Thursday, March 1, 2012

Show Reviews - "Fathers And Other Strangers" and "Billy Elliot"

Here are two more show reviews that came out, one yesterday and three for Billy Elliot.

Miami’s African American Performing Arts Community Theatre presents Fathers And Other Strangers. Directed by Teddy Harrell Jr. and featuring: Finley Polynice, Glen Lawrence, René Granado, Harold Clinton Archambault, Deirdré Washington, Jon Kelly, and Curtis Holland.

Christine Dolan has reviewed the show for The Miami Herald 

‘Fathers’ is a slow-moving study of closed-off men

Jeffrey Stetson’s Fathers and Other Strangers is a play about silent stoicism, emotional evasions and the ongoing cost of refusing to acknowledge truth.

The newest effort from Miami’s African American Performing Arts Community Theatre (AAPACT), the drama about a black Chicago-based psychiatrist examines relationships between men and their fathers, men and father figures, or men and their families. Racism from both black and white characters is also on the table. Ditto the use of violence vs. reason.

That’s a lot going on for any play, even one that unfolds at a stately 2 ½ hours. Stetson’s play is thought-provoking, but it is also less than laser-focused in making its many plot threads work together to create a powerful thematic impact. The play ambles and staggers when it should be driving toward revelations and breakthroughs.

The Broward Center presents the national tour of Billy Elliot.

Christine Dolan has reviewed the show for The Miami Herald 

'Billy Elliot’ soars and inspires at the Broward Center
Billy Elliot, the inspiring tale of an 11-year-old British boy whose life is forever altered when he discovers dance, has been beguiling audiences ever since screenwriter Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldry made a movie of it in 2000. Yet as stirring and surprising as the award-winning film was, Billy Elliot really found its rhythm when Hall, Daldry and Elton John turned it into a musical in 2005.

Winner of London’s Olivier Award and Broadway’s Tony, Billy Elliot the Musical has finally arrived in South Florida for a two-week run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts with four talented actor-dancers taking turns in the title role. That sharing of the star part is no gimmick: Playing Billy requires almost three hours of stage time, and choreographer Peter Darling’s showcase dances for Billy demand stamina, polished technique and inspired artistry. J.D. Viernes, who got Wednesday’s opening night gig as Billy, certainly brings all of those qualities to his fierce, moving dancing.

Roger Martin Atca also reviewed the show for Miami ArtZine

J.P.Viernes is a fifteen year old dancer who can set the joint on fire with just a couple of taps and a pirouette. And he does just that as Billy in Billy Elliot The Musical now playing at the Broward Center.

Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical, Billy pretty much lives up to its reputation. Elton John's music wrapped with Lee Hall's book and lyrics and Peter Darling's choreography is a formidable package indeed.

Just in case you missed the movie: Billie is a small town kid in Northern England. His coal miner dad wants him to be a boxer; he wants to go to ballet class.

And Rod Stafford Hagwood for The Sun-Sentinel

'Billy Elliot': Pas de dull - The musical dampens the hit film's anger and aggression.

"Billy Elliot: The Musical" dances in the no man's land between soaring musical and working-class blight. Now, that's a tricky tap-dance to pull off, and the fast-moving, yet repetitive, musical frequently lands just right with this touring company at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

But it just as often falls flatfooted, each pirouette calculated and mechanical, the emotions dampened and muted.

If you're not familiar with the hit 2000 movie, you may think the story of a coal miner's son in Northern England yearning to dance ballet against the backdrop of a brutal 1984 workers' strike will be a testosterone-fueled, "Tiaras & Toddlers" tune fest. Well, this ain't "Annie," so be forewarned that the language – thick with blue-collar "Geordie" accents – is decidedly adult-oriented. There are as many middle-finger salutes as arabesques.


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