About Michael W Freeman

Michael W. Freeman is a veteran journalist, playwright and author. Born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, he has lived in Orlando since 2002. Michael has worked for some of Florida’s largest newspapers, including The Orlando Sentinel. His original plays have draw strong audiences at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He is the author of the novels “Bloody Rabbit” and “Koby’s New Home.”

Review: What’s with “The Hound of the Baskervilles”? It’s Pawsome!

Hound of the Baskervilles

Steven Lane is Sherlock Holmes in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s supremely silly version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” (Photo by Luke Evans).

ORLANDO — “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the new production at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, may be the supreme version of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel — supremely silly, supremely goofy, and perhaps one of theater’s great defenders of the bad pun.

If you’re tired of theatrical productions of 18th century plays about depressed people who do depressing things and suffer morbid endings, “Hound” is your anecdote for sure.

This version of the Sherlock Holmes saga about the hunt for a man-killing-beast in England, adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, is a wildly campy send up of all things Sherlock, with a three person cast trying in often extravagant ways to out-mug one another. You can tell when actors are having a grand old time on stage, and this is one of them.

From the very opening moment, when actor Chris Crawford comes on stage and hears the ominous, menacing howl of a hound getting closer and closer — and then dies one of the hammiest deaths in theater history, the Fourth Wall between audience and performer gets shattered as actor Simon Needham comes out to interrupt the proceedings and announce that they forget to mention some important notices before the show started. Hey, better late than never, right?

The Fourth Wall gets broken a lot (including a few times in Saturday night’s show that felt improvised) as the three performers make a mad dash for larfs. Sherlock Holmes purists, at least the more dour ones, are likely to find not much of Doyle’s book in this one, but it’s hard to deny that this Monty Python-esque madcap adventure isn’t pretty hilarious most of the time. Continue reading

Downtown Orlando parking: Expect more alerts in the future

Downtown Orlando parking

Popular entertainment venues like the Amway Center bring thousands of people to downtown Orlando.

ORLANDO – So what’s happening with parking in downtown Orlando?

Never an easy place to find street parking near the most popular venues (Lake Eola Park, the Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Camping World Stadium), the loss of some parking areas to the ongoing I-4 Ultimate Improvement project on that highway has made a rough situation even worse.

And combine that with the fact that more and more events are going on in downtown these days – yes, it truly is becoming a very happening place – that suddenly a place to park is becoming the hottest commodity of all. Is it time for Orlando to invest in major downtown parking venues before the crowds get fed up and go elsewhere?

It’s worth noting that the office of Mayor Buddy Dyer now issues cautionary notices to residents and visitors alike on weekends when the activities are booming. Such is the case with Saturday. Continue reading

Roman Polanski’s Holocaust cinema

Roman Polanski's Holocaust cinema

In this scene from Roman Polanski’s film “The Tenant,” Trelkovsky wears concentration camp-like pajamas on the stairs of his apartment building.

On the stairs, the shadows from the railing look eerily like the bars in a prison cell.

Trelkovsky is carrying two waste baskets of trash, while wearing a set of pajamas that look similar to what Jews wore in the concentration camps.

Trelkovsky, a Polish Jew living in France, has taken a tiny two-room apartment in Paris, which became vacant after the previous tenant, a young woman named Simone Choule, threw herself out the window. Trelkovsky desperately needs the apartment, and now he’s increasingly paranoid about losing it.

His mostly elderly neighbors complain constantly about noise. After a housewarming party that draws harsh complaints from neighbors and the landlord alike, Trelkovsky is sneaking down the stairs to get rid of the trash that had piled up during the party. On the way down, he spills some of it on the stairs. But when he comes back to retrieve it, the trash is gone … mysteriously.

Director Roman Polanski’s film “The Tenant,” in which the director himself played the role of Trelkovsky, was made in 1976 and is set in Paris during the 1970s. Continue reading

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