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Two Rooms by Lee Blessing, directed by Brandon Walker, with The Seeing Place Theater

Reviews Off Broadway

Two Rooms, a 1988 play by Lee Blessings, is having a mesmerizing revival at The Seeing Place now… Lainie (an electric Alexandra Hellquist) has stripped one room to the bare walls, to mimic her husband’s imagined condition…  the heartbreak conveyed by Ms. Hellquist as Lainie is powerful in any era… They compose and read these letters mentally, speaking not at each other, but to their memories of each other.  Done poorly, this would be a terrible bit of schmaltz, but these two actors do it beautifully.  Never quite in sync, they are believable as a married couple, deeply in love, but forgetting details over time.  Ms. Hellquist and Mr. Keeler create a unique chemistry in these periods, remembering and loving a misty reflection of their partners –as the audience sees the partners in real time, striving for a connection that is just out of reach… Surprisingly, the longing, the helplessness and the frustration the characters must deal with, convinces the audience to enjoy everything life has to offer.

Talkin’ Broadway

Lee Blessing’s Two Rooms hits us directly in the heart. We are immediately pulled into the story of Michael and Lainie Wells… It is truly painful to watch Michael (Logan Keeler) and Lainie (Alexandra Hellquist) in their separate isolated spaces, trying to keep hope alive… these two clearly love one another and long for nothing other than to be reunited.”

Daily Actor

“…in a way, Hellquist’s Lainie is also blindfolded, handcuffed, and confined. She can’t see her husband, she can’t do anything to bring him back, and she refuses to leave the room that she feels the connection with him in. Hellquist makes this torment apparent without making it too obvious. Her character struggles – between hope and reality, optimism and pessimism, fear and desire – that it is doubtlessly emotionally draining. After seeing what her character goes through, I was glad to see a smile on Hellquist’s face once the play had ended because I could finally separate the actress from the devastated character.”

New York Theater Review

“…beautiful and emotionally brutal… an event unlike anything you’ve seen before… Despite dealing with a dark subject, Two Rooms shines with the hope that there is still beauty and goodness in the world. Two Rooms does reach ugly depths, but its ending is full of strange joy… something very special… Theater that provokes debate can be rare, but it’s thrilling when a theater company like this makes that leap with great skill.”

Stage Buddy

Two Rooms weaves some tender moments between the hostage and his wife between the realistic and often harsh diplomatic steps necessary in such situations… Both Keeler and Hellquist do a nice job of separating the drama of a hostage situation from everyday thoughts and feelings… Ultimately, it is Lainie who must make a very difficult decision. Contrasting with her tender moments with her husband, her harsh interaction with Walker and Ellen allows us to believe that she has the strength to make a choice. If you’re up for an evening of thought and debate interspersed with tenderness all portrayed by four excellent actors, see Two Rooms

The Why Overhead by Adam Szymkowicz, directed by Matthew J. Nichols, with Zootopia Theatre

The New York Theatre Review

“The two resident bros of the office, Alan (Scott Thomas) and Sid (Matthew Murumba) are constantly competing, especially over the affections of Jessica (Alexandra Hellquist), the hot girl one cubicle over who carries an umbrella everywhere because of her crippling fear of things falling on her head… Enjoyable from start to finish… The ensemble of The Why Overhead is full of the energy and quirkiness that this play requires. They absolutely understand Syzmkowicz’s style and they drive through the sometimes long lists present in the dialogue knowing that the success of the joke is that each moment in the speech is funnier that the one before.”

The New York Times

“Adam Szymkowicz’s office comedy The Why Overhead has some genuinely funny moments… When the whole cast joins [Karen] to sing and hoof a bit, the production both finds its feet and lifts off them.”

 Backstage

The Why Overhead entertains because of some fine and funny lines, delivered by director Matthew J. Nichols’ well-cast 12-member ensemble in bursts of inspired dialogue and in soaring, silly monologues that are near-poetic comic riffs, including Nigel talking about all the ways he is great (“I jumped out of airplanes; I drove a motorcycle; I am very hairy”) and Jessica remembering all the things that her brother dropped on her head when she was a child (“Gummi Bears, Ping-Pong balls, chocolate chips, our goldfish”). We even get a terrific song about hobos… Unlike the characters in the play – they [the cast] all work so well together.”

Theater Mania

“There is a nutty nobility at work in Adam Syzmkowicz’s new play, The Why Overheadengaging, silly fun with a satisfyingly intelligent underpinning.”

NYTheatre.com

“[A] charming and funny play. Credit to the brave actors to go out there and give it their all… They work and play well together. All these actors deserve credit for their skills in this production.”

News Blaze

“Zootopia Theatre Company presents weirdly fabulous The Why Overhead… The results are shocking and funny… Everyone seems to lack an emotional filter, as if they were voicing their thoughts, unaware that others could hear them. Their dialogue is spare, earnest and very dry.”


RadioTheatre presents: The Haunting of St. Marks’ Place
by Dan Bianchi, directed by Frank Zilinyi

Stage Buzz

“If there can be said to be a theatrical equivalent of sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories, it is RadioTheatre’s latest production, The Haunting of St. Mark’s Place.  Featuring the outstanding cast of Frank Zilinyi, R. Patrick Alberty, Alexandra Hellquist and Richard P. Butler, the production features all the things that you want out of a Halloween tale – supernatural visitors, spooky scenes, terrified screams, and enough creepiness to see you all the way to Halloween night… I have now seen four or so productions by this company, and continue to be impressed not only by the overall strength of the productions, but by the extremely talented cast and the well adapted plays.”

The L Magazine

“Radiotheatre expertly recreates the old-time aesthetic of the bygone medium for which it’s named while engaging the senses beyond the auditory… The show is self-aware without being apologetic or embarrassed—without hiding behind irony…. An exceptional cast.”

Theater for Nerds

“The horror isn’t a matter of blood and guts, but a more subtle fear of the unknown, and unexplained… Performances are excellent; Alexandra Hellquist hams it up as a preposterous maid in the humorous screaming skull segment, but also plays it straight as an exotic witch elsewhere, and makes a great scream queen for most of the other pieces.”


RadioTheatre Presents: The Naughty Victorians
by Dan Bianchi, directed by Frank Zilinyi

Backstage

“Claire Russell, Alexandra Hellquist, and Kayla Ferguson competently evoke under-ravaged British housewives, French schoolgirls in giggly lesbian ecstasy, and other variations on distaff innocence undone.”

Whack! Magazine

“Alexandra Hellquist and Kayla Ferguson both have moneymakers I’d love to see shaken and stirred… It’s not that listening to explicit stories about boarding school lesbian deflowerings, priests pleasuring themselves in the confessionals, spiritualist sisters who may or may not think jizz is ectoplasm, or French epicurean perversities isn’t fun. It is! It really is! And so is listening to the small cast as the reverse-charade orgasm after orgasm….  [I] was still laughing at the particularly punny bits right up to the end… it was cute, and it was funny.”


Butoh Electra
by Jordan Rosin, directed by Jordin Rosin, with The Ume Group at the NYC Fringe Festival

The Village Voice

“Rosin’s successful synthesis of classical Greek and Japanese traditions enriches the myth at the piece’s core, as do commanding, physically impressive performances from the Ume Group.”

NYTheatre.com

“What The Ume Group along with creator/director Jordan Rosin have produced is something very beautiful and disturbing. The ensemble works as a cohesive unit, possibly even an organism… Truly this is a movement piece and all the performers on stage are masters of it.”

CurtainUp

“A very muscular interpretation of the classic tragedy… briskly paced and movement-driven. And though it’s a bit rough around the theatrical edges, it manages to drive its points home through the strong physical acting of its 10-member ensemble… This visceral incarnation of Electra is not for purists or the faint-hearted. But adventurous theatergoers who like their Greek drama with a twist may enjoy Rosin’s new take on the old revenge tale.”


Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill!
by Patrick Harrison, with Depth Charge at La Mama ETC during the NYC Fringe Festival 

Backstage

“The precision of writer-director Patrick Harrison’s Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill! rarely fails to impress. He deploys a talented ensemble (sporting Kabuki whiteface) with skill… [in] such metaphorical sequences as a dream in which Hanada is devoured by his nymphomaniac wife (Alexandra Hellquist), who has turned into a giant winged insect.”

NYTheatre.com

Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill! is an immersive, inventive theatrical ride…often shifting from fast-paced battle sequences to slow-motion dreamscapes. The performers exceed expectations on both fronts, serving the play with committed, engaging, and fully realized performances… Depth Charge creates moments onstage unlike anything I’ve seen onstage recently. Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill! is a beast entirely unto itself, and my first must-see recommendation of the 2010 FringeNYC Festival.”

TimeOut NYC

“Smart! Funny! Entertaining… the surprise of the Fringe… experimental art theater done right… If you like the Wooster Group or Richard Foreman, you’ll like BBKKK.”

That Sounds Cool

“The show is disturbingly erotic, too: Hanada (Harrison) has a boiled-rice fetish, and we see his wife, Mami (Alexandra Hellquist), tease him into violence with it…  when Mami mounts Hanada, wearing a butterfly mask and silhouetted in red light, the emotions are raw and very real. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being “Dis-u-grace-u-ful” and 5 being “The #1 killer,” Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill! gets a 4.5.” 

New York Theatre Review

“Depth Charge scores a hit in Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill!… [the play] centers around Hanada, a yakuza with a penchant for the smell of boiled rice, which sends him into an erotic frenzy, pawing his giggly wife Mami.”

Stage Buzz

 “An excellent ensemble of actors. From meticulously presented fight scenes of expressionistic proportions to a mouthful of paper butterflies, the movement and imagery of the piece is superbly timed, keeping a fervent pace throughout gunfights, maintaining suspense during dialogue, and allowing the mind to settle into scenes of psychedelic interlude…. This is a must-see show.”


Death Valley
 by Adam Mazer, directed by Dan Rogers, at the Bushwick Starr with AntiMatter Collective.

NYTimes

“Staged with verve and even a touch of menance… Around half the cast members double as zombies, and they stumble, groan and attack quite nicely.”

Backstage Critic’s Pick

“Thanks to a cunning transposition of genre conventions, the Western-zombie mash-up Death Valley written and fight directed by Adam Scott Mazer, comes off tighter than Dick’s hatband… makeup designer Alexandra Hellquist works wonders”

Flavorpill Editor Pick

“Alexandra Hellquist’s makeup bring[s zombies] to icky stage life….The members of AntiMatter Collective are fantastic as both the living and undead.”

NYTheatre.com

“This story is a refreshing spin on both zombie flicks and westerns. The cast and crew put their heart into it…at least someone’s heart sprayed blood all over the people in the front row, which was greeted with applause… Alexandra Hellquist and Stephanie Cox-Williams have done a hell of a job on makeup and gore, respectively.”

Theatre is Easy

“A play that blends the classic zombie and western genres into an entertaining and clever stage production. The ensemble (Alexandra Hellquist, Kyle Page, Josh Payne, Bryce Henry, Caroline Bloom and Caitlin Johnson) also deliver fantastic performances as the horde of zombies.”


Corner Pocket by Andy James Hoover, directed by Bridget Durkin, with Extant Arts

Arts and Leisure News

A night of fun-filled silliness, mystery and drama….Manayunk, a champion pool shark in life, [is] planning to avenge her own death.  The object of her scorn is Tessa Chin (Alexandra Hellquist), a pool playing rival and mistress of her husband, Glen (James Liebman)…  the show is an amusing, worthwhile trip… All characters balance one another leading to fluid interactions and the lighting, action and sound effects work to bring the production alive while exploring death.

 Joonbug

I was completely entertained throughout the whole show… This show touches upon basic human instincts — jealousy, lust, love, revenge…. All the parts are well cast and each actor/actress portrays their role with enthusiasm.