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

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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: Steampunk Fantasy Fun Returns in Pork Filled's THE TUMBLEWEED ZEPHYRBWW Review: Steampunk Fantasy Fun Returns in THE TUMBLEWEED ZEPHYR
Posted: Aug. 17, 2015


BWW Review: Paramount's PIPPIN Shines with a Dark Sexy CircusBWW Review: Paramount’s PIPPIN Shines with a Dark Sexy Circus
Posted: Aug. 17, 2015


BWW Review: MATILDA at the 5th Ave is Anything but R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N-GBWW Review: MATILDA at the 5th Ave is Anything but R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N-G
Posted: Aug. 23, 2015


BWW Review: Cliché Identity Crisis from JOHN BAXTER IS A SWITCH HITTER at IntimanBWW Review: Cliché Identity Crisis from JOHN BAXTER IS A SWITCH HITTER at Intiman
Posted: Aug. 21, 2015


BWW Review: INDIAN INK from STC and Pratidhwani Blends History and HeartBWW Review: INDIAN INK from STC and Pratidhwani Blends History and Heart
Posted: Aug. 24, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still WickedBWW Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still Wicked
Posted: Jul. 10, 2015


Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for SeattleSummer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for Seattle
Posted: May. 30, 2015


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: Seattle Rep's LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep’s LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!
Posted: Apr. 2, 2015


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 Review: INDIAN INK from STC and Pratidhwani Blends History and HeartBWW Review: INDIAN INK from STC and Pratidhwani Blends History and Heart
August 24, 2015

When you go to see a Tom Stoppard play such as "Indian Ink", currently playing at Center Theatre from Sound Theatre Company and Pratidhwani, you can expect to be immersed in whatever subject Stoppard has chosen, whether that be literature, history, math, music or landscape architecture, along with a fascinating interpersonal story with the characters. And while I usually appreciate the interpersonal stories of his plays, his chosen subject of interest is usually lost on me (mostly due to the feeling that you need to take a Masters class in whatever the subject is before you see the play to totally get it). Stoppard's "Indian Ink" is no exception although the love story at its heart certainly outweighed any gaps of historical knowledge I felt.
BWW Review: MATILDA at the 5th Ave is Anything but R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N-GBWW Review: MATILDA at the 5th Ave is Anything but R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N-G
August 23, 2015

I'm going to confess that I am in love with 'Matilda, The Musical'. I have been ever since I first heard the cast album. What I feared would be another bland attempt at putting a beloved children's classic on stage turned out to be a treasure trove of clever lyrics and great storytelling. And so with my love and familiarity of the show I was able to overlook some of the technical issues I saw with the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre for my own personal enjoyment of the evening. But looking back on the evening I cannot deny that those issues were there, not only technical but who this show is intended for. But we'll get to all that in a minute.
BWW Review: Clich Identity Crisis from JOHN BAXTER IS A SWITCH HITTER at Intiman
August 21, 2015

If you're going to tell a story, especially one based on a real event, you need to decide who the story is about, what you are trying to tell and why are you trying to tell it. And those are just a few of the downfalls with the new play from Ana Brown and Andrew Russell "John Baxter is a Switch Hitter" currently from Intiman Theatre.
BWW Review: Paramount's PIPPIN Shines with a Dark Sexy CircusBWW Review: Paramount's PIPPIN Shines with a Dark Sexy Circus
August 17, 2015

Stephen Schwartz's "Pippin" is one of those under appreciated musicals. It definitely has its problems but if done well it can deliver the goods. Well, the current tour of the recent Broadway run certainly delivers those goods. Not only does it retain the dark edginess of the story but it's also infused with thrilling circus routines that make it a crowd pleaser on many levels.
BWW Review: Steampunk Fantasy Fun Returns in Pork Filled's THE TUMBLEWEED ZEPHYRBWW Review: Steampunk Fantasy Fun Returns in Pork Filled's THE TUMBLEWEED ZEPHYR
August 17, 2015

Two years ago, if you were lucky enough to catch it, we were introduced to the Wild West, steampunk world of 'The Clockwork Professor', a delightful melodrama from the mind of Maggie Lee. Well the denizens of that world continued to have adventures in Lee's mind and now we can all climb on board to 'The Tumbleweed Zephyr' for another thrilling escapade.
BWW Reviews: Existential SIDEWINDERS from Fantastic Z Feels OverblownBWW Reviews: Existential SIDEWINDERS from Fantastic Z Feels Overblown
July 27, 2015

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have a story to tell then tell it. Existentialism is fine but don't pack in a bunch of superfluous seemingly non sequitur dialog and lose your meaning as a result. Such is the problem with Fantastic Z's current production of "Sidewinders" over at Richard Hugo House. They may have wanted to discuss gender issues but the story got lost.
BWW Reviews: Tragic HOLD THESE TRUTHS at ACT Fails to EngageBWW Reviews: Tragic HOLD THESE TRUTHS at ACT Fails to Engage
July 27, 2015

The trouble with one man shows is that it's difficult to make them engaging no matter the subject. Such is the pitfall that Jeanne Sakata's "Hold These Truths", currently playing at ACT Theatre, falls into. This may be an incredibly horrifying thing that happened to this man but unless you have an engaging way to tell it you might as well be trapped with someone at a party as they recount (in detail) their life story. And while that conversation might be ok for a little while, after 90 minutes it becomes wearing.
BWW Reviews: Lyrically Haunting AND JESUS MOONWALKS THE MISSISSIPPI From STCBWW Reviews: Lyrically Haunting AND JESUS MOONWALKS THE MISSISSIPPI From STC
July 20, 2015

Sound Theatre Company has never shied away from difficult plays and now in conjunction with Brownbox Theatre they've taken on Marcus Gardley's moving civil war fable " And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi". To be blunt, this play is not going to be for everyone with its deeply poetic nature and complex imagery. And while certain elements of the piece I found confusing or missing the mark; I was able to come away from it with an admiration of its lyric beauty and gripping story.
BWW Reviews: Overly Wholesome and Character Free GREASE at 5th AvenueBWW Reviews: Overly Wholesome and Character Free GREASE at 5th Avenue
July 20, 2015

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's musical "Grease" is so much more than just a collection of doo wop numbers. It's a group of teens finding their own identities at a time when teens were finding identities much different from those of their parents. Or at least it should be. Unfortunately the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre has been scrubbed clean and is so devoid of any individual or realistic characters that any emotion or meaning that might have been elicited from the story is now gone. But they sing pretty.
BWW Reviews: ORPHEUS DESCENDING Seethes With Raw Power, Love and LustBWW Reviews: ORPHEUS DESCENDING Seethes With Raw Power, Love and Lust
July 13, 2015

When you see as many shows as I do as a theater reviewer there are shows that, on the surface, make you concerned as to what you're about to see. Such a show was "Orpheus Descending" developed and performed by the Williams Project at 12th Avenue Arts as part of the Intiman Theatre Festival. I mean we're talking about a 3 hour Tennessee Williams play put on by a brand new to Seattle theatre company. But it's moments like this that make being a theater reviewer worth all the time spent when that trepidation turns into absolute awe-inspired elation at seeing a beautifully simple, well thought out and brilliantly portrayed production such as this that ranks up there with one of the best things I've seen all year.
BWW Reviews: Superheroes Save Our Fun and Our Beer in Teatro ZinZanni's RETURN OF CHAOSBWW Reviews: Superheroes Save Our Fun and Our Beer in Teatro ZinZanni's RETURN OF CHAOS
July 13, 2015

NEWS FLASH: The evil Hoard of Four under the command of the Eric the Evil Overlord is out to steal the special beer that has crash landed from outer space. Who can the Mayor call in to rescue us all? The Jet City Superheroes of course! Yes Teatro ZinZanni has dusted off their spandex and capes to thrill us with a superhero adventure with The Return of Chaos and the thrills, humor and fun must have been hit with some gamma radiation because it's all at the level of The Hulk (but with better grammar).
BWW Reviews: Theatre22's WIZZER PIZZER Feels Poignant but Has No PointBWW Reviews: Theatre22's WIZZER PIZZER Feels Poignant but Has No Point
July 13, 2015

Dreams are there for our brains to work things out when we can't and the more incapacitated we are the weirder those dreams become. I mean Dorothy dreamt about flying monkeys. Well in "Wizzer Pizzer: Getting Over the Rainbow", currently from Theatre22 as part of their Pride Series, the dream is just the latest in an attempt to tell someone else's message utilizing a trip to Oz. And while I loathe someone working out their therapy on stage, Amy Wheeler's play comes across as more what she felt would have been the resulting mindset from therapy without actually going through it and that's even worse as it's cliche joke after cliche joke ultimately amounting to no real resolution or message.
BWW Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still WickedBWW Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still Wicked
July 10, 2015

I don't think many theater nerds need to argue the virtues of Stephen Schwartz's hit show "Wicked" currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. It's one of those shows that's widely and verbally loved by aficionados and general theatergoers alike. So when the tour comes through town it's bound to have the rich and powerful voices needed to blast those wonderful songs into the rafters. And this tour is no exception. But while this tour also boasts two wonderful leads who also manage some brilliant and layered storytelling in their characters, some of the supporting players felt lacking and flat in that aspect making this go around with the show not as awe-inspiring as past viewings.
BWW Reviews: A Quickie Trip to the Mothership for a Dose of Amazing!BWW Reviews: A Quickie Trip to the Mothership for a Dose of Amazing!
July 5, 2015

Dear readers, it had been about a year since my previous trip back to the Mothership (a.k.a. New York) and I felt it was time for a recharge of my Broadway batteries, even if it could only be a quickie. Well let me tell you there is plenty of awesome happening out there to catch. Now I only caught five of them but they were all amazing. Granted, I did pick from the cream of the crop of recent award winners and high profile shows but that only means that I can give a collective WOW to them all with my three letter rating system. Let's take a look at my whirlwind journey.
BWW Reviews: Gripping SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE from Book-It RepBWW Reviews: Gripping SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE from Book-It Rep
June 22, 2015

How do you come out with an anti-war novel without it becoming preachy or scolding? You let Kurt Vonnegut handle it. His tale of the life of a soldier through his time in war and beyond is so shrouded in other elements that the lessons learned just slide on into your brain along with the rest of the story. And Book-It's presentation of this gripping work is just as seemingly effortless in its message and manages to engage and entertain rather than lecture and scold.
BWW Reviews: Magic Alive with THE ILLUSIONISTS at The 5th AvenueBWW Reviews: Magic Alive with THE ILLUSIONISTS at The 5th Avenue
June 18, 2015

Most of us in some way still want to believe that magic is real. I know I do. I mean how many of us tried some of those Harry Potter spells just to see what would happen? Just me? Well anyway, some true magicians are visiting Seattle at the moment with the big flashy show "The Illusionists - Witness the Impossible" over at the 5th Avenue Theatre. But this is not the magic shows of old as they've infused it with a cool, rockin' vibe and enough variation that it's bound to thrill anyone.
BWW Reviews: Heavy Handed THREESOME at ACT Might Have Something to SayBWW Reviews: Heavy Handed THREESOME at ACT Might Have Something to Say
June 15, 2015

If you want to ensure that people come to see your play then make sure you have well advertised nudity and sex in it. This is not a condemnation of "Threesome", the current play over at ACT, but a simple fact of the business of theater. But once you've lured those butts into the seats with the titillating title and promise of skin make sure you've got a story to keep the audience engaged once the actors put their clothes on. And while Yussef El Guindi's play does manage some interesting, hot button moments and topics the show feels somewhat forced at times and obscured by the gimmick that got the audience there.
BWW Reviews: Self Centered Hollywood in Theater Schmeater's FOUR DOGS AND A BONEBWW Reviews: Self Centered Hollywood in Theater Schmeater's FOUR DOGS AND A BONE
May 31, 2015

There may not be a ton of plot going on with Theater Schmeater's current production of "Four Dogs and a Bone". I mean there's no real message or over-arching moral other than "people in Hollywood are awful". But what it does have going for it is some very funny dialog and an ensemble that, while playing self-centered and back stabbing, are completely together in this piece which makes for a highly engaging and fun night.
Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for SeattleSummer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for Seattle
May 30, 2015

With the sun out more and more (amidst all the rain, of course) the theatrical choices in the area tend to dwindle a bit. But not to worry, there's still plenty to take in. From Shakespeare to Schwartz, greasers to gay baseball players, classics to camp and Karen Carpenter there's something for everyone. After you spend your day in the sun check out what's happening indoors (or in some cases combine the sun and the shows).
BWW Reviews:  Village's CABARET Slow and Safe but ThoughtfulBWW Reviews: Village's CABARET Slow and Safe but Thoughtful
May 24, 2015

I have to say that when it comes to Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret" I prefer my Kit Kat Club dirty, my Sally Bowles damaged and my Berlin dangerous. And while the current production at Village Theatre has all of those elements, they're all very safe versions of those elements. And while director Brian Yorkey attempted a very thoughtful telling of the story, often times the pacing was so deliberately slow as to lose any urgency of the moment.


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