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 Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... LiterallyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... Literally
Posted: Apr. 21, 2017


BWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the BlueBWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the Blue
Posted: Mar. 27, 2017


BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the FeelsBWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the Feels
Posted: Apr. 22, 2017


BWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with LaughsBWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with Laughs
Posted: Mar. 31, 2017


BWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative FamiliesBWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative Families
Posted: Mar. 27, 2017


BWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at TimesBWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at Times
Posted: Apr. 23, 2017


BWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to SayBWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to Say
Posted: Apr. 16, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Classic RAISIN IN THE SUN at Rep Spotlights How Far We Haven't ComeBWW Review: Classic RAISIN IN THE SUN at Rep Spotlights How Far We Haven?t Come
Posted: Oct. 6, 2016


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... LiterallyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... Literally
Posted: Apr. 21, 2017


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman ShowsBWW Review: Seattle Rep?s WELL Deconstructs One-Woman Shows
Posted: Feb. 16, 2017


BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly MagicalBWW Review: 5th Avenue?s THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly Magical
Posted: Dec. 2, 2016


BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Dec. 31, 2016


BWW Review: Surprisingly Affected by Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle RepBWW Review: Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 13, 2017


BWW Review: BAD APPLES at ACT Shocks, Disturbs, Potentially Offends, and Kills It!BWW Review: BAD APPLES at ACT Shocks, Disturbs, Potentially Offends, and Kills It!
Posted: Sep. 10, 2016


BWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at TimesBWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at Times
April 23, 2017

First off, Dear Readers, let me explain that you will see no singing Ice Princesses or wacky snowmen in this show. This particular play called "Frozen", currently playing at ArtsWest, is about as far away from the Disney movie as it could be considering it deals with serial killers. And while the performances are quite powerful and it's a very interesting subject, at times it feels like a lecture on serial killers and other times a drama with some superfluous storylines.

BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the FeelsBWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the Feels
April 22, 2017

Way back in 1991 a young fledgling theater geek saw a performance from the new musical "The Secret Garden" by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon on the Tony awards and he became obsessed with it. He listened to the cast album over and over and fell completely in love with it when he saw the first national tour as it came through town. That young theater geek was, of course, me. And since then the show has managed to work its way into being one of my all-time favorites. I've seen several productions over the years, some good and some not so good. I've even been fortunate enough to be a part of a production. So you'll understand, Dear Readers, that I'm quite picky about this show. Well there's a new reworked version of the show currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre and the best thing I can say for it is that there's a lot of talent up on that stage. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of missteps including the rework that does nothing to improve the already wonderful show. If fact it saps much of the heart in favor of making it shorter.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... LiterallyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... Literally
April 21, 2017

A few years back on one of my trips to New York, pretty much anyone I talked to about what shows I was seeing was aghast that I wasn't seeing 'Here Lies Love' Off-Broadway. And to each of them I'd say, 'a musical about Imelda Marcos written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim? No thanks, not my thing.' I mean sure, an interesting story and I have respect for the artists (if not much familiarity) but how would this work? Well, now with the new production currently playing at the completely-reconfigured-for-the-show Seattle Rep I'm being forced to sit down to a healthy serving of crow and it's delicious. Not only due to the thoroughly innovative staging and stellar performances but also for Byrne and Fatboy Slim creating a fresh method of storytelling that is a welcome addition to musical theater.

BWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to SayBWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to Say
April 16, 2017

In Keiko Green's 'Nadeshiko', currently getting its world premiere from Sound Theatre Company, there are two stories happening on the stage. Only one of the stories is very well fleshed out and only one is very interesting and unfortunately they're not the same story. With stiff and stilted dialogue, pacing, and acting, the play amounts to a look into an interesting part of history most are unfamiliar with but doesn't explore that history in an interesting way.

BWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with LaughsBWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with Laughs
March 31, 2017

Expect to be killed when you attend the current production of "Murder for Two" at ACT Theatre in conjunction with The 5th Avenue Theatre. You won't be shot or stabbed but you certainly run the risk of busting a gut, passing out from a lack of oxygen, or just generally dying of laughter largely due to the comic brilliance of its two leads.

BWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the BlueBWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the Blue
March 27, 2017

Anytime a theater does a one person show it's a risky proposition. You, of course, need the right piece. You need a good set that doesn't detract from the lone performer on stage. You need good direction of that performer so it doesn't feel too static. And most importantly, you need a performer who can grab ahold of the audience right away and lead them on their journey. Well lucky for Seattle Public Theater and for us, they have all those things and then some with their current production of "Grounded", a production that will shake you to your core.

BWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative FamiliesBWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative Families
March 27, 2017

In this ever-changing society of ours it's nice to see shows that take a look at different kinds of love and families. Such is the case with Megan Gogerty's "Bad Panda" currently being offered from Fantastic Z Theatre. And while at times the script felt a bit heavy handed and the production lacked some levels, the show as a whole is a sweet and touching look at another way to look at the issue of what truly makes a family.

BWW Review: A PROPER PLACE at Village Shipwrecks ItselfBWW Review: A PROPER PLACE at Village Shipwrecks Itself
March 24, 2017

There's the old adage in any kind of entertainment that if you have a strong finish, the audience can forgive some pitfalls that may have come before. Unfortunately the new work currently playing at Village Theatre has many of those pitfalls (and some good moments too) but they're followed by one of the most egregiously bad, anti-climactic and lackluster endings I think I've ever seen.

BWW Review: Darkly Funny DRY POWDER at the Rep Lacks Much ElseBWW Review: Darkly Funny DRY POWDER at the Rep Lacks Much Else
March 23, 2017

There's a well-known TV and Film writer who has a reputation for those quick witted, fast paced banter conversations (sometimes in the halls of the White House and sometimes while creating a social media platform. You know who I mean). And it's fun to listen to these people be more eloquent and quick than any of us could ever be in real life without a script. Now take those quick banter scenes, expand them to the length of an entire play, and pack them full to the brim with enough numbers and financial lingo that anyone outside Goldman Sachs would feel lost and what you have is Sarah Burgess' play "Dry Powder" currently playing at the Seattle Rep.

BWW Review: Raucous Fun in Ghost Light's MACBETT but Lacks LevelsBWW Review: Raucous Fun in Ghost Light's MACBETT but Lacks Levels
March 13, 2017

It's fine to be in the audience's face and have a scene's energy turned up to 11 but when you do it for the entire play, it gets tiring. That's the issue with Ghost Light Theatricals' current production of "Macbett". Sure it's an absurdist comedy piece but they can have levels too and without them, by the end of the play you wish they'd stop yelling at you.

BWW Review: ACT's TRIBES – Touching and Engaging But a Bit Cliché and Forced
March 10, 2017

I want to start off, Dear Readers, by stating that I really did enjoy ACT's current production of "Tribes". There are some great performances and it's a funny, engaging play with rich dialog. But even with my level of enjoyment in the moments of the play I can't help but also see some glaring shortcomings in the piece itself specifically having to do with the characters and their arcs. But let's set the stage (so to speak) first.

BWW Review: ArtsWest's Gripping MILK LIKE SUGAR Needs Some Time to SettleBWW Review: ArtsWest's Gripping MILK LIKE SUGAR Needs Some Time to Settle
March 3, 2017

A play like "Milk Like Sugar" about three teenage girls making a pact to all get pregnant while still in school would be a ridiculous premise if it weren't for the fact that it's based in reality. And while the current production at ArtsWest may boast some gripping performances, opening night also contained some glaring shortcomings that I hope will be overcome as the show settles over the run.

BWW Review: Astonishing Vocals in SMT's LITTLE WOMENBWW Review: Astonishing Vocals in SMT's LITTLE WOMEN
February 27, 2017

Shows like the musical version of "Little Women" require a powerhouse cast in order to survive. The songs are soaring and powerful and without the vocals to back it up, it's just not worth it. Fortunately Seattle Musical Theatre has some outstanding performers in their current offering but unfortunately the production offers little else to back up those astonishing vocals.

BWW Review: A MOVEABLE FEAST's Sumptuous Supper, Song, and Story at Café Nordo
February 27, 2017

Welcome to the world of Ernest Hemingway's Paris in the 1920's. Just like with any of the Cafe Nordo shows, the instant you walk into Nordo's Culinarium you're transported to another time and place but they seem to have outdone themselves with their current collaboration with Book-It Theatre with "A Moveable Feast" and the rich sensorial delights they've concocted.

BWW Review: 20th Anniversary of RENT at the Paramount Solid but No TearsBWW Review: 20th Anniversary of RENT at the Paramount Solid but No Tears
February 22, 2017

'Rent' is certainly one of those shows where you either love it or you hate it. I'm firmly in the first camp. I was right there in the fervor when it first came out in 1996 and was the 'it' show the same way a current show about a founding father is today. And when that first tour came around I made sure I was right there and I bawled my way through it. Since then I've seen numerous productions over the years. Some really good that brought around those same emotions and some that felt very MEH. The current production at the Paramount Theatre did not make it all the way to the MEH camp but it certainly had a few issues and brought no tears to my eyes.

BWW Review: NCTC's BRIGHT HALF LIFE is Sweet but Lacks Engaging CharactersBWW Review: NCTC's BRIGHT HALF LIFE is Sweet but Lacks Engaging Characters
February 20, 2017

The theater is filled with some of the greatest love stories, "Romeo and Juliet", "Mary's Wedding", and "Falsettos" just to name a few of my favorites. But in order to engage an audience in a love story you need to give them a reason to invest in the relationship whether that's through a specific circumstance or interesting characters. Unfortunately New Century Theatre Company's current production of "Bright Half Life" has neither of those. What it has is two average people going through moments in their relationship utilizing a storytelling device that I've seen done better and what results is a love story that's about as engaging as reading a collection of a vague acquaintance's Facebook posts about their love life.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's PAJAMA GAME Delivers the Steam HeatBWW Review: 5th Ave's PAJAMA GAME Delivers the Steam Heat
February 17, 2017

There's this little subsection of musical theater from the 50's and 60's that are big crowd pleasers due to the fact they were just plain fun. Sure, sometimes they dealt with issues as well but for the most part they were toe tapping good times. One of those that falls into this category is definitely 'The Pajama Game' currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. And while it may not be the best example of a solid show from that era, it's still a hell of a lot of fun and this production takes that fun and amps it up to 11 due in large part to some fantastic choreography from Bob Richard and a killer cast.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman ShowsBWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman Shows
February 16, 2017

Author Lisa Kron is known for her one-woman shows. I am known for having issues with one-person shows, as they tend to be someone else's therapy on stage. Luckily Kron also understands that issue as she very self referentially mocks those kinds of shows in her play "Well", currently at the Seattle Rep, as she deconstructs shows like this and really all shows with her hilarious exploration that has "nothing to do with her relationship with her Mother!"

BWW Review: STORYVILLE RISING Captivates with Stories but Little PlotBWW Review: STORYVILLE RISING Captivates with Stories but Little Plot
February 13, 2017

It's difficult to see where creator, writer and director of "Storyville Rising", currently playing at Seattle Immersive Theatre, David Crellin was trying to go with his show. I mean, it's certainly a fascinating look, supported by some wonderful performances, into the world of the red light district in New Orleans at the turn of the century and all the seedy undertones it had to offer, but it lacks a through line to pull it all together.

BWW Review: RAISINS IN A GLASS OF MILK Examines Racial Issues in TheatreBWW Review: RAISINS IN A GLASS OF MILK Examines Racial Issues in Theatre
February 6, 2017

More and more we see controversies arise in the entertainment industry as people of color are overlooked for some roles or pigeonholed in other roles based on their race. Well now a group of Cornish students and alum have assembled at 18th and Union for a remounting of their show illuminating those issues from the perspectives of those affected in their thought provoking "Raisins in a Glass of Milk".



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