By Zoe Yabrove
By Bree Davies
By Byron Graham
By Susan Froyd
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Bree Davies
By Susan Froyd
By Kate Gibbons
Roller Skating With My Cousin. Quantum physics is clearly on director Brian Freeland's mind. One of the play's best scenes occurs at the start, as two women explain sequentially that anyone can create a universe; you can do it at your kitchen sink by simply compressing matter — any amount of matter — to the point of combustion. They discuss this with the authority and matter-of-factness of a couple of sorority girls swapping cookie recipes. There are biblical themes and references throughout, including a Tower of Babel built of cardboard boxes, which later becomes the Berlin Wall. Ronald Reagan appears as a ram-horned Satan. Nancy Reagan hovers about, as does Nancy Davis — presumably the former first lady's doppelgänger, the Nancy who, in a different universe, didn't marry Ronnie and ended up flipping burgers. This is the kind of experimental theater in which sound gets blurred, faces are obscured in shadow and meaning is deliberately withheld. You can't really put the pieces together and come up with anything resembling a storyline, or even a consistent theme; it seems a bit of a copout to call this seething mass of ideas and images a mash-up, as the program does. Surely a mash-up should be more than just a bunch of disparate things squeezed together in the hope they'll combust. Freeland's most successful and exciting strategy is the introduction of roller-skating; he has enlisted the services of several of the Denver Roller Dolls. What a difference these women make! No sooner do they shoot onto the stage like a crew of crazed girl particles, almost-colliding, crossing and whizzing apart, turning circles, than breathing quickens everywhere in the house. It's riveting, surprising, a beautiful cross — mash-up, if you want — between theater and life. Presented by the LIDA Project through February 20 at Bindery|Space, 2180 Stout Street, 720-221-3821, www.lida.org. Reviewed January 21.
Singin' in the Rain. The 1952 movie starring Donald O'Connor, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds became a play thirty years later. It's the story of a glamorous Hollywood couple, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, and what happens to them during the transition from silent movies to the talkies: Don comes through pretty well, but Lina's voice is a harsh, squeaking disaster that threatens to sink the studio. Enter Kathy Selden, who wants to be a serious stage actress. Don falls for her — much to Lina's chagrin — and persuades her to lend her warm, smooth speaking and singing tones to the cause: Dubbing, newly invented, saves the film. There's much to recommend in this production of Singin' in the Rain: a fine orchestra; some terrific performances; the clever pieces of fake silent film; the company's usual exuberance; the choreography of Scott Beyette and Alicia Dunfee, who also play Don and Kathy; and the rain scene: Thunder sounds, the audience members nearest the stage hastily don company-provided slickers, and water jets, cascades and falls from the ceiling, soaking the wildly tapping Beyette, puddling on the stage and conveying an intense sense of freedom, shock and exhilaration. Presented by Boulder's Dinner Theatre through February 14, 5501 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, 303-449-6000, www.bouldersdinnertheatre.com. Reviewed December 3.
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