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BROOMSTICK at the Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

“Things aren’t always what they seem” is the main theme of John Biguenet’s play about a strange old woman with magical powers. It’s a piece you want to praise, given how much and how cruelly old women with (or without) magical powers have been maligned over the centuries. Read more…

Now playing through November 30.

VENUS IN FUR at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

David Ives’ Tony-nominated 2010 sexual comedy, Venus in Fur, is to eroticism what Yasmina Reza’s Art is to painting. Both are beguiling, erudite parlor games that keep fluttering around the issues they purport to investigate. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

BANSHEE at Theatre of Note

bansehee

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

The West Coast premiere of Brian C. Petti’s Banshee at Theatre of NOTE looks like an old play — it’s an Irish fable, but set in New York, in 1981. Sad sack Junior (Bill Voorhees), now 40, unemployed and recovering from a nervous breakdown, lives with his Irish mother, Kit (Lynn Odell). Junior’s cop brother, Neil (Joe Mahon), gets him a new job on the docks, and introduces him to a lonely, beautiful divorcée-with-child, Cara (Alysha Brady), who, like his mum, speaks in Celtic brogue. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 1

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING at the Laguna Playhouse

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

David C. Nichols – LA Times

 Life changes in an instant. The ordinary instant.” And so it did for Joan Didion in 2003, when her husband John Gregory Dunne succumbed to cardiac arrest in their New York apartment.

  Read more…

Now running through Oct. 30.

DATING IN L.A. WITH NO NIPPLES at the Whitefire Theatre

Photo courtesy of Lisa David

Photo courtesy of Lisa David

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Lisa David is so likable, and her autobiographical show so ingenuous and inspiring, that you can readily forgive its extended length and lack of polish.   Read more…

Now running through Nov. 5.

 

NICE THINGS at Theater/Theatre

Photo by John Flynn

Photo by John Flynn

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Vince Melocchi’s provocative, long one-act hinges on the death in Afghanistan of a young recruit named Danny, who’s from a small Pennsylvania town. His fiancée Amy (Connor Kelly-Eiding), who works in a local donut shop, is trying to cope with her grief over his loss, but she’s also angry on several counts. She’s resentful that military red tape is delaying the payment of his death benefits, and the arcane rules that may make him ineligible to receive them. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In his new play, “Nice Things,” premiering at Rogue Machine Theatre, Vince Melocchi returns to the middle-American, blue-collar, recession-devastated milieu of his two previous plays, “Lions” and “Julia.”

Set in and around a dying mall in Dunsmore, Pa., “Nice Things” explores the ethics of army recruitment in a bad economy, a complex issue helpfully broken down in the segments of a radio broadcast that frame each scene. Read more…

Now running through  Nov. 23.

 

FOREVER at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Margaret Gray – LA Times

One of the few laugh lines in Dael Orlandersmith’s harrowing new solo show, “Forever,” in its world premiere at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, comes in an exchange she describes with an attendant at the morgue after her mother’s death.

She asks him if he’s afraid. His laconic reply: “The dead can’t do nothing to you. It’s the living you’ve got to look out for.” Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

At the Douglas, writer-performer Dael Orlandersmith reads Forever—a memoir of growing up with an abusive parent—from a loose-leaf binder while (mostly) standing at a lectern or (occasionally) sitting on a stool. Though the performance is raised above the floor on a handsome, raw-wood structure from Takeshi Kata, and given arty lighting effects by Mary Louise Geiger, by me this is not a play. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 26.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA VOX LUMIERE at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Photo by Johanna Siegmann

Photo by Johanna Siegmann

Jonas Schwartz -  Arts In LA

Kevin Saunders Hayes’s ambitious multimedia experimentations with silent films returns to Los Angeles with a funhouse version of the Lon Chaney classic Phantom of the Opera. Projecting the film on the big screen, the production comments on the movie by intensify the experience with original songs, dance, and wild costumes. Though the quality of the songs is uneven, the intriguing premise and Natalie Willes’s scandalous choreography make for an amusing evening. Read more…

THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Broad Stage

Photo by Angela Kase

Photo by Angela Kase

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Joyful & exuberant — Isango Ensemble’s afrobeat version of Mozart’s fairytale opera The Magic Flute is a unique and beautiful experience. You will probably have never experienced anything like it before, and perhaps never will again — it’s that special. Read more…

 

Now running through Oct. 12.

 

WICKED LIT at Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery

Photo by Daniel Kitayama

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

This sixth annual presentation by Unbound Productions is a cool, autumnal treat. Participants gather at the Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery in Altadena to witness three adaptations of famous scary stories from literature or folklore, staged on the grounds. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 8.

BITCHES at the Acting Artists Theatre

Photo by Brandon Clark

Photo by Brandon Clark

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw 

This farce, written and directed by Sean Abley, belongs to that subset of gay theater which specializes in sending up (or cannibalizing) the plots and themes of more conventional works for its own deliberately trashy purposes. It’s set in the Susan B. Anthony School for Girls, and though all the characters are female, they’re played by male actors. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 2.

BETTER at the Atwater Village Theatre

Better_4-700x400

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Steven Leigh Morris  – Stage Raw

Jessica Goldberg told The Jewish Journal that her new play Better is quasi-autobiographical, written in the wake of her father’s death from brain cancer in conjunction with her own crumbling marriage to actor Hamish Linklater. Read more…

Now running through Nov. 16.