Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Beyond Belief" & "Ritalin Readings" & "Acme Winter Festival of New Works"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Beverly Creasey

The Sky's The Limit
--- for Ten Minutes

"Beyond Belief"
"The Ritalin Readings"
"The Acme Winter Festival of New Plays"

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

If you saw Jack Neary's "little old ladies" comedy sketches at the Boston Theatre Marathon, then you're in for a surprise --- because Neary takes the outrageous ladies in a serious direction in "Beyond Belief" at The Lyric Stage.

Across town "The Ritalin Readings" (for people with short attention spans) served up about a dozen ten-minute plays. As playwright Bill Doncaster explains, he writes full-length plays --- it's just that they only take ten minutes!
Doncaster's father/daughter playlet ("Full") dids just that: Here's a divorced dad spending time with his daughter and reconnecting with the kind of boundless hope only a child can fully embrace. His Father-of-the-bride play ("Live at Budokan") got two tired dads to reassess their lives and follow their dreams, proving it really can be done in ten minutes.
And it doesn't hurt that all these fine scripts had extraordinary actors and directors to put them over.

Aside from the wonderful raffle prizes, and the rockin' riffs of Ethan Mackler's bass guitar, the highlights of the Rit Reads [ADD is getting to me!] were "Next" by Jerry Bisantz, "Mosquitoes" by George Sauer, and "Revenge by Design" by Rob Mattson.

Bisantz tapped into our secret fears about long lines (at the registry, or anywhere for that matter), with James Tallach diabolically delivering ticket numbers and Linda Sughrue as everywoman at meltdown --- aided in her descent by Jim Jordan.
Sauer made a symphony out of the irritating buzzing of those persistent blood-suckers, while Mattson royally spoofed those cable makeover maniacs, when Irene Daly and Kevin LaVelle worked their own design magic.

Acme Theatre's Love Fest also features the usual suspects --- why not, they don't disappoint!
Geralyn Horton's "Snakes And Ladders" offers up Margaret McCarty as a fiendishly new-age bellydance instructor. Then in George Sauer's deliciously scary "Proper Dental Hygeine" McCarty terrorizes Russ Fletcher, reaffirming our fears about anything dental. (Not since "Marathon Man" has disclosure been so squeamish.)"Hygeine" director Gordon Ellis and master of all trades Dave Sheppard (playing Al Michaels & John Madden look-alikes) join forces for another inane color-commentary in Mattson's hilarious "Sunday Night Confessions". [I swear I heard the real Madden comment on a player's Tan last night!] Mattson scores again.

Lisa Burdick's "Round John Virgin" manages to be endearing, side-splitting, touching, and transcendent. (It doesn't hurt to have the best actor in Boston in it, either. Randy Farais is superb as Santa's competition). And newcomer Sara Adelman delivers a smart comedy about those insufferable Gap commercials which is so on Targety that Elliot & Barry should option it for Jordan Furniture.

It's a pity I've run out of space because I could go on four hours......
or at least ten more minutes!

"Beyond Belief" (22 November - 12 December)
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON MA
1 (617)437-7172235-0488
The Ritalin Readings (3 & 4 January only)
The Elizabeth Peabody House, 277 Broadway, SOMERVILLE MA
1 (617)437-7172235-0488
The Acme Winter Festival of New Plays (10 - 18 January )
Artspace Maynard, 61 Summer Street, MAYNARD MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide