Review by Nick Radu: Broken Bone Bathtub

She’s naked. She’s in a bathtub. And she’s brilliant.

Siobhan O’Loughlin is the petite powerhouse in this one woman show, bringing humanity to more than just the surface of the water she sits in.

Per usual, Siobhan brings a group of people together, in an actual bathroom, where she sits in the tub and tells her story. On this occasion, host, Ron Brawer, Daytime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for Another World, allowed his Manhattan apartment to be the stage for this particular installment. His giant loft allowed for a larger audience to be present this time around and he provided Siobhan with more than just a conventional tub. Brought in by a friend from Wisconsin when Brawer moved in, was a large copper vat for making cheese!

Siobhan’s adorable face popped up from inside the tub as the literal shower curtain was pulled aside. The large copper basin sat underneath a shower head, which would leak droplets of water every now and then, causing Siobhan to react appropriately.

She told her story of riding her bike through the streets of New York one rainy night. An accident with another cyclist left her on the pavement with a broken hand and a broken spirit.

What was so great about this experience wasn’t just the cute face with the beautiful voice who told the story, or the incredible spirit who picked herself up and delivered a heartfelt depiction of life on life’s terms. What made this incredibly worthwhile was the literal shared experience the audience received.

Siobhan took us through the narrative, but paused at many intervals to ask opinions, thoughts and personal experiences from the friends who gathered around her and her tub. As we got to know her and what happened to her, we also got to know others and what they went through in similar experiences.

She even allowed one of the audience members to wash her back and her hair.

Stipped down to nothing, sitting in water, and allowing us to just be there with her while we let our own guard and defenses down was such a breath of fresh air from the usual theater formula.

In this day and age of social media, and keeping others at text or Facebook-length away, it was so refreshing to make a human connection. She made eye contact. She spoke to numerous audience members about their personal lives. She made you feel at home, at ease, and like a close friend you could open up to.

If you’re looking for something different, something fresh and something to tell a friend about, then check out Broken Bone Bathtub. This artist and this experience are worth it!

Tickets: Available at artful.ly for $35.00 each.

Website: brokenbonebathtub.com

Performances: Manhattan: Greenwich Village – Feb 24 & 25
Queens: Astoria – Feb 26

Now EXTENDED through March 31st.

Guest Blogger Nick Radu Reviews Bedroom Farce

Bedroom Farce

If you’re looking for a good time, a good show and a few good laughs you need only go as far as the bedroom; or three bedrooms, as it is in Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. Under the creative and talented eye of director Andrew Block, the title and the performances do not disappoint when it comes to comedic farce.  The entire play takes place in three separate bedrooms, owned by three of the four couples in the play.  Ian McDonald did a spectacular job of creating the space, with three full beds, as well as walls and doors and other nooks and crannies to differentiate the playing spaces. But it’s Block’s clever blocking that keeps this play moving, and from becoming a giant mess of beds vs people.

Trevor and Susannah, played by Simon Pearl and Alexandra O’Daly, respectively, are a couple whose marriage is on the rocks, and everyone else knows about it.  These two actors have great chemistry as they battle it out in the most awkward of places; other people’s bedrooms.

Trevor’s parents, played by Viki Boyle and Mitch Giannunzio, give us a wonderful insight into married life during middle age.  They seem to have the experience and the answers, but we are privileged to watch these playful actors as their true colors come out when they’re forced to deal with unmentionable topics.

Nick, played by John Gazzale, makes us all cringe as the bed-ridden character agonizing over a slipped disc.  We have the joy of watching his wife, Jan, played by Mel House, deal with her husband’s pleasantries during this crazy romp.  The two have the best moment in the play as these great physical actors give the audience their money’s worth!

In fact, the entire cast has wonderful comedic timing, but the scene stealers are clearly Joscelyne Wilmouth, playing Kate, and Toby MacDonald, playing her husband, Malcolm. These two have it all: chemistry, timing, physicality, you name it.  MacDonald has such a great take-charge way about him, while still being adorably funny.  Wilmouth shows the most range as she interacts with the other characters and deals with her own bedroom shenanigans.

Stop down to the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and catch one of the remaining performances of Bedroom Farce. You’re in for a treat!

VENUE:
Jones Auditorium
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church
7 West 55th Street
(on the 3rd Floor)
PERFORMANCE DATES:
7 pm Saturday, April 16
2 pm Sunday, April 17
7 pm Tuesday, April 19
7 pm Wednesday, April 20
7 pm Thursday, April 21
7 pm Friday, April 22
7 pm Saturday, April 23
2 pm Sunday, April 24
Visit HERE for more info.

Guest Blogger: Nick Radu Reviews Who’ll Save the Plowboy?

Jerry Rago as Albert Cobb and Julie Hays as Helen Cobb (Photos courtesy of Hershey Miller)
Jerry Rago as Albert Cobb and Julie Hays as Helen Cobb (Photos courtesy of Hershey Miller)

Who’ll Save the Plowboy? brings us into the small New York apartment of husband and wife, Albert and Helen Cobb, played by Jerry Rago and Julie Hays, respectively.  It is clear at the top of the show that the two have a very strained relationship, to say the least.  They are awaiting the arrival of Albert’s old friend and WWII buddy, Larry Doyle, played by Robert Haufrecht.  Larry saved Albert’s life during the war, and after losing touch for some time, is in town and on his way to visit his old friend.

Bradley Wherle’s set is comprised of a bare-bones, non-descript apartment with a few walls, entrances, a couple pieces of furniture and a window ingeniously placed into the grooves of the small Davenport Theater.  Even the creative picture frames, painted blue like the wall, give us no hint to the kind of life these two lead.

Rago and Cobb don’t disappoint in showing us the hard life they have together during the time before Haufrecht’s entrance, after which we get to see some beautiful moments.  Rago and Haufrecht have some great banter, and even greater timing, as they discuss (or try not to discuss) the subject of the Cobb’s son, Larry, Jr.  Haufrecht is a pleasure to watch as you see the layers of emotion in his eyes after being asked about his wife, Veronica.

Tom Ashton gives us a nice taste of a couple characters, while Alex Vamvonkakis pulls off the boy next door.

But it is Spring Condoyan, playing Mrs. Doyle (Larry’s mother), who steals the show.  Her slow, deliberate delivery made her a pleasure to watch.  She had many wonderful moments, but the look she gave Helen right before her exit spoke a thousand words.  Her subtext and subtlety left us begging for more.

While I share a birthday with the late Frank D. Gilroy (October 13th), I feel the play is dated, repetitive and heavy.  Hays gave a lovely performance, but unfortunately her character had no redeeming qualities, just one of the downfalls of the misogynistic writing she fell prey to.

Director Marcia Haufrecht and her cast do a wonderful job of leaving us with the question: Have our actions, no matter how good the intention, left the world a better place?

VENUE
The Davenport Theatre Black Box
at 354 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Wednesday, November 11 at 8pm
Thursday, November 12 at 8pm
Friday, November 13 at 8pm
Saturday, November 14 at 8pm
Sunday, November 15 at 3pm (matinee)
Wednesday, November 18 at 8pm
Thursday, November 19 at 8pm
Friday, November 20 at 8pm
Saturday, November 21 at 8pm (closing)

BUY TICKETS
Click here or call 1-800-838-3006.

TBB: Planet Connections Final Week, Our Bar, Newtown Literary Release

CaptureBelieve it or not, I do actually do activities that are non-theatrical. This past week, I decided to take a night off and hang out with some fellow artists at an open mic for Inspired Word.  I read three poems that are in the running for my performance at the Kaufman Studios Block Party.  I don’t perform as much as I used to by choice.  I really enjoy being behind the scenes producing, directing and promoting. However, it is important for me to feel  the butterflies and fear of speaking in front of people, so I can effectively communicate with fellow artists. It is one of the reasons I asked my friends to be my guest bloggers. I like to read and share their experiences with you.

As of this Friday, Valerie G. Keane will by my First Fridays guest blogger. Valerie is a passionate and opinionated artist whose work is published in Newtown Literary Magazine. She is also the curator of Poetry and Coffee, a monthly poetry salon where people discuss great poetry.

I want to thank Josh Rivedal, Nick Radu, Adam Kern, Kate Powers, Dawn Slegona McDonald, Ian McDonald, Isaac Klein,  Linda Gnat-Mullins and Cas Marino for being my guest bloggers.  I appreciate them taking the time to share about their wonderful work.

And on to June. Keep me posted on your shows as summer has Fringe, Midtown International Festival, NYMF and so much more.

See you at the show!