THEATER REVIEW | Blue Water Theatre Company's "This Is Our Youth" very youthful

This Is Our Youth - the troubled trio of Warren (Kevin Dye), Jessica (Kasey Carpenter), and Dennis (Adam Hebeisen); photo courtesy of Blue Water Theatre Company

I’m not sure I should be reviewing Blue Water Theatre Company’s production of Kenneth Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth. On the one hand, it is part of Southern Theater’s ARTshare offerings, and Blue Water is one of the resident companies this year. On the other hand, this could only charitably be called a full production, and I don’t think it helps anybody if I start grading on a curve. If reviewing Defying Gravity felt like kicking a puppy, I’m not sure where to take that metaphor if I start evaluating This Is Our Youth.

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THEATER REVIEW | Gadfly Theatre Productions' "Vile Affections": God only knows

Sister Bart (Emily Weiss), Sister Caterina (Sarah Parker) and Sister Fiora (Dana Lee Thompson) - the three holy sisters who are Sister Benedetta's undoing in Gadfly Theatre Productions' Vile Affections; photo courtesy of Gadfly Theatre Productions

I’m fully behind Gadfly Theatre Productions’ mission of creating queer and feminist theater and art. (Heck, I even took part in their original shorts festival last summer.) But Vanda’s Vile Affections isn’t doing them any favors. The script has so many unreliable narrators for this supposedly true but sparsely documented story of nuns under investigation in 17th century Italy that I not only lost the thread of the story, at a certain point I wasn’t even sure what the story was anymore. The case of Sister Benedetta Carlini (Amanda Kay Thomm Bahr) is notable for being one of the earliest documented cases of a lesbian affair. But Benedetta’s sexual relations with Sister Bartolomea Crivelli (Bart, for short) (Emily Weiss) don’t take place until well into the second act. And it’s not as if there’s a slow burn leading up to the event throughout the first act. In that sense, Vile Affections would appear to be about something else. What that is (you’ll pardon the expression) God only knows. 

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MUSIC REVIEW | Dreaming with the Cactus Blossoms at the Electric Fetus

You know how you keep local music supported for generations? Have venues that are open for intergenerational audiences. Tuesday night my favorite 10 year old and I hopped over to the Electric Fetus to see the Cactus Blossoms. She was thrilled because as she pointed out – she never gets to see them!

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MUSIC REVIEW | World beats with Corey Harris, Paul Metzger and Erik Koskinen on Real Phonic at James J Hill

My favorite regular gig went worldly this month as Real Phonic at the James J Hill Reference Library hosted a group of eclectic artists. Headlining was Corey Harris who seems to have toes in places around the globe. He was born in Denver, busked in New Orleans, lived in West Africa and soaked up sounds wherever he went.

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THEATER REVIEW | Savage Umbrella's "These are The Men" all about the woman

Jocasta (Laura Leffler-McCabe) and her brother Creon (Michael Ooms) are being stalked by Jocasta's past, present and future all at once in the trippy Oedipus riff These Are The Men from Savage Umbrella; photo by Carl Atiya Swanson

It’s tough being Jocasta (Laura Leffler-McCabe).  Sure, you’re the queen of Thebes, but when your husband Laius (Daniel Ian Joeck) goes to the Oracle at Delphi (Hannah K. Holman) and gets a prophecy, it can seriously muck up your family planning.  The Oracle tells Laius that his as yet unborn son will grow up to kill his father (Laius) and marry his mother (Jocasta). What is Laius supposed to do?  When a boy is born, you take him from his mother’s arms, hand him off to a shepherd (Foster Johns) and order the man to leave the baby on some far off hillside to die.

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