Author: John Olive

Review | Into The Woods: ethereal and powerful

Ten Thousand Things, through March 24

You might could call Stephen Sondheim‘s exquisite and delicate Into The Woods a “problem play.” Like Shakespeare’s problem plays (one thinks of A Winter’s Tale) to call Into The Woods problematic is in no way to criticize. Rather, it’s to…

Review | benevolence: scary-powerful

Penumbra Theatre, through March 10

Difficult. Difficult, and presented with unrelieved intensity. This is an apt description of benevolence (playing at Penumbra Theatre Company through March 10). If you’re looking for feel-good entertainment, a sweet and undemanding play to watch while you digest a rich…

Review | She Loves Me: sweet and tuneful

Artistry Theater, through Feb 17

Whenever I attend the Artistry Theater, I’m struck by what a play-going bargain it is. The commodious parking lot is filled with free parking; the lobby is huge; there’s a wonderful and large room filled with pretty-good art. (The rest…

Review | Blackbird: powerful, creepy

Dark And Stormy Productions, 77 13th Ave NE — in the Grain Belt Brewery complex — through Jan 5

The past, as the swamis never tire of telling us, is a meaningless abstraction. Ditto the future. There is only the ineffable Now, the shining wellspring of happiness and contentment. But what do you do when the past is the…

The Great Society: a fascinating look at LBJ

History Theatre, through Oct 28

Pearce Bunting plays Lyndon Baines Johnson in Robert Schenkkan‘s theatrical (and loud) The Great Society (History Theatre) with none of the crude charm, the country-boy excess, the rude physical bullying that I’ve come to associate with our former president. Bunting’s LBJ…

Is God Is: gorgeously nasty

Mixed Blood Theatre, through Oct 14

“The fire keeps tryna come out.” Mixed Blood‘s wonderfully repellent and highly original Is God Is, written by Aleshea Harris, is a clutch-popper. Credit – definitely the right word, because this play zips along like a house afire and is…

Awake And Sing!: a 1930s era gem

Artistry Theater; 1800 Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington; through Oct 7

“She’s so beautiful. She’s like French words.” “Life shouldn’t be printed on one dollar bills.” “I got a yen for her, and that ain’t Chinese coins.” Can a play containing gems like this ever really be bad? Not really, and…

Once: heartfelt and streetwise

Theater Latté Da, through Oct 21

You know what busking is, don’t you? When a talented (one hopes) musician plays for free on the street, opening his guitar case (or fiddle case, or mandolin case, as the case may be) in hopes of catching a few…