Lee Williams

Disemboweled at Dinner

Civilization is a ruse. Down in our guts, we're all just bloodthirsty animals. That's the truth devouring audiences of Catastrophic Theatre's remount of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's hilariously gory Hunter Gatherers ... The ridiculous trappings of civilization are put away to make room for the primal desires that keep humans connected to their animal hearts — sex, violence, domination, the urge to procreate ... Through all this is director Jason Nodler's marvelous grasp of every comedic possibility in this script ... The show is good and nasty fun.

A Place without Poetry

[The Designated Mourner] pierces the darkness of the human experience, asking us to weigh the precious pretensions of art against the brutality of a world without people who care about such seemingly useless subjects. ... Directed with heart-crushing grace and beautifully acted by this smart cast - Dean gives the performance of his career here - the troubling play puts forth a bleak worldview that doesn't seem all that far-fetched.

Capsule Stage Reviews: The New Century, Our Late Night, Speech and Debate

Once again the original thinkers at Catastrophic Theatre are proving themselves to be the masters of all things strange, disquieting and ultimately mesmerizing ... The story follows a small group of revelers through a night of highballs and honest conversation unlike any you've ever heard, unless you've been to hell and back. Dolled up in suits, silk and shiny shoes, these four men and three women drift about the small party clinking their ice cubes against crystal while engaging in what should be small talk, but in fact turns into the secret horrors of the human condition. [...] And somehow much of this is horrifyingly hilarious - when it's not raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Directed by Jason Nodler with the dangerous and exacting patience of a snake, this show is both intellectually stunning and emotionally unnerving as it snatches evil out from its hiding place and holds it up to the dazzling light.

Capsule Stage Reviews: A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, Margo Veil: An Entertainment, Life Is Happy and Sad

The emotional power of Life Is Happy and Sad lies in its disarming sincerity ... The sweet truthfulness of the central character - Daniel Johnston is played here by a very compelling Matthew Brownlie - does not keep Nodler's production from being highly experimental ...  The powerful music is the best reason to see this show, and it's stunning to watch Brownlie change from a shy, lonely, bumbling guy trying to make songs on a practice piano into a super-sexy rock star in complete command of the stage with his band. The two sides of the character demonstrate with moving clarity that life is indeed happy and sad. 

Capsule Stage Reviews: Constant Star, Hunter Gatherers, Little Women

A hysterical story full of sex, naked butts and death. Thank the folks at Catastrophic Theatre for this night filled with evil laughter — they've put together a stunning production, led by a fabulous foursome of a cast. ... Many terrible and laugh-till-your-face-hurts moments occur: A lamb gets slaughtered, a man is almost raped, a woman orgasms. This is not family-friendly theater, but thanks to this terrific cast and Jason Nodler's dead-on direction, it's the funniest grown-up play anyone's put on this season. 

Capsule Stage Reviews: Spirits to Enforce

Ever the contrarians, the folks at The Catastrophic Theatre are running Mickle Maher's Spirits to Enforce, a show that has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays other than the true joy it will bring to all lovers of the avant-garde...Director Jason Nodler creates an extraordinary energy that starts out high and manages to get almost frenetic before a sort of postmodern epiphany (does such a thing exist?) occurs ...The ensemble is terrific...This production is a savory treat in a season awash in sugar.

Tamarie at Target

The Tamarie Cooper Show has arrived at Stages Repertory Theatre, and what a tangy tonic it is...Jodi Bobrovsky's TV-inspired set design is yummy and glamorous. The cast, including Jennifer Mathieu, Karen Schlag, Karina Pal Moñtano-Bowers and Cary Winscott, seem to be having the time of their lives. And Cooper is back to doing what she does best.

Capsule Stage Reviews: Bright Lights, Big City, Present Laughter, Time of My Life, The Splasher, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Troy Schulze's brand-new work The Splasher from The Catastrophic Theatre explores the strange and layered rhetoric of the arguments on both sides of The Splasher situation...with humor and intelligence. Schulze sculpted his play from dialogue he wrote, layered with bits lifted from interviews and The Splasher's "Manifesto." Woven into all these fractured ideas is funky '70s-TV-like video. Schulze himself is a bit like the Splasher – he corrupts the original to make a powerful, must-see, brand-new statement.