Author: Elise Hanson

Accessible Shakespeare in the Grassroots TWELFTH NIGHT

OREM — Grassroots Shakespeare Company continues to do what it does best: provide entertaining and well-executed productions of Shakespeare’s work in a way that is as fun as it is accessible, ensuring that anyone—no matter the age or exposure to the bard’s work—can enjoy a show. Twelfth Night is a light and frothy Shakespeare comedy featuring mistaken identity, cross-dressing, pranks, and kerfuffles. It is one of my favorites, and I was delighted to see it produced so well by the folks at Grassroots. Grassroots shows are produced without a director, and so it is a credit to the actors that they work...

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STUPID F***KING BIRD is a beautiful, bored, brilliant devil

SALT LAKE CITY — People clap when cake comes out, but sometimes the lighter malfunctions. That is the theme of the superfluously wonderful Stupid F***king Bird, but it certainly does not describe the production. From the moment Latoya Cameron appears onstage, singing balefully with the accompaniment of her own ukulele and comparing how very miserable her character’s life is with that of the character played by Justin Ivie, I was deliriously delighted, and I think I have found my new favorite play. I’m dead serious. The power and magic of truly great art—something that this deconstructed classic strives and succeeds...

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UTBA reviewers sound off: EXCELLENCE in 2015

At the end of every year at UTBA we collect our members’ thoughts on the excellent shows they have seen that year. And for the fifth year in a row, it is clear that the Utah theatre scene is vibrant, with entertainment options available for patrons of all types. Below are the shows that stick out in our reviewers minds as 2015 draws to a close. Excellent Professional (Equity) Productions Who would have thought that a farce written in the 1890’s would still be belly-aching funny 120 years later? The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s take on Charley’s Aunt was phenomenal all around:...

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DON JUAN COMES BACK FROM THE WAR is visually striking and stylized

  SALT LAKE CITY — We (and by “we,” I am referring to any person attracted to the male of the species), all know one: a man who, rather inexplicably in most cases, possesses that indefinable quality, that magnetic draw, that lures people to him in droves. He may not even be deserving of all the attention. He may be cold, indifferent, or downright cruel—yet there is no resisting him.  He has the “Kavorka.” This is the phenomenon examined in the unique little play Don Juan Returns From War by German playwright Odon von Horvath, whose script bears the influence of...

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BLACKBERRY WINTER is raw and moving

SALT LAKE CITY – The stage is set simply, with plexiglass tables arranged at increments, each bearing a different item: a small wooden horse, a recipe box, a stack of scarves, a piggy bank, etc. The walls and lights on the scrim are swirls of light purple, and there are white balloons floating in one corner. Vivienne (April Fossen), enters, carrying a purse and a letter in an envelope. She introduces herself to the audience, describing herself as “wonderful desserts, a bulletproof smile, and a terrible person,” and insists that she is not going to open the envelope, because...

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