Author: Elise Hanson-Barnett

ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD is a dark and uniquely drawn little play

SALT LAKE CITY — Mob mentality is a psychological phenomenon that has always been of great interest to me, probably because it both fascinates and terrifies me. Fantastic feats can be accomplished by a group of angry people, particularly if that anger is fueled by a bit of showmanship. In George Brant‘s acutely orphic Elephant’s Graveyard, that very idea is explored in a cleverly unusual way: through a series of monologues. The script is a true ensemble piece, with all of the actors having a similar amount of stage time throughout its action. Never at any point do the actors actually speak...

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STALLED shows and never tells

SALT LAKE CITY — As my first show at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, Stalled did not disappoint. In Stalled, a girl rushes into the bathroom in the middle of an apparent panic attack. She is soon joined by her friend (dressed as a bunny rabbit), who briefly talked her down until the anxiety-ridden girl’s boyfriend Ollie appears. Billed as a collaborative effort by stars McKenzie Steele Foster, Shawn Francis Saunders, Alexander Woods, and Amy Ware,  the show is a lovely, graceful little piece of theater that shows far more than tells. Fans of conventional storytelling may find themselves lost in waves of...

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BLACKBIRD draws on the raggedness of life

SALT LAKE CITY — The phrase “trigger warning” was designed for works like Blackbird. This dark little show is difficult to watch, even for those without trauma. But though trying, agonizing, and cruel, it is also the most rewarding piece of theater I have seen this year and indeed one of the most evocative pieces I have ever seen. The play, written by David Harrower, begins with 27-year-old Una, played by Anne Louise Brings, being ushered into an office break room by 55-year-old Ray, played by Mark Fossen. At first, the relationship between the two is unclear. She bemoans the state of the...

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REX should have stayed retired

LOGAN — Back in 1976, Richard Rodgers penned Rex, what was to be one of his final musicals, with a libretto by Sheldon Harnick. By that time, Oscar Hammerstein had passed, and the once great duo was no more. Love them or hate them, there was something to the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein that churned out mass hits that are still widely performed today due to their entertainment value and relevance to a modern audience. With Rex, however, it is clear why some musicals stay buried in the past (and most rightly so). King Henry VIII and his many...

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Experience the balm of Gilead of SLAC’s SATURDAY’S VOYEUR

SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a rough year for Americans. No matter your political leanings, the impossibility of blocking the outcry of impassioned consternation from your universe is a real and palpable experience for us all. Luckily for us and for the world in general, there is a remedy: humor. Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur has been a mainstay of the Utah theatre scene for many years now, and this past year’s well-spring of material has produced a masterful and rollicking result this time around in the aptly named Saturday’s Voyeur 2017: The Sh*t Show.  The construction of this production...

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