THEATER REVIEW: Strong acting rescues musty script in Ghent’s ‘Dial M for Murder’

“Dial ‘M’ for Murder”/ Ghent Playhouse/ Directed by Flo Hayle

“DIAL ‘M’ FOR MURDER” is a plot-intensive, 1950s piece of crime fiction that has a difficult time breathing in 2011. It cannot survive well without a great deal of actor-supplied humanity. Fortunately the production at Ghent Playhouse has three actors who almost get the job done despite the script: Neal Berntson as the soulless murderer, John Trainor as the police inspector with unexpected smarts, and Daniel Region as the suave, money-hungry husband out to murder his wealthy wife.

Though Bernston (Captain Lesgate) gets killed off fairly early in the play, while sentient — watching a web of blackmail slowly entrap him — he makes his long silences eloquent. The lines are icy-clean, and his morality-free thought processes are better than lines. Read more…

MUSIC REVIEW: Sibelius festival starts with sing-along

Bard Music Festival/ Bard College

THE OPENING CONCERT of the Bard Music Festival always presents a wonderful overview of the work of the chosen composer. I’ve attended most of them and invariably enjoyed learning the range of that summer’s composer.

The August 12 opener, “Jean Sibelius: National Symbol, International Iconoclast,” was no different, and in addition, it offered an experience unique in the BMF annals, as I know them: an audience sing-along. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: Lowbrow at times, ‘Housewives’ still prepares tasty treat

The Real (Desperate) Housewives of Columbia County/ By Carl Ritchie and Wayne Moore/ Taconic Stage Company/ Copake Lake

CARL RITCHIE, WHO DIRECTS as well as authors, has gathered five great-looking broads (the cream of the singing actresses around here) and created a broadly sassy musical revue. He pumps up and affectionately satirizes their individual proclivities. If reality flags, he just piles on some outrageous fictional stuff.

These characters are all climbing up the hill but are not yet over it; and they probably won’t be until they have each reached 110. To audience-happy eyes, they all seem DNA- and/or surgeon-blessed. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: By remaining true to Bard, ‘Romeo’ production connects

Romeo and Juliet/ Shakespeare & Company/ Lenox, MA

IF, FROM HEAVEN, Shakespeare has been observing all the jerking around his scripts endure, he must now be smiling, sighing, and wafting hand-smooches toward his Mistress, director Daniela Varon.

Her invention is everywhere in Shakespeare & Company’s 2011 Romeo and Juliet; and all of it serves the word. Her direction is fresh with a kind of knowing modesty. Read more…

Two stories of fans view last Potter flick

CHATHAM — Witches and wizards lined up in front of the Crandell Theater at midnight on July 14. With wands and round glasses, adults and children waited for the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” The movie is the final film adaption of British author J.K Rowling’s bestselling series. Harry Potter books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

The second midnight showing of Harry Potter since the Crandell’s reopening in 2010 went off without a hitch. Tickets had been on sale for a week prior, in expectation of the large crowd the film would draw. Read more…