Tipping Point: Our picks and pans
Providence Performing Arts Center, April 11-23
Alexander Hamilton got his updated hip-hop musical, so why shouldn’t Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives get a pop-star revival? “Six” — which is now on a national tour — does the honors, in a rock-concert format with each wife getting to step to the front and sing the heck out of a number. The concept is they are trying to one-up each other to see who earns the right to be their vocal group’s lead singer. A slight concept, but it hardly matters since the characters, performances and, most of all, the music are such fun. (The show is created by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow.) And it offers lots of girl-power moments. I saw “Six” at The Bushnell in Hartford, but the national tour is coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, R.I., in April. Oh, and note that “Six” runs 80 minutes with no intermission.
— Kristina Dorsey
The Inspector Bank series
Many of you know I’m an avid fan of crime fiction in all its forms. Have been, in fact, since Frank and Joe Hardy entered my universe in elementary school — shortly after I learned the words “sleuth,” “mystery” and “some delinquent pilfered our chum Tony Prito’s jalopy!” I was embarrassed, then, to recently learn from a friend about all 28 books by Peter Robinson in his award-winning, literate and absolutely riveting Inspector Alan Banks series. The hero is indeed an all-too-human and wonderful character – surrounded by plenty of excellent support folks – solving crimes in the Yorkshire Dales section of northern England. How the hell did I miss these books? The good news? I’ve read four since Christmas and, though Robinson tragically died last fall, there are still 24 more to go.
— Rick Koster
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
This really is Jessica Chastain’s movie — and not just because she won an Oscar for it. She holds the center of it all with a portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker that captures all over her over-the-top-ness — her garish makeup, her persistent giggle, her helium voice — but also the optimistic soul underneath. The film directed by Michael Showalter and inspired by the documentary of the same name follows Tammy Faye as she meets future televangelist Jim Bakker and they build their PTL Club Empire … which then crumbles under an avalanche of financial misappropriation and sexual impropriety allegations. Chastain has a tremendous partner in Andrew Garfield as Jim; they chart a believable path from giddy young lovers to disenchanted long-marrieds. The movie has a comic edge and a real affection for Tammy Faye. But its willingness to let her off the hook in terms of the most pertinent question — Was Tammy Faye a victim? An accomplice? Should we hold her accountable? — is disappointing.
— Kristina Dorsey
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