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Jay Irwin

Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting works.  


Instituting a new three letter rating system for my reviews for 2014.  They'll range from best to worst as WOW (A can’t miss), YAY (Too damn good), MEH+ (Good, with some great things going for it), MEH (Just OK), NAH (You can miss this one) and WTF (I think you can figure out my complex code there).


Jay is also an actor in the local Seattle scene.  Follow me on Twitter @SeattleBdwyGeek

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Take a Road Trip to Sweet Hilarity in Book-It's THE DOG OF THE SOUTHBWW Reviews: Road Trip to Sweet Hilarity in Book-It’s DOG OF THE SOUTH
Posted: Feb. 16, 2015


BWW Reviews: Bro-tastic MATT & BEN from STAGErightBWW Reviews: Bro-tastic MATT & BEN from STAGEright
Posted: Feb. 16, 2015


BWW Reviews: Paramount's Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely NightBWW Reviews: Paramount’s Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely Night
Posted: Feb. 25, 2015


BWW Reviews: SMT's SWEET CHARITY Fails to Engage With Its StoryBWW Reviews: SMT’s SWEET CHARITY Fails to Engage With Its Story
Posted: Feb. 22, 2015


BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More SnowBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More Snow
Posted: Feb. 23, 2015


BWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels AnticlimacticBWW Reviews: ACT’s SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels Anticlimactic
Posted: Feb. 27, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: MARY POPPINS Not Quite So Magical at VillageBWW Reviews: MARY POPPINS Not Quite So Magical at Village
Posted: Nov. 14, 2014


BWW Reviews: Balagan's ERNEST SHACKLETON Has Come to Rescue Us from the OrdinaryBWW Reviews: Balagan's ERNEST SHACKLETON Has Come to Rescue Us from the Ordinary
Posted: Apr. 20, 2014


BWW 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2014 Seattle Critic’s Choice Awards (Jay’s Picks)
Posted: Jan. 8, 2015


BWW Interviews: Interview with Former Balagan Executive Director Jake Groshong on the Closing of BalaganBWW Interviews: Interview with Former Balagan Executive Director Jake Groshong
Posted: Sep. 29, 2014


BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's A CHRISTMAS STORY Comes Home to Find Its HeartBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue’s A CHRISTMAS STORY Comes Home to Find Its Heart
Posted: Dec. 5, 2014


BWW Reviews: PASSING STRANGE from Sidecountry Delivers the Poetic Beauty of a Rock and Roll LifeBWW Reviews: PASSING STRANGE from Sidecountry Delivers the Poetic Beauty of a Rock and Roll Life
Posted: Jun. 14, 2014


BWW Reviews: Arouet Gets Bleak with NINE and THE LONG ROADBWW Reviews: Arouet Gets Bleak with NINE and THE LONG ROAD
March 1, 2015

Arouet is currently presenting two very dark and bleak one act plays with "Nine" and "The Long Road". Now don't get me wrong. Bleak and dark can work as long as they engage and don't preach. Unfortunately only one of these plays somewhat manages that. But we'll get to that in a minute.
BWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels AnticlimacticBWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels Anticlimactic
February 27, 2015

There are two main problems with doing a show about therapy, such as ACT's world premiere of "Seven Ways to Get There" currently playing. First, that someone else's therapy on stage can be good for the author but often times deadly for the audience. Luckily Bryan Willis and Dwayne J. Clark's new play avoids that trap. But the larger trap is that therapy doesn't really have a definite ending so you either portray an unrealistic look at the world of therapy or, as is the case here, the play just kind of ends as the people involved with the therapy continue onward working on their issues. And while the show definitely has engaging characters and performances, that lack of closure and finality for the audience doesn't work out so well theatrically.
BWW Reviews: Paramount's Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely NightBWW Reviews: Paramount's Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely Night
February 25, 2015

Sometimes a little retooling and freshening up of an old classic isn't such a bad thing. I mean I was a little dubious when I heard they were remounting the classic of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" especially when I heard it was getting an all new book. But the tour of this new version still keeps all the magic and charm alive while adding in some humor and elements that just make the characters all the more rich and engaging.
BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More SnowBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More Snow
February 23, 2015

If you read my previous review, Dear Readers, of SMT's production of "Sweet Charity" you'll know that I already had the occasion this weekend of a show where the leading lady just didn't connect for me. Well, that seems to be a trend as the 5th Avenue Theatre's current production of "Carousel" also had a leading lady who was lacking. There's plenty of good things happening in the show but their Julie Jordan (Laura Griffith) came across as emotionless and stone faced making me wonder why or even if she was falling in love.
BWW Reviews: SMT's SWEET CHARITY Fails to Engage With Its StoryBWW Reviews: SMT's SWEET CHARITY Fails to Engage With Its Story
February 22, 2015

Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon's "Sweet Charity", currently playing at Seattle Musical Theatre, is not a perfect musical. There's plenty that it has going for it but it's loaded with plenty of extraneous things as well. The story is fairly depressing, the book is too wordy and there are some songs that just plain don't need to be there. So in order to get it to engage it has to be done just right. Well, unfortunately I still haven't seen a production that was there.
BWW Reviews: Bro-tastic MATT & BEN from STAGErightBWW Reviews: Bro-tastic MATT & BEN from STAGEright
February 16, 2015

Hollywood icons Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been the butt of many jokes ever since they burst on the scene after winning the Oscar for writing "Good Will Hunting". And one of the high points of that adoring mockery had to be when Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers took it upon themselves to portray their version of the boys' origin story in their hilarious send up "Matt & Ben". And STAGEright's current production also shows respect for the duo even as it pokes fun at them.
BWW Reviews: Take a Road Trip to Sweet Hilarity in Book-It's THE DOG OF THE SOUTHBWW Reviews: Take a Road Trip to Sweet Hilarity in Book-It's THE DOG OF THE SOUTH
February 16, 2015

Buckle your seat belts as Book-It Repertory Theatre is about to take you to funnytown with the world premiere of their adaptation of Charles Portis's "The Dog of the South". And with its stellar cast and charm and sweetness for days, this is one road trip you don't want to miss.
BWW Reviews: A Quiet Grace in Rep's DEAR ELIZABETHBWW Reviews: A Quiet Grace in Rep's DEAR ELIZABETH
February 12, 2015

Every now and again it's nice to have an evening with a quiet little play such as the Seattle Rep's current offering of "Dear Elizabeth". A play with no grand reveal, or overarching conflict to resolve. Just a simple story about a relationship. That may sound uninteresting and it could be but in the hands of a very gifted playwright and talented cast and crew this quiet tale still packs a punch.
BWW Reviews: A Nostalgic Resonance in Strawshop's OUR TOWNBWW Reviews: A Nostalgic Resonance in Strawshop's OUR TOWN
February 6, 2015

There are some plays that are just kind of done to death. Everyone and their brother, high school and dog have done them. Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" is one of those shows. But there's a reason for that, it's a classic. And when these classics are tackled with style and heart as is the case with the current production from Strawberry Theatre Workshop, we're reminded how they've become such classics and why we should pay attention to what they still have to tell us.
BWW Reviews: Seagull Project's THREE SISTERS is So Good it HurtsBWW Reviews: Seagull Project's THREE SISTERS is So Good it Hurts
February 2, 2015

Every season productions come along that are so good that they remind me why us theater folk perform, produce and see theater. Personally, these are the shows that recharge my theatrical batteries so I can sit through the not so great ones (I'm looking at you "Flashdance: The Musical"). Such a show is the latest installment from The Seagull Project, Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" which manages such clarity of story, intent and meaning that you can practically feel the pain and frustration in the character's lives along with them.
BWW Reviews: A Winning Sweetness in SPT's HUMBLE BOYBWW Reviews: A Winning Sweetness in SPT's HUMBLE BOY
February 1, 2015

Charlotte Jones' "Humble Boy", currently playing at Seattle Public Theater, may not rock your world or alter your perceptions on life or anything like that but this sweet family dramedy has plenty of charm and humor. True it's a bit long winded at times but with such engaging performances and interesting characters, you can get over that and still walk away with a contented little sigh.
BWW Reviews: Cirque's KURIOS Brings Magic and Wonder to MarymoorBWW Reviews: Cirque's KURIOS Brings Magic and Wonder to Marymoor
January 30, 2015

Get ready to let your inner kid loose in the circus while the adult in you marvels at the death defying feats as you take in the wonder that is "Cirque du Soleil: Kurios". And while the cohesive story of it all wasn't the most solid, the acts involved more than make up for it as they fly, contort and swing in super human ways.
BWW Reviews: Village's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS Fails to ThrillBWW Reviews: Village's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS Fails to Thrill
January 26, 2015

A series of journal entries may work well as a literary device but as a theatrical endeavor it tends to fall flat. Unfortunately, Village Theatre's current stage interpretation of Jules Verne's famous novel "Around the World in 80 Days" falls into the latter category as the storytelling gets itself mired in such a passive voice that it just wasn't very interesting.
BWW Reviews: Thought Provoking A DELICATE BALANCE from Theatre 9/12BWW Reviews: Thought Provoking A DELICATE BALANCE from Theatre 9/12
January 26, 2015

Here in Seattle we are blessed with a ton of theatrical choices. I mean of course there are the big boys, the Rep, ACT, 5th Ave, etc. But we also have those small companies that may not have the funds for a helicopter to land on stage but instead invest their time and tiny amounts of money into turning in some thoughtful and engaging performances. One such company is Theatre 9/12. They perform in a church and I'm sure most of the set is borrowed but their level of theatrical craftsmanship is right up there with the best as is evident in their current production of Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" with its solid performances that will stay with you all night long.
BWW Reviews: Rep's PIANO LESSON Alive with Heart and SoulBWW Reviews: Rep's PIANO LESSON Alive with Heart and Soul
January 22, 2015

The Seattle Rep continues their long standing relationship with the works of one of America's greatest playwrights with their current production of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson". As usual the show comes alive with a rich and stirring history only made more poignant through the stunning direction and performances.
BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING  They Should Have Left Baby in the CornerBWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING They Should Have Left Baby in the Corner
January 21, 2015

Not since 'Flashdance' has a more ill conceived, and forced 80's movie turned stage show been forced upon the unsuspecting theater goers in Seattle. But unlike 'Flashdance', in 'Dirty Dancing' currently playing at the Paramount there weren't quite as many WTF moments to make it somewhat entertaining (in a train wreck kind of way). So what we were left with, save two stunning performances which we will get to in a minute, was a severe lack of storytelling, choreography and acting making this show not a train wreck but just plain bad.
BWW Reviews: Schmeater's THE SECRETARIES Brings Twisted Macabre FunBWW Reviews: Schmeater's THE SECRETARIES Brings Twisted Macabre Fun
January 19, 2015

Take the murderous rampage of "Heathers", the violent cultish attitudes of "Caged Heat" and the hair and clothes of "Working Girl" and you'd have the dark twisted romp of "The Secretaries", currently playing at Theater Schmeater. This macabre cautionary tale goes all out and over the top to give you a dark comedy that at the same time makes you double over laughing and cringe in horror.
BWW Reviews: Irreverent Goodbyes from DAME EDNA at the MooreBWW Reviews: Irreverent Goodbyes from DAME EDNA at the Moore
January 16, 2015

Hello Possums! Everyone's favorite Dame is back for one final goodbye (potentially) with "Dame Edna's Glorious Goodbye, The Farewell Tour" currently at the Moore Theatre. And as usual she puts on a hilarious show that reminds us all why she's risen to the level of Megastar over her 60 years in the business.
BWW Reviews: Seattle Shake's MEASURE FOR MEASURE Modernizes Tale of Virtue and ViceBWW Reviews: Seattle Shake's MEASURE FOR MEASURE Modernizes Tale of Virtue and Vice
January 12, 2015

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I typically have two main sticking points when it comes to Shakespeare productions. First that if you must transplant the time or locale of the piece, make it meaningful and second don't just say the pretty words but convey the intent behind them. And while Seattle Shakespeare Company's current production of "Measure for Measure" succeeds in the first regard, the latter only partially so, making some elements of the show feel stiff and forced.
BWW 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
January 8, 2015

Oh my! It's been a hell of a year for the Seattle Theatre scene and I can say we've been quite fortunate to see the incredible shows we have. So many amazing shows in fact that picking just a few stand outs (let alone a "best") is a near impossibility. But I have searched the deep dark recesses of my memory to find the shows and performances that really stood out and stuck with me beyond the evening and throughout the year. And so, without further ado, I'm thrilled to present the BWW 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (or Jay's Picks). Let the awesomeness flow!


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