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Archive for June 2013

VIGILS at the LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE STUDIO THEATRE

Vigils-Photo-5Shirle Gottlieb – The Gazette Newspapers

“Vigils,” an award-winning comedy by Noah Haidle, acclaimed Julliard graduate & playwright, is an extremely difficult play to perform. It tackles the serious subject of death and grieving in comedic form,which makes it more readily accessible to contemporary audiences without denying the gravity of the human condition.
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MODROCK at EL PORTAL

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

This jaunty jukebox musical, with book by Hagan Thomas-Jones, direction by Brian Lohmann, arrangements by David O, musical direction by John Ballinger and choreography by Michele Spears, is set in England in 1965, when London was said to swing like a pendulum.
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WATSON AND THE DARK ART OF HARRY HOUDINI at SACRED FOOLS

WatsonHoudini

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Pauline Adamek  – LA Weekly

Sequels are tough. Expectations are generally high and you can never attain the novelty factor of the first outing. Writer-director Jaime Robledo’s Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini, the second installment in his Watson series, is less dazzling (far fewer action set-pieces) and more talky than the first but maintains his inventive staging and bizarre humor, sending his beloved characters on an ultimately darker, more spiritual journey.
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Terry Morgan – LAist

In November 2010, a play called Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes was one of my favorite shows. It combined clever writing, an expert ensemble and constantly inventive direction to be a true showcase of great L.A. theatre. Its writer/director, Jaime Robledo, is clearly possessed of abundant talent. It is thus with regret that I have to report that the new sequel premiering at Sacred Fools, Watson And The Dark Art of Harry Houdini, is disappointing, a pale imitation of the original that only sporadically works.
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WATSON MEETS HOUDINI AT SACRED FOOLS

Joe-Fria-and-Scott-Leggett-in-Watson_-Photo-by-Jessica-Sherman

Photo by Jessica Sherman

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Stage Times

 

Didn’t get enough of Watson at Sacred Fools Theater in late 2010, or when it returned in the summer of 2011? Don’t worry — the saga continues. Writer/director Jaime Robledo’s sequel Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini, reportedly darker and more personal, opened last Friday night.
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ROGER WODEHOUSE’S ANDROGYMNASIUM at FRINGE MAINSTAGE

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Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

 

Book by Frank Smith, Ryan Harrison, Lauren Ludwig and Dylan Ris;

Music and lyrics by Dylan Ris, Mikey Wells, Ryan Harrison, Frank Smith and Rich Ramberg.

The Lost Moon Radio kids are back at the Fringe with yet another one of their hilarious musical spoofs. This time it’s the alleged playback of an old BBC children’s television show from the seventies that was aired and then banned “after one and a half episodes,” with all the tapes actively destroyed. We’re told that an old beta-tape—the last remaining copy—was recently unearthed in a rummage sale in Kyoto.
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MUD at the ACTOR’S COMPANY

Mud

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

 

There’s a certain fragility mixed with permanence in Maria Irene Fornes’ melancholy tragedy Mud, and the characters seem to exist beyond the performance that unfolds before us. In seventeen short (sometimes brutally short) scenes, Fornes depicts a squabbling couple, Lloyd (Riley Smith) and Mae (Annie Hamilton), who seem stuck in some kind of rural poverty. While Lloyd appears slightly mentally retarded, Mae is merely illiterate and wants to better herself and get out. Her romance with unsympathetic local fellow Henry (A.J. Helfet) sparks jealousy from Lloyd. But then the worm turns…
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THE REAL HOUSEKEEPERS OF STUDIO CITY at ASYLUM THEATRE

Real Housekeepers

 

Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly

 

Joe Green’s derivative, amateur and R-rated musical assembles all the beloved maids from TV sitcoms, past and present, and parades them through his nostalgic tribute. The slim premise has divorcee and mother of two teens Ashley (Lani Shipman) vying for an audition on a reality TV show.
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REVOLVER at CELEBRATION THEATRE

Revolver

Photo by Sean Lambert

 

Neal Weaver – LA Weekly

Chris Phillips’ cannily written play examines the need to stand up against oppression and avenge violence with violence versus the necessity for love and forgiveness. The six scenes are alternately comic, brutal and surreal. The piece initially seems fragmented, but the interrelatedness of the scenes, and their thematic unity, gradually emerge.
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David C. Nichols – LA Times

A potent charge of relevant provocation propels “revolver” at the Celebration Theatre. In the final production at its longtime venue, L.A.’s flagship gay theater scores a profoundly affecting bull’s-eye with Chris Phillips’ incisive study of violence and forgiveness, as expressed in societal, personal and even eternal terms. Read more…

We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia Formerly Known As South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915 at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by Jillian Armanente

Photo by Jillian Armanente

 

Bob Verini – ArtsInLA

 

If you revel in fine actors’ pushing the envelope of what performance can do, or have an interest in investigating important historical experience via theatrical means, this ungainly-named but unforgettable work is *the* production of the summer, just as Son of Semele’s recently closed Our Class was *the* production of the spring. In both, a splendidly unified ensemble, masterfully directed, shape-shifts among multiple roles to tackle, head-on, the 20th century’s legacy of dread.
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Terry Morgan – LAist

 

One of the truisms of theatre is that one doesn’t need a lot of money to do it right; you just require creativity and talent. The latest example of this is a new show with a very long title: We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About The Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From The German Sudwestafrika, Between The Years 1884-1915. The west coast premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play at the Matrix Theatre is a dazzling tour de force of brilliant writing, acting and direction, and, despite the serious subject matter, it’s frequently hilarious.
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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Santa Monica Repertory Theater at The Promenade Playhouse

shakespeare abridgedDany Margolies – Arts In LA

In this three-person show—originally the work of writer-actors Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield—three actors enact highlights of, summarize, or at least mention the title of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays. First up are highlights, or lowlights, of Romeo and Juliet. Next, Titus Andronicus is boiled down to a cooking show on which body parts get stewed by a handless Titus and a tongueless Lavinia.
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The Taming of the Shrew at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

Taming Shrew

Photo by Ian Flanders

David C. Nichols – LA Times

With summer here, the whirligig of time brings in “The Taming of the Shrew” at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and it proves a blissfully madcap occasion. This rip-roaring take on William Shakespeare’s ever-popular romantic comedy opens the 40th anniversary season at this incomparable outdoor venue with marvelous forward momentum.
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Mayank Keshaviak  – LA Weekly

The slapstick, or batacchio, which originated in the commedia dell’arte of 16th-century Italy, is a wooden device used to create a loud, smacking sound. So it seems fitting that in staging Shakespeare’s contemporaneous tale of a headstrong woman who finally meets her match, director Ellen Geer plays its physical comedy to the hilt, incorporating slide whistles, drums and other noisemaking devices to punctuate the onstage pratfalls, fisticuffs and acrobatics.

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Hungry Woman at Casa 0101

David C. Nichols – L.A. Times

“This is either the longest suicide note in history, or the juiciest, dirtiest, most delicious confession you’ll ever hear,” begins “Hungry Woman” at Casa 0101. Food, family and post-feminist freedom are the chief thematic ingredients in playwright Josefina López’s witty, compelling fantasia, and though still refining, it’s perhaps her richest work yet.   Read more…

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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Adapted from her novel Hungry Woman in Paris, Josefina López’s play gives voice to Latina women under siege by their culture. Depressed and dissatisfied, Canela (Rachel González), at 29, is being pressured by her family to marry and have kids. When her lifelong gal-pal kills herself, Canela flees to Paris, searching for self-fulfillment and abandoning her career as a journalist to study cooking at a frou-frou culinary arts school.
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