Author: Russell Warne

See the “Peanuts” gang in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

HIGHLAND — A mainstay of the comics pages since 1950, Peanuts are part of the cultural fabric of the United States. For a few days their fans in Utah County can see these beloved characters on stage in Highland City Arts Council’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the production is the fact that it is You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. The script (written by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer) is a meandering concept musical that limps from one song to another. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Peanuts will...

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HAPPYSADNESS lives up to half its title

PROVO — Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in America, and it cruelly exacts its toll on millions of people every year. Chandra Lloyd’s new Happysadness is a play about depression that could have been relevant to many people. Unfortunately, this production did not live up to its potential. Happysadness tells the story of Val, a young woman suffering from depression and an anxiety disorder. Most of the play revolves around Val’s symptoms and how she struggles to deal with them. Val’s experiences are punctuated regularly by therapy sessions—most of which blend together before the play reaches...

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Hop aboard the LAST TRAIN TO NIBROC

PROVO — “You never know what will happen on a train.” This one line, from Arlene Hutton’s script, perfectly summarizes Last Train to Nibroc, an enjoyable production currently playing at the Covey Center for the Arts. This quiet little play about the romance between its two characters is a gem of a show that deserves the attention of Utah audiences. Last Train to Nibroc begins in the midst of World War II when two strangers, May (played by Kynsie Kiggins) and Raleigh (played by McKay Nicoll) meet by chance on a westbound train from Los Angeles. Both find that...

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New ALICE IN WONDERLAND musical is a good match for young kids

OREM — If there is one thing I have learned in nearly a decade of reviewing theatre, it is that the target audience matters. This fact is especially true for productions aimed at young audiences. Children need stage productions that are tailored to their cognitive and emotional developmental levels. But this also makes it difficult for adults to review (and enjoy) productions aimed at kids. Yet, despite the age gap between me and the target audience, I still found SCERA’s Alice in Wonderland a pleasant evening. Based on the famous Lewis Carroll novel of the same name, Alice in...

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Grassroots Shakespeare’s KING LEAR lacks bite, but manages

SALT LAKE CITY — “Come not between the dragon and its wrath,” shouts King Lear after his youngest daughter, Cordelia, displeases him. The aged king’s wrath and his powerless responses to adversity are the subject of one of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays. The Grassroots Shakespeare Company has decided to kick off 2017 with this tragedy. However, instead of a play full of wrath and dragonlike ferocity, this production is docile and tame. As in almost all Grassroots shows, the cast of 11 collaborated to create the show without a director. This centerpiece of the Grassroots artistic system can be...

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