Author: Elise Hanson

BLACKBIRD draws on the raggedness of life

SALT LAKE CITY — The phrase “trigger warning” was designed for works like Blackbird. This dark little show is difficult to watch, even for those without trauma. But though trying, agonizing, and cruel, it is also the most rewarding piece of theater I have seen this year and indeed one of the most evocative pieces I have ever seen. The play, written by David Harrower, begins with 27-year-old Una, played by Anne Louise Brings, being ushered into an office break room by 55-year-old Ray, played by Mark Fossen. At first, the relationship between the two is unclear. She bemoans the state of the...

Read More

REX should have stayed retired

LOGAN — Back in 1976, Richard Rodgers penned Rex, what was to be one of his final musicals, with a libretto by Sheldon Harnick. By that time, Oscar Hammerstein had passed, and the once great duo was no more. Love them or hate them, there was something to the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein that churned out mass hits that are still widely performed today due to their entertainment value and relevance to a modern audience. With Rex, however, it is clear why some musicals stay buried in the past (and most rightly so). King Henry VIII and his many...

Read More

Experience the balm of Gilead of SLAC’s SATURDAY’S VOYEUR

SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a rough year for Americans. No matter your political leanings, the impossibility of blocking the outcry of impassioned consternation from your universe is a real and palpable experience for us all. Luckily for us and for the world in general, there is a remedy: humor. Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur has been a mainstay of the Utah theatre scene for many years now, and this past year’s well-spring of material has produced a masterful and rollicking result this time around in the aptly named Saturday’s Voyeur 2017: The Sh*t Show.  The construction of this production...

Read More

KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN is a breath of sweetly spiced air

SALT LAKE CITY — Already a fan of the works of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret), I looked forward to my introduction to the Tony Award winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. And I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. This stunningly aberrant work is a practice in aesthetic as much as it is in the human experience, and I enjoyed living in its strange little universe for a spell. Based on a novel by Manuel Puig and with a script by Terrence McNally, Kiss of the Spider Woman tells the story of Luis Alberto Molina (played by...

Read More

Touring MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM is sugary sweet

WEST VALLEY CITY — As a huge proponent of arts education, I am thrilled that one of Utah’s premier acting companies, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, has launched an intermountain West tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After an engaging presentation of a classical work, the talk back with the actors after the performance revealed a unified love of the theater arts and Shakespeare that is valuable to children, at-risk youth, and adults alike. Nevertheless, I believe there is a fine line between educating with enthusiasm and pandering, and this production danced over that line a hair too far. The cloying sweetness of the...

Read More

Let’s Chat