Austin Theater Review
Keeping your finger on the pulse of Performance Theater in Austin, Texas.
Killer Joe

Hyde Park Theatre

8:00 P.M. Thursday-Saturdays, June4th-June 27th

Review By: Sean Fuentes

Do you actually ever find love or does love find you? As some sail through the ocean of their lives love pulls them into a situation that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but ends in a love that is pure. Such is the case with “Killer Joe”, a very dark comedy, written by Tracy Letts and directed by Mark Pickell, of Capital T Theatre. Set in a place that most have either driven by or heard of, a place where a dog named “T-bone” can be seen sitting in a dirt hole sucking on pizza crusts and chicken bones amongst broke down rusty old cars, spilled oil, and beer cans, a place affectionately known as the trailer park. “Killer Joe” is a story about love, but this love, unlike so many other loves, doesn’t come wrapped up in the pretty package with a bright red bow waiting for two love birds to open it up and find that what’s inside is their hearts desire. Oh no no…this love is a love spawn from a womb of lies, deceit, death, and greed.

Kenneth Wayne Bradley plays Killer Joe Cooper a full time detective and a part time assassin who plays the game of murder with a cunning sense of dignity, professionalism and the ruthlessness of a blood starved serial killer. Bradley’s stunning Jekyll and Hyde performance will leave you twisted between the good’ol’boy just doing his job and the face of death who will dismember anything to be compensated for services rendered. Dottie Smith, played by Melissa Recalde, provides the innocence of the play. Dottie is disconnected in a lot of ways, and rightfully so, being almost murdered by her mother as an infant and sexually abused at age 12 she has a lot to forget. Recalde plays Dottie beautifully, moving in and out of reality seamlessly with a grace and style that will keep you emotionally invested in the moment.


Joey Hood plays Chris Smith, a conniving hick and the product of a teenage affair that has been determined to be an “accident” by all parties involved. Chris is the catalyst and the brain trust behind the idea of murdering his mother to claim the “accidental” death money from an insurance policy. Hood brings this character to life with a zest that will make you say to yourself “I don’t like him”, and as well you should, what kind of person plots to have their own mother murdered to collect insurance money, I’ll tell you who.. a hick with no way out. Chris is not alone in his plot to destroy any moral values he has left, he run’s this brilliant idea past his father Ansel Smith, played by Joe Reynolds, and his step mother Sharla Smith, played by Katie DeBuys. It doesn’t take long for Ansel and Sharla to see the silver lining of murdering Ansel’s ex-wife for the cash. Reynolds Ansel is both charming and cowardly as he is the “man of the house” and is “calling the shots”. Reynolds exquisite timing in dropping every punch line will have you bursting out with laugher. Debuys Sharla is sexy, hateful and is your prototypical trailer park prom queen. Debuys brings a clear sense of honest deceit in her depiction of Sharla and will have you feeling sorry for her when the hammer drops.


After the show I had a chance to speak with audience members as well as the actors themselves and the common theme coursing through the air of conversation was the cohesiveness of the cast. Mark Pickell has brought together a group of talented actors and put them in position to give everything they have to their characters, but has directed them in such a way that all complement each other by none giving too much nor too little. “Killer Joe” takes you on a tumultous thrill ride through the under belly of one of Americas most stereo typed settings and delivers everything from hysterical punch lines to emotionally crippling fight scenes. Some might say that this show is not for everyone, but I disagree, this show is for anyone who believes everyone deserves a chance at love, even from the depths of the trailer park.

"Killer Joe"

A very dark comedy by: Tracy Letts

June 4th - 27th

Hyde Park Theatre




Review By: Sean Fuentes

A Reimagining of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters


8:00 P.M. - June 7th, 14th, and 21st

Presented at Uptown Modern 5453 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas, in the Courtyard Shops.

For Tickets Call 512-452-1200 Code word “Olga” Sliding scale: $5, $15, $20

Email for

additional inquiries


Have you ever left a theatre performance wanting more?  Well if you have you are not alone because Second Hand Theatre has been burning to give you more and have done so by breaking new ground in how theatre is viewed and performed. Creating a theatre experience that includes audience participation and a stage that actors and audience alike blend into. Rooms: A Reimagining of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters gives you all that and a little bit more.

In The Three Sisters Natasha, played by Lesley Gurule, Masha, played by Kate deBuys, and Irina, played by Marlane Barnes, find themselves in a Russian provincial town a year after their father, an officer in the army has passed away. Life is miserable for our three heroines and all three long for their home town of Moscow.  Throughout the play Chekhov has given the sisters, as well as Tom Truss’s Vershinin and Smaranda Ciceu’s Solyony, a lot to say to each other but has determined that the characters hold their tongues and not discuss the pain they feel inside. It is these very situations where Second Hand Theatre is Reimagining the play by writing new acts that bring these characters together to interact with each other and confront the dysfunction that hunts them.

The audience is in close quarters with the actors for the entire play. Unlike traditional stage seating where you would have a single view of the stage. The audience is thrust into the play itself and is actually in the room when Vershinin is compeled to deal with the loss of love he and with his wife Eve, played by Melissa Recalde are facing. You are also taken into the house of Prozorov as sisters Natasha and Masha quarrel over the right to one’s own happiness. Along the way you will actually get to meet the characters as well, and I don’t mean the actors playing the characters, I mean the characters will welcome you to the house of Prozorov and speak to you as if you are a character in the play.

The skill level of the actors is high and the performance is solid, which is something to be expected, as all of the actors are part of the MFA University of Texas class of 2010. If you are looking for a new theatre experience paired with imaginatively smooth writing you have found it. Rooms: A Reimagining of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters will keep you on your toes and fulfill your need for more. Big thank you goes out to thee people.

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A Musical Comedy

The City Theatre

June 11 – July 5. Thurs. – Sat. at 8:00 and Sun. 5:30.
For Tickets and reservations Call 512-524-2870 or e-mail

Review By: Sean Fuentes


From the very beginning the Little Sisters of Hoboken have overcome mishaps that have been tossed in their way.  In fact the Little Sisters of Hoboken originally should have been the Little Sisters of Cleveland, with dreams of expanding the order to Cleveland via England the sisters got off the plane in Newark by mistake and never quite made it to Cleveland. Today is no different as Sister Julia, Child of God has accidentally poisoned fifty-two of sisters, may they all rest in peace, and it is up to the remaining five sisters to figure out how to bury all fifty-two sisters! What better way to raise the funds than with a talent show fundraiser.


As the show begins the cast hits you with two little numbers, “Nunsence is Habit-Forming” and “A Difficult Transition”, both scratch the surface of the powerful voices, technical choreography, and precise execution that can be experienced throughout the entire performance. Reverend Mother, Sister Mary Regina, played by Melita McAtee, is hilarious and firm at the same time. McAtee’s Reverend Mother has seen it all and there is nothing she can’t handle, except her passed, which she reveals in a solo called “Turn Up the Spotlight” where she describes her family’s history as well as her hidden passion for the spotlight. The Reverend Mother’s right hand Nun, Sister Mary Hubert played by Dorothy Mays Clark, does everything by the book, and is in charge of training new recruits. Clark’s Mary Hubert flexes her soulful voice and “gentle but firm” attitude in “The Biggest Ain’t the Best” and “Holier Than Thou”. McAtee and Clark complement each other and the rest of the cast in delivering gut splitting punch lines as well as giving solid acting and dancing performances.


Sister Mary Leo, played by Glenna Bowman, is the quite one of the group. But don’t let the quite facade fool you as Bowman pares her smoothly gentle singing voice with graceful dace steps in the performance of “Benedicite”. Bowman, along with Clark, McAtee, and Sister Mary Amnesia played by Michelle Cheney, leads the way in “Lilacs Bring Back Memories” a gorgeous song that takes the characters back in time to experiences before they devoted their lives to god. Cheney’s Sister Mary Amnesia is a delight to watch as she is constantly being directed by her fellow nuns. Cheney’s operatic voice is put on display throughout the performance but most noticeably in “Tackle That Temptation with a Time Step”. Cheney also delivers the goods as she blows the audience up in laughter with her ventriloquism skills and a short quiz the audience is asked to participate in. Jennifer Coy plays Sister Robert Anne who is the kid from the streets, the streets Brooklyn that is. Coy’s Brooklyn accent hits the mark and will have you believing she is not acting. Coy takes center stage with a spectacular performance of “I Just Want to Be a Star” where Coy proves her voice can open and close the show with tremendous power and tenacity.


The multitalented performers singing, acting and dancing combined with a great musical score will keep a smile on your face the whole way through. If you have never attended a performance at the City Theatre you will be taken in by the eclectic style and great acoustic sound. Directed by Andy Berkovsky with music and lyrics by Dan Goggin and live accompaniments by Betty Lin on piano and Anthony Ortega on drums, “Nunsence” is a complete hit!

Next up:

TOUCH - by Toni Press-Coffman. June 18, 2009
Produced by the
The Vestige Group. Check out the youtube add for the premier of "TOUCH"!


For more upcoming reviews check out our News and Events page.



Past Reviews:

Arthuriosis, A Metal Opera

Romeo & Juliet

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