Film & Theater Reviews

Sundance Film Review: The Courier AKA Ironbark

The audience shifted nervously in their seats as mushroom clouds blossomed and Cold War events unfolded in Dominic Cooke’s Ironbark. Based on true events, it made its world premiere this week at Sundance 2020. Ironbark is the codename for historical Soviet agent Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), one of the most prolific and important U.S. informants in history. Penkovsky passed over 5,000 photographs of classified military, political and economic documents to British and U.S. intelligence forces.

Sundance Film Review: Luxor

The synopsis of Zeina Durra’s Luxor sounds more like a genre-typical travel romance than what’s delivered. Luxor is closer to a quiet, art-house character study. The protagonist, Hana (Andrea Riseborough), is a doctor on leave from treating Syrian war victims in a clinic on the Jordanian-Syrian border. After meeting locals she knew when she was younger and living in the city, she runs into a former flame, archeologist Sultan (Karim Saleh), and the romance starts up again.

Brine Shrimp Finally Get Their Day in the Spotlight at Plan-B Theatre

Whether you’re a Utah native traveling abroad or a happy transplant trying to explain the subtle but omnipresent cultural quirks of the state, it sometimes feels like the rest of the country is glad to be totally ignorant about Utah. Playwright Jenny Kokai’s Singing to the Brine Shrimp takes on the theme of getting used to a new culture and developing pride in the oddities of the place you call home with music, jokes, and delightfully wise and sarcastic brine shrimp. Opening Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Plan-B Theatre, this production is a light and entertaining jaunt through a playwright’s quest to finish her script and discover how she fits into the wider theater world as a working artist who calls Utah home.

To Marry or Not to Marry? “A Doll’s House, Part 2” at Salt Lake Acting Company

Politics and religion are topics to avoid during polite conversation, but today, most would also add marriage to the list. Before the middle of the last century, marriage was an assumed part of life after a certain age, but now, depending on your generation, there’s a broad spectrum of opinions on the matter. A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, a modern sequel to A Doll’s House by celebrated 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, explores multiple viewpoints on marriage through three female protagonists.

Singing with the Brine Shrimp’s World Premiere Is a Perfect Balance of Salty and Sweet – Artists of Utah's 15 Bytes

The world premiere of playwright Jenny Kokai’s and director Jason Bowcutt’s Singing to the Brine Shrimp (at Plan-B Theatre through February 23) gives the Salt Lake City public a funny and insightful look at belonging, culture shock, and silliness in the art world (for more about the play, see our preview here). The diverse and almost-all female cast and crew make refreshing decisions about the set, costume design, sound design, and acting.

Saying “No” to Big Real Estate to Save the Utah People’s Pantages Theatre

What if I told you that you could buy one of the most opulent, historic theatres in the country—built in 1918 and containing a pristine Tiffany skylight, intricate chandeliers and other unique architectural features—for $0? The theater in question is located in downtown Salt Lake City, but unfortunately, the opportunity to buy and renovate the Utah Pantages Theatre was not given to the public or even the wider real estate developer community in general, says Michael Valentine...

Explore Salt Lake’s Diverse and Vibrant Theater Arts Scene

The lights go on, the curtains part and the stage floods with sound—the experience of live theater is brighter than ever before. A spotlight is on the Utah theater scene, with local playwrights and performers eager to step onstage for an expanding audience in several new venues. Award-winning and veteran storytellers at the Salt Lake Acting Company and Plan-B Theatre Company reflect on the human experience and shed light on important social topics. The Off Broadway Theatre helps audiences laugh their troubles away with witty parodies and live improv. The Hale Centre Theatre, meanwhile, serves big and beloved Broadway hits like Les Misérables and Guys and Dolls for fans of all ages. These four theaters showcase the diverse magic of the local theater scene with a uniquely Utah flavor.