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SEATBELTS (or the play I wrote to piss off my sisters) at the Primitive Stage

Photo Coourtesy of the Primitive Stage

Photo Courtesy of the Primitive Stage

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Traumas from our childhood frequently haunt us for the rest of our lives.  In her uneven family melodrama, writer/director Kimberly Demmary writes about three half-sisters, scarred by the cruel and random behavior of their manipulative mother.  Read more…

Now running through Sept. 19.

 

 

Outside in Topanga and Griffith Park, inside in ‘Luka’s Room’

Mockingbird-theatricum

Don Shirley – LA Observed

Alfresco theater is one of the best features of an LA summer, yet the big LA media usually ignore it. Charles McNulty, the LA Times theater critic for nearly a decade, wrote an essay last week about ensemble acting in three of LA’s tiny indoor stages, but he has never written a word (according to a search of the LA Times database) about the ensemble acting or anything else at the two companies – Theatricum Botanicum and Independent Shakespeare — that consistently produce on Actors’ Equity contracts in LA’s considerably larger outdoor venues, for much larger audiences. em>Read more…

FISHERS OF MEN at the Hudson Mainstage

Photo by Anette Ortiz Mata

Photo by Anette Ortiz Mata

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Rick Segall’s epic solo-drama focuses on the last hours of Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter, later canonized as St. Peter. Condemned to death for refusing to reject Jesus and accept the Roman emperor as a living god, he spends his last night sharing a cell with Marcus Attilius Regulus, a former gladiator who is to be executed for the murder of Bastius, the vicious and deformed honcho of the gladiatorial school. Read more…

Now running through August 30.

CAFE SOCIETY at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Ed K

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There are several hearty laughs to be had as the credits roll on Peter Lefcourt’s clichéd comedy, which is set in a West L.A. Starbucks where a homegrown terrorist is holding people hostage. Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

One unintended consequence of the communications age is the increased difficulty of putting together a believable plot.

Smartphones have essentially obviated the situations that promote dramatic conflict — getting trapped or stranded with other people, say — and the omnipresence of Wi-Fi makes it impossible to preserve a mystery. Read more…

Now running through Oct. 11.

ASSASSINS at the Pico Playhouse

Photo by Will Adashek

Photo by Will Adashek

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

In the 4th century B.C., a villainous thug, Herostratus, set fire to the tomb of Artemis. His reason?  He had been a nonentity his entire life, and by committing this crime, he knew he would be remembered.  Of course, the Greek judges, in their wisdom, executed him, and passed a law forbidding his name ever being mentioned again… Read more…

Now running through September 27.

BASKERVILLE at the Old Globe, San Diego

Photo by Jim Cox

Photo by Jim Cox

Bob Verini  -   Variety

Playwright Ken Ludwig’s work thrives at regional theaters coast to coast, despite only intermittent New York appearances since 1989’s “Lend Me a Tenor” and his 1992 book for “Crazy For You.” His latest entertaining outing get its West Coast premiere at the Old Globe with a title announced in the program as “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery By Ken Ludwig” — awkward billing that at least leaves no doubt as to who the marquee names are. Read more…

Now running through Sept. 6.

FENCES at International City Theatre

Photo by Suzanne Mapes

Photo by Suzanne Mapes

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

August Wilson’s plays are as much about the historical experience of African-Americans as they are about any one of his characters. This is certainly true of Fences, which begins in 1957, a year marked by federal troops on the ground in Arkansas and the forced desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

You’ve got to take the crookeds with the straights,” says the disillusioned protagonist of “Fences” at International City Theatre. That observation indicates the multiple conflicts running through the late, great August Wilson’s 1987 study of a former Negro League player turned garbage collector battling prejudice, regrets and mortality. Read more…

Dany Margolies – Press-Telegram

Fences can keep people out and fences can keep people in. Fences separate races and generations. But for Troy Maxson, they also represent goals not reached and, for as long as he can manage, a barrier to death. Read more…

Shirle Gottlieb – Gazette Newspapers

If you’re a theater fan, you undoubtedly know that August Wilson, set out to write a 10-cycle play about the African-American experience — with one for each decade of the 20th Century.`Read more…

Now running through September 13.

 

FATHER, SON AND HOLY COACH at the Whitefire Theatre

Photo by Rainy Night Films

Photo by Rainy Night Films

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

It’s a little difficult to get a fix on writer-performer John Posey’s solo show Father, Son & Holy Coach, which first premiered in 1993 at The Santa Monica Playhouse. Is it a true story? Is it about a real person? No and yes (I think). Although voicing numerous characters throughout the episodic piece, Posey narrates from the perspective of the central character Johnny Sandford, a small town football hero during the 1980s. The setting is a tight-knit Southern town in Tupelo County, Georgia, where “football was more of a life here – it was a religion.” Read more…

Now running through August 30.

REDCAT Festival of New Original Works: Program 3

Photo by Rafael Hernandez

Photo by Rafael Hernandez

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

For your evening of Difficult (but still Engaging) Theater, you might have done worse than attending the New Works Festival at REDCAT.  Staged over the past three weeks, the festival has featured numerous performance pieces from promising local artists, fleshed out within the luxurious environs of one of the city’s most beautiful spaces for ambitious and edgy art. Read more…

SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME at the Little Fish Theatre

someone who'll watch over me

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Since it premiered in 1992, Frank McGuinness’ “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” hasn’t lost its plausibility. It takes place in a windowless cell in Lebanon, where three men of differing nationalities are held hostage. Read more…

Now running through Sept. 2.

MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS at Surf City Theatre’s 2nd Story Theater

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

A producer, a director and a screenwriter are locked in a room for five days trying to churn out a script for one of filmdom’s biggest epics. What could go wrong is the stuff of playwright Ron Hutchinson’s “Moonlight and Magnolias,” onstage at Surf City Theatre’s 2nd Story Theater through Aug. 30. Read more…

CONSCIOUS GETTING UNSTUCK at the Hudson Theatre

STAGE_conscious Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

This offbeat autobiographical piece by writer-director-performer Dr. Merle Conscious Soden, subtitled Homeless to Hollywood, makes up for lapses in technical polish with sly humor, heart and sincerity. Read more…

Now running through September 19.