering: First "Happy Days" at BAM, then The Scottish Tale
Prior to 2007
Past REVIEWS: "OPUS"; "WALMARTOPIA", "DIVIDING THE ESTATE"
Angelica Torn
New York Timers - Friel's "Freedom"

2013 Starting the Year (January) With a Few Good Promises

January 27, 2013:
"The Suit", at BAM
Review by Kevin Martin
 
"The Suit", going to February 2nd at Brooklyn Academy of Music, is directed by the ageless wunderkind Peter Brook;  created in collaboration with Marie-Hélène Estienne with music arranged and done by Frank Krawczyk; this combination has proved to be a sure-fire guarantee of creative enjoyment.  As an 80 minute presentation by Brook's Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, "The Suit" focuses on adultery in the once lively, cultural locale of South Africa's black-inhabited Sophiatown during the busy Aparthied years of five or six decades ago. Breaking the fourth wall of stage reality - to the point of lively, enjoyable audience member participation done randomly - the cast is well acted through and through, and led by William Nadylam as "Philomen" and Nonhlanhla Kheswa as "Matilda".  As it goes, we find that this loving couple's marital bliss is really not so blissful after all.  For Matilda has a secret lover who very handily stops by their humble, very poor, segregated abode (their toilet is down the street) for some serious copulation whenever Philomen is gone to work.  Alas, Philomen - indeed, a hard working husband - gets advised by a friend in the vicinity that his wife is doing the hanky-panky in his daily absence; he makes a mad dash home only to find the male visitor (well acted by Rikki Henry) successfully fleeing - though with no time to get dressed, thus literally leaving his suit behind.  This suit, therefore, becomes a regrettable presence in the damaged life of this couple. It turns out to be a very sad thing for Matilda, as now her life shall never shed the self-made shame, which she helped to make possible. Within those confines that entail mistakes of the flesh (very often from selfish decisions), Matilda's daily living will impose a new segregation of sorts on this couple's limited existence: greater distance between two persons that may have once loved each other.  This gulf is their own newly crafted aparthied between two souls, one more sinful than the other.  Philomen and Matilda and a friend all offer their laments through the emotional reaches of occasional music and song - a touching measure that metes out reminders of human sorrows (viz., Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" sung wonderfully by Jared McNeill). Alternately, during various domestic intervals following this marital breakdown, Philomen engages his faithless wife in in a series of revenge exercises - as a way of venting his own rage, and this takes different forms.  But, it must be said, Philomen is truly sad over this broken love, to the point that he would take a friend's advice and forgive his errant wife. For both of them, their own once exultant, respective dreams have now crumbled. As it is, Matilda will have her own fate decided by other forces in nature, and I don't want to give that away here. "The Suit" is a nice fit, - but with permanent makings and tears in the fabric of existence that serve as a simple reminder - for rich and poor alike: infidelity is no laughing matter.  Adding a fine balance to the production values of 'The Suit" is the musical gifts of Arthur Astier, David Dupuis, and Raphael Chambouvet,—performing as part of the larger cast as well. Further complementing the prodiction are the superb, atmospheric lighting by Philippe Vialatte, and fine sets and costume design by Oria Puppo.
 
"The Suit", with: Nonhlanhla Kheswa, Jared McNeill, William Nadylam and Rikki Henry.
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 Review by Kevin Martin
 
"Collision" is a new play (full-length, thank-you-very much) by quick-witted, sharp-minded Lyle Kessler and very deftly directed by David Fofi, presented by the Amoralists Company at the Rattlestick Theatre in the West Village. This is a fresh look at human manipulation, a trait grandly self-fix'd upon by a group of scarred intellectuals in a college town dormitory - out there - somewhere in American wonderland  But this is very interesting story!  I found it to be something of a study in modern soulless behavior, proposing that what we get in the intriguing send up of shared scheming by this 'ol gang of ours is a exercise in mind-screw, or emotion-screw agendas, and it gets screwier - and better, as the evening at Rattlestick moves along. In doing so, what we find is a kind of mine field at cross-purposes with its own strewn devices in the form of groundless, albeit explosive misfits - waiting at some point (and we can't know exactly when) , to go off. And they do go off- in both strange and familiar ways.  The main catalyst in this disfunctionally eerie interaction of American characters is one Grange, cleverly done up by James Kautz as a voyeurish, masterly mind blower toward those he encounters - and he finds himself a few willing. - should i say it (??), amoral accomplices.
I am trying to not give away any of the great big details (there are many interesting ones) centering further on the play's plot. Let it suffice that this is a study in 21st century middle class emptiness, and done dramatically well, surprisingly well.The entire cast emits crisp, clear performances - and a particularly enjoyable mention of appreciation goes to Craig muMS Grant as Renel - who knows all too well how life's underbelly of daily head games is played. "COLLISION" runs through February 17
"Collision", WITH: James Kautz (Grange), Nick Lawson (Bromley), Anna Stromberg (Doe), Michael Cullen (Professor Denton) and Craig muMs Grant (Renel).
PRODUCTION: Judy Merrick; assistant director, Michael J. Kessler; sets by Alfred Schatz; lighting by Evan Roby; costumes by Jaime Torres; sound by Phil Carluzzo; produced by Derek Ahonen, Matt Pilieci, Kelcie Beene, Caroline Hendrix and Denyse Owens
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