"Spellbinding... The narrative is jocular and dramatic, scintillating and vernacular by turns."
WBUR, Boston [link]
"Captivating... An auspicious return for the Poets’ Theatre."
Boston Globe [link]
"Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett’s “Albatross” visits one with much more than a tale. It’s nothing less than an amazing experience of live theater...Evett quite simply mesmerizes. "
Altoona Mirror [link]
K-BACH's Theater Critic, Chris Curcio, reviews Arizona Theatre Company's production of Albatross
"Albatross gives classic poem a gritty edge"
"...a stirring production centered around a masterful performance"
The Easy.com [link]
"...strips away the clichés (of the poem) and finds its dramatic heart."
"Albatross is riveting...an affecting theatrical piece that you will long remember."
"A rich theatrical experience, with a terrific performance..."
"Exhilarating!...an exciting tale, shocking, moving, and arresting. Magically and effortlessly told..."
Times Square Chronicles [link]
"...writing is poetic without feeling anachronistic..."
Woman Around Town (Alix Cohen) [link]
"...a tour-de-force of acting chops and physical stamina..."
Theatre’s Leiter Side (Samuel Leiter) [link]
Review - Times Square Chronicles [link]
Review - CurtainUp [link]
"Mike Seiden and The Poets’ Theatre have taken one of the English language’s most iconic poems and turned it into a visually enthralling saga."
"Michael Seiden and the Poets' Theatre have turned the borderline psychedelic poem into an epic tale..."
British Theatre Guide [link]
"It is Evett’s tour de force performance which is the real champion."
"A strikingly dramatic text... exhilarating language... impressive and dazzling."
The Arts Fuse, Boston [link]
“The script for this play, written by Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett and directed by Rick Lombardo of The Poets Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USAin response to “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, incorporates one of the defining elements of Compound Art, the conscious merging of two separate lines of intention. Think of it as two different forces coming at each other from different angles that merge to form a new single force plunging off as a new direction. “Albatross” was crafted at that explosive point of contact and what we, the audience, take away from this theatrical production is an exciting new vector…
If Spangler and Evett had been simply updating or adapting this poem they might have revisioned this character a steel baron or an Exxon middleman but their obvious intention, their vector if you will, is not environmental but psychological. They put the individual center stage and try to demonstrate what might have driven the mariner to kill that bird. They ask the very question that on some very real level they also believe is unanswerable. Why?
This new story is about a man who has failed at the basic tasks of manhood—the creation and support of a family. The best he can do is pull is feckless nephew from drowning only to have him die of thirst along with all the other sailors on that doomed ship.
The script writers don’t ever press directly into what others might have seen as a logical expansion of this backstory to represent the contemporary proliferation of random acts of inexplicable violence; their focus is always upon a particular man. Spangler and Evett have, however, put a different game in play. They demonstrate how the ancient man and the modern man are one—that the concerns of the external environment and the inner mind of the man are inseparable. What we know about one will always inform what we know about the other.
“An adaptation of Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that winningly references Freud and Margaret Thatcher? Yes. The seemingly anachronistic elements resonate with period-appropriate verisimilitude to round out the mysterious figure of Coleridge’s poem into a fully fleshed character. No matter how painful it is to share, this storyteller cannot resist his duty to tell it. And what artist couldn’t relate to that?”
Boston Globe [link]