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This week, City Paper‘s dogged critics spent time at cinemas, theaters, and galleries to scope out and review the latest and greatest (or worst!) that D.C.’s arts have to offer. As Halloween approaches, it seems as though the District’s arts scene is channeling their inner evil, especially at the theater, where Chris Klimek reviewed two plays that tap into to the darkness of the human psyche.
First up is Keegan Theatre’s production of The Magic Tree, which follows what happens when a man and a woman end up stranded together in an abandoned home on a stormy night. Spoiler: It gets dark. Klimek praised the acting in the feature but ultimately said the play “is why you have so much trouble persuading your theater-agnostic friends to give it a try.” Klimek also reviewed the sixpack of Lovecraftian chillers in Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite. It’s certainly a must-see for any Lovecraft enthusiast, but it’s otherwise “an uneven but enjoyable” collection of some of his more theatrical stories.
The must-see play of the weekend, however, is the Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Salomé, which Rebecca Ritzel says is a standout of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, and “so convincing is the theatermaking in Salomé, you may leave converting into thinking that while well behaved women rarely make history, it takes a revisionist woman playwright and director to set history straight.”
Meanwhile, at the cinema, we have Noah Gittell and Tricia Olszewski on a pair of films about iconic men caught up in controversy. James Vanderbilt‘s Truth is about the Killian documents controversy and the last days of news anchor Dan Rather‘s career. Unfortunately, as Gittell writes, “although the film seeks to reclaim Rather from disgrace and rewrite history for the liberals, it leaves far too many holes in its argument to ever actually persuade.” Tab Hunter Confidential, on the other hand, is a far more worthwhile investment of your time and money. The documentary about former Hollywood golden boy Tab Hunter—and how he hid his sexuality from the public eye for many years—”checks off all the boxes that make a typical documentary,” but is ultimately a candid and enjoyable doc “that feels less like a hagiography and more like your grandpa telling stories about the good ol’ days.”
Finally, this week’s gallery review by Elena Goukassian makes a compelling case for you to visit the Otis Street Arts Project in Hyattsville. In the “CO-EXIST,” three artists—Eric Celarier, Glenn Richardson, and Albert Schweitzer—presents work that “elicits a sense of wonder” through using unconventional materials in a bold and brazen way.
Handout photo by Scott Suchman