The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence

by CHRISTINE SARKES The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 finalist for Pulitzer Prize for Drama at Park Square Theatre, is truly a curious case. It is a lightly entertaining and well-acted confusing mix of steampunk meets Sci-Fi time travel meets Sex and the City. The website’s synopsis won’t help much either: “Four…

Citizen: An American Lyric

by CHRISTINE SARKES Frank Theatre’s Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine at the Intermediate Arts center packs a huge emotional punch. Focusing on the complex inner and outer lives of its characters, the play dissects daily occurrences of racist micro-aggressions that are designed to denigrate and render invisible minority populations. These micro-aggressions are explored…

The Royal Family

by CHRISTINE SARKES The Royal Family at the Guthrie Theater is an entertaining, long and chaotic mess of a tribute to a comically dysfunctional Broadway “theat-ah” family – a thinly-veiled homage to the Barrymore dynasty. Although the play has muddled themes of honoring family traditions, work/life balance and living up to parental expectations, it is…

Fun Home

by CHRISTINE SARKES Fun Home at the Orpheum Theatre is devastatingly honest, achingly funny and worthy of all the praise it has received. The musical won five Tony Awards last year, including Best Musical, and made history as the first show written exclusively by women to win that award. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling and award-winning graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces…

Finding Fish

by CHRISTINE SARKES Finding Fish at the Illusion Theater is a labor of love for playwright Carlyle Brown, who lived a seafaring life for over twenty years on the Maine coast. A commission to write a play about the sustainability of Maine’s fisheries led to this work, which imagines a future world in which much…

Sense and Sensibility

by CHRISTINE SARKES I’m writing this review as an unabashed Jane Austen fan and addressing it to the likewise. Anyone else is a mystery to me and I wouldn’t know where to begin. Janeites/Austenites will love the Guthrie Theater and Kate Hamill’s reverent, yet lightly modernized adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. With spot-on lead performances, exceptional ensemble…

2016 Ivey Awards

by CHRISTINE SARKES Inclusiveness and gratitude were the themes of the 12th Annual Ivey Awards held last evening at the Historic State Theater, downtown Minneapolis. Theater professionals honored their own and one of ours–Star Tribune theater critic Graydon Royce–as they reached beyond the typical candidates by awarding a non-actor, costume designer Trevor Bowen, with the Emerging Artist Award. Bowen got his…

Disgraced

by CHRISTINE SARKES In Disgraced at the Guthrie Theater, playwright Ayad Akhtar lays bare the deepest, darkest prejudices and fears of his diverse cast. In some ways, this is the most important review I’ve written to date and, like the play itself, the pressure to get it right is intense. What is it like for…

South Pacific

by CHRISTINE SARKES La vie est belle, life is beautiful, on the set of South Pacific at the Guthrie Theater through August 28. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 Broadway musical (and 1958 film) is romantic and lush, with such indelible music and lyrics that many left the theater whistling the tunes. It takes on prejudice and…

Complicated Fun

by CHRISTINE SARKES Complicated Fun at the History Theatre through May 29 is a weirdly coincidental musical retelling of the history of First Avenue and the acts that made it famous, including Prince, who played frequently and filmed many scenes in Purple Rain there. In fact, Chris Osgood of The Suicide Commandos opened the show with a moving tribute…