Norwegian garage rockers Death by Unga Bunga, playing at the Village Theatre on February 28, buzzed through the writing, recording, and mastering of Fight! in just six weeks. Released in September, the four-song EP is over in a flash – 12 minutes of ragged indie garage rock infused with power-pop riffs that could have come straight out of a Cheap Trick song.

Kelly Lohrenz and Tristan Tapscott in The Gift of the MagiThe Gift of the Magi is my favorite holiday tale. While the surprise is lost whenever I read it again, I still remember the goosebumps I felt when I first discovered O. Henry's story of a man and woman making significant personal sacrifices in order to buy each other Christmas gifts. And while New Ground Theatre's production of the musical version of this classic narrative did not give me the same delightful chills, it did leave me with a warm feeling of holiday joy.

Jessica Flood and Patti Flaherty (foreground) and Leah Otting, Jason Platt, and Kassy Caldwell (background)The language of playwright Tracy Letts' August: Osage County is loaded with layers of emotion underneath its dialogue. During New Ground Theatre's opening performance on Friday, a few actors neglected the dark undertones, reciting their lines as if Letts' words held nothing below the surface. Most, however, got to the heart of the script, impressively revealing the richness of the work through performances that ranged from subtle to over-the-top. While not perfect, the show deserved the standing ovation it got from the audience.