Best of Dallas 2015 Guide : Page 42

dallasobserver.com Best Small Theater Troupe Theatre Britain Founder and director Sue Birch’s small pro-fessional company in Plano keeps the ac-cent on all things English in seasons packed with murder mysteries, farces and tradi-tional holiday “pantos.” Production quality is consistently tickety-boo (as Brits would say), with fairy-tale panto shows designed like storybooks come to life (and scripts de-signed to make adults giggle, too). You’ll find authentic English snackies at intermis-sion (try the prawn crisps). Shows fre-quently sell out. “I see a great deal of affection for all things British,” says Birch. Alan Ayckbourn’s saucy comedy How the Other Half Loves is playing through October 4. The next panto is King Arthur , opening November 28. Cox Building Playhouse, 1517 H Ave., Plano, 972-490-4202, theatre-britain.com Best Storyteller RAwLINS GILLILAND Best Dallas Fashion Designer Charles Smith II Charles Smith II has whatever “it” is, and it’s brought him success in the realms of basketball, modeling and now fashion de-sign. The New York-born designer moved to Dallas to play basketball at Lincoln High School and his skills on the court got him scouted by the NBA. Even now that he’s switched tracks to fashion, with a degree from the Art Institute of Dallas, he has no intention of fleeing to his much more fash-ion-oriented hometown; Smith is deter-mined to influence Dallas’ high fashion scene for the better. His signature aesthetic is gothic (imagine what a bagpipe-playing motorcycle gang might wear), featuring a lot of black and white, leathers and zippers. He’s put out a couple of high-end couture lines, but recently launched a more afford-able ready-to-wear line, S2. You can pur-chase his wares online now, but look for them in brick and mortar stores in Dallas soon. smiththesecond.com dallasobserver.com SHOPPING/SERVICES | Contents | the thread | Unfair Park | sChUtze | featUre | night+day | CUltUre | Movies | stage | dish | MUsiC | Classified | CULTURE/PEOPLE | | Best Local Playwright Jeff Swearingen He often starts with a title: A School Bus Named Desire . Then writer-director Jeff Swearingen creates an ingenious homage to the original play, but with the twist of using children and teens as characters. As the co-founder and director of all-youth Fun House Theatre and Film, Swearingen has wowed critics and audiences with his smart Mamet spoof, Daffodil Girls (a Glengarry satire about the cutthroat world of Scout cookie sales); his holiday-themed take on Albee called Yes, Vir-ginia Woolf, There Is a Santa Claus ; and the pie-throwing Game of Thrones, Jr. His best might be Stiff , a showbiz farce that had a Sweet Smell of Success in its plot about a the-ater critic whose untimely death threatens an opening night. If one of Swearingen’s brilliant little comedies-with-kids is opening, we’re there. Fun House Theatre and Film, 1301 Custer Road, Plano, 972-357-5092, funhousetheatreandfilm.com FOOD/DRINK Best First Date Activity Voodoo Chile They say questions such as “Do you like scary movies?” can be high predictors of compatibility. We just skip the cutesy small-talk and take dates to Voodoo Chile, a re-cord/art/vintage clothing/glass pipe/gift shop in a red one-story house off Lower Greenville. It’s a bastion of character and weirdness. And Voodoo Chile has plenty in common with scary movies anyway. Art by mysterious owner Jimi Fukushita is laden with creepy, provocative imagery and the shop stocks a bunch of books about the Third Reich. You can learn a lot about a date just by asking, “Have you read Mein Kampf ?” 5643 Bell Ave., 214-752-0266 SPORTS/RECREACTION | NIGHTLIFE/MUSIC | Can Turkyilmaz Best Scenester Scenic designer Rodney Dobbs Theatrical set designer Rodney Dobbs regu-larly makes something out of nothing. Start-ing with a bare stage, with some plywood, paint and lots of imagination, he can re-create 1960s Southern suburbia, as he did for the play Mississippi Goddamn , or go multilevel with fancy staircases and video screens for Uptown Players’ glossy musical Catch Me If You Can . As a founder of low-budget Pocket Sandwich Theatre, Dobbs learned how to stretch a dollar while making visual magic. And he’s used to backstage hazards. “It’s not a finished set,” he says, “until I’ve bled on it.” DALLAS OBSERVER Best Theater Director vickie washington With this season’s world premiere of Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton’s moving drama Mississippi Goddamn , vickie washington (she likes it lower case) reminded us that she’s one of the finest stage directors in North Texas. Expert at bringing new works like Norton’s to stages at South Dallas Cultural Center, Jubi-lee Theatre and in her day job at Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts, washington says the future of Dallas theater is secure because there’s so much talent here. Her group Reading the Writers is focused on “finding pieces that aren’t on the beaten path and bringing them to life,” she says. Sounds like a move in the right direction. Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive, 800-617-6904, festivalofindependenttheatres.com dreamlike new mini-musical Decline of Bal-looning , DGDG’s all-male dances-with-text Show about Men and WingSpan’s lovely Shoe Confessions . Sold-out houses and big crowds at the after-show cabarets mean FIT has a fol-lowing that’ll keep it flying for years to come. Best New Festival Dallas Medianale Dallas Medianale is the experimental film festival you didn’t know you wanted to go to until you did. In February, the Video Associ-ation of Dallas took over The McKinney Av-enue Contemporary to curate a month of film screenings, video art installations and intermedia performances, which included internationally renowned video artists such as Bruce Nauman. Chicago-based duo Cracked Ray Tube gave a performance in which they manipulated video and audio on stacks of old TVs and computer monitors. We’re all so accustomed to screens these days that video art seems more accessible than ever, and the diversity and enthusiasm of attendees throughout the festival con-firmed it. Dallas Medianale will return bien-nially, so put it on your calendar for Spring 2017. videofest.org/dallas-medianale DALLAS OBSERVER Best Moment on Dallas Before It Got Canceled Again Dallas the cable reboot got the boot this year after just two seasons, but dang, it had some dandy moments, even if the scripts about Alaskan fracking contracts and Mexican drug cartels were dumb. The addition of Emmy and Tony-winning actress Judith Light gave the TNT series a temporary boost of high drama. Playing evil brothel owner Judith Ry-land, Light found the creamy nougat center of every scene she chewed up. The best single moment of the new Dallas had her sidling up to a handsome cowboy, sniffing a fat line of coke off his meaty hand and pausing to let it burn down her throat before she growled, “Mama like.” Oh, Judith, you were the new J.R. and we liked you, Mama. M onth XX–M onth XX, 2014 S eptember 24-30, 2015 Best Theater Festival Festival of Independent Theatres The four-week summer round-up of one-hour shows by small local companies bounced back in a big way this year. Produc-ing presenter David Meglino chose eight di-verse productions filled with energetic talent eager to introduce audiences to fresh pieces of live theater. Top draws were The In-Laws’ Readers’ Pick: Matthew Posey 42 Ochre House, 825 Exposition Ave., 214-826-6273 ochrehousetheater.org 3

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here