Jerry Shenk has watched a lot of performances of movies, opera, and live theater. He has reviewed quite a few movies on Madison television. He is also our favorite Actor’s Factory reviewer because he gets right to the point:
It is not just good youth theater, it’s good theater, period!
What a thrilling experience to see a youth theater that does not pander to its participants. Actors Factory is the real deal. In this company’s assured productions, the children’s acting is sensational, both technically proficient and emotionally true. And not just one or two leads, but the whole cast. Director Deanna Reed and her designers take their jobs seriously, and inspire these young people to do the same. Unlike other theater companies, I know that every time I go to see the Actors Factory I’m going to see something extraordinary.
We have no review to share for 2009, but we did receive a “noteworthy prop” mention by Christian Neuhaus in his 2009 year-in-review of Madison theater.
He praised the Vindaloo costume in The Great Vindaloo. He writes: “I assume this was part of Jeannette Marquess’ responsibilities as ‘Puppet Master’.” It was indeed her work (that’s her, below). And it was impressive, as you can see.
I didn’t know a thing about The Actor’s Factory until I found a brief description on MadStage.com. Oops! A “youth performance group.” Not my usual cup of tea, in fact something I usually avoid.
But she took a chance. Good thing too:
I enjoyed a terrific night of theater served up by a large, talented cast featuring a dozen teenagers and a ten-year old who, according to the playbill, has already earned his acting chops at Broom Street and the Bartell.
Our 2006 performance received a favorable review from Christian Neuhaus, who reviews for Dane101 (archived copy here). He agreed with our tag line: “vibrant and sophisticated theater for audiences of all ages.” He also praised Doug Reed, one of our regular writers, for the “imaginative piece” Bird’s Opening.
Christian made note of our ability to perform complex plays:
Doing an homage to seventies-era science fiction TV shows complete with a swaggering captain, a robot, credits, commercials and act titles is pretty bold for a production with a cast where no one was born before 1988, but the cast and crew do well with Rob Matsushita’s Joey Space, probably the most technically complex piece of the evening.
Finally, we appreciate Christian’s attention to our technical performance skills:
The cast does well with multiple roles and with accents, and should offer a workshop on how to do scene and intermission breaks.