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Reviewed by George Basler The Nance, which opened this past weekend (Sept.  8-10) at KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton, is an extremely funny send-up of old-fashioned burlesque shows, filled with routines that were old when your grandfather was in knickers. The play is also a touchingly sad character study as the life of its main character crumbles through self-delusion and self-loathing. These two aspects may seem an odd combination -- like mixing cherry soda with vinegar -- but a superb cast pulls it off in a terrific production...
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Reviewed by George Basler Nobody ever accused Edward Albee of playing it safe. And that’s certainly not the case with The Goat or, Who is Sylvia, which opened this past weekend (June 9-11) at KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, and it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A fine KNOW Theatre cast, well directed by James B. Nicola, makes it a compelling evening of theater. But the subject matter is about...
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Editor's note: This is a revised version of the original review. Reviewed by George Basler Audience members know they’re in for a funny evening when even the pre-show announcement about fire exits and cell phones draws laughs. That’s the case with SRO Underground’s production of Avenue Q, which opened last weekend (May 12-14) at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City. The laughs continue throughout the two-hour and 15-minute show that is basically a spoof of the beloved children’s series Sesame Street, replete with fuzzy puppets and actors pulling the strings. The performance...
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Reviewed by George Basler A lot of words could describe Hydrogen Jukebox: experimental, anti-establishment, provocative and surreal. So Tri-Cities Opera deserves credit for taking on this challenging work in a production that opened April 21 and will continue with performances this weekend. The production is admirably directed by Alison Moritz and well sung by a cast of six young performers. The opera itself, however, is a mixed bag with moments of emotional intensity and beauty intermixed with stretches of hippie-dippy musings that a young Woody Allen would have had...
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Reviewed by George Basler The latest KNOW Theatre production is entitled Provocative, Pointed and Purely Funny: An Evening with Edward Allan Baker, and that pretty much sums up what audiences will experience. Black humor, social commentary and heartache are on full display in Baker’s three one-act plays , which opened this past weekend (April 7-9) and will run for two more weekends. While the plays are uneven, powerful performances by a first-rate cast make for a compelling evening. Baker, whose lengthy resume includes 14 one-act plays, is currently chair of...
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Reviewed by George Basler Put simply, Thorton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth is a play you’ll either love or hate. Written in 1939, and first performed in 1942, the tragicomedy totally rejects naturalism (some would say logic) for abstraction, allegory and absurdity. In short, it’s one of the most bizarre, and polarizing, mainstream dramas ever produced on the American stage. The play was a hit when it first opened on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. But time has not been kind. The Skin of...
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Reviewed by George Basler Over the past 24 years, Binghamton’s KNOW Theatre has established a solid reputation for presenting provocative and/or less well-known plays. Its latest production, Of the Fields, Lately, which opened this past weekend (Feb. 10-12), certainly fits that bill. The slice-of-life family drama, set in 1961, was written by Canadian playwright David French, who, I acknowledge, I had never heard of before. It’s one in a cycle of five, semi-autobiographical plays about the Mercer family, a solidly working-class family from Newfoundland, now living in Toronto. As...
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