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Archive for July 2014

THE GAMESTER at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

 

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

A playwright and a well-regarded translator and adapter of Moliere’s work, Freyda Thomas found inspiration for her The Gamester in Le Joueur, a late 17th century play by Jean-Francois Regnard. Read more…

Now playing through August 24.

IN A DARK HOUSE at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

Is it sexual abuse when one of the participants experienced it as a love affair? Or does that merely make it more abusive? This is just one of the disturbing and provocative questions that emerge from Neil LaBute’s gripping three-character play. It is, as the playwright has observed, his most personal work, and a memory play in which the past is almost as important as the present.  Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

Neil LaBute is considered one of the most controversial playwrights of our day. Not all of his plays are equally brilliant — why would they be? — but it’s evident that some of the New Yorker’s social commentary dramas are more satisfying to experience than others.  Read more...

Now playing through August 31.

 

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Lonny Chapman Theatre

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Photo by Drina Durazo

Terry Morgan – Stage Raw

The current production of Tennessee Williams’s classic A Streetcar Named Desire by The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre is a pleasant surprise, a robust take on the material that features a strong ensemble, an outstanding Blanche, and smart direction that brings the material to vibrant life. Read more…

Now playing through September 7.

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW – Independent Shakespeare Company in Griffith Park

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW - ISC - 4

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Steven  Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

That David Melville should bring La Dolce Vita into his family-friendly outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s knotty Italian comedy makes sense. Italian comedies of the 1960s are no less dodgy, regarding their sexual politics, than the amused brutality towards a defiant spouse found in Taming of the Shrew’s central story. Independent-minded, embittered Katherine (Melissa Chalsma) turns obedient only after being violently, jocularly wooed by her flippant suitor/husband Petruchio (Luis Galindo). This is every tyrant’s fantasy. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

How does — or should — a modern director deal with the egregious chauvinism in The Taming of the Shrew? While there are ways, you won’t uncover them in director David Melville‘s current staging, on display weekends in Griffith Park. <em>Read more…</em>

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Sometimes I wish Shakespeare had written a different version of “The Taming of the Shrew” — one in which the shrew is “tamed” with, say, empathy and affection instead of torture.  Read more…

 

Now playing through August 29.

PATERNUS at Rogue Machine Theatre

Photo by John Flynn

Photo by John Flynn

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

In addition to the two-show schedule Rogue Machine generally runs, the company also does things such as their late-night “Off The Clock” productions. Daphne Malfitano’s Paternus is the latest entry in this series, and while it’s enjoyable for its strong acting and some good writing, its structure is flawed and it’s too short to achieve the catharsis it’s looking for. Read more…

Photo by John Flynn

Photo by John Flynn

Now running through August 9.

DORIS AND ME at the El Portal Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

Thanks to fans of iconic movie star Doris Day, this past April felt like a month-long Day-fest in cyberspace, as postings about the reclusive performer’s unexpected appearance at her 90th birthday celebration flooded social media for several weeks.  Read more…

Now running through August 3.

LUIGI at the VS Theatre

Photo by Lew Abramson

Photo by Lew Abramson

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Louise Munson’s meandering and nostalgic family drama is set in Italy during a summer holiday. Two American siblings touch base with their Italian mother’s parents and brother, discussing poetry and philosophy while drinking and dining, reading, playing board games, singing songs and telling stories. Much of the conversation is in Italian, with some translation here and there. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The simple candor and unruffled presence of performer Erin McIntosh is perhaps the most likable thing about Luigi, Louise Munson’s aggravatingly kitschy and predictable family drama. McIntosh portrays Anna, a thoughtful thirteen year old who reaches out to her elderly uncle (Ray Xifo, in the title role) for answers to the questions that vex her about life and love. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

A sullen 13-year-old sets in motion this world premiere, by Louise Munson. That’s the playwright’s first mistake. Uninteresting and unlikeable, young Anna doesn’t anchor the audience’s interest. Munson introduces her in the midst of the American teen’s visit to her great-uncle Luigi at his villa in Italy. Read more…

Now running through August 16.

A FAMILY AFFAIR at Plummer Park and Kings Road Park, West Hollywood

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Photo by Garth Pillsbury

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Though just about every serious theatergoer in this country has seen a Chekhov play, few have heard of Alexander Ostrovksy, a prolific 19th century Russian playwright and satirist whose first work, A Family Affair, was not only banned from the stage but even prohibited from being discussed in the press. Read more…

Now running through August 10.

SORDID LIVES at the Westchester Playhouse

Photo by Shari Barrett

Photo by Shari Barrett

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Give Kentwood Players credit for mounting this production. Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” at Westchester Playhouse through Aug. 16, focuses on social outcasts who ignite ire, if not disgust and even hatred.  Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Pity the survivors of the late Peggy Ingram, whose bizarre demise is the talk of Winters, Texas. Elder daughter Latrelle drowns her mortification by fighting wildcat sister La Vonda over burying Mama in a ratty mink stole. Sissy, Peggy’s sibling, has more nicotine withdrawal angst than sisterly grief. Read more…

Now running trough August 16.

 

WE WILL ROCK YOU at the Ahmanson Theater

Photo by Lawrence . Ho

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho

Neal Weaver  – Arts In LA

This show is an exuberant, enthusiastic, unabashed homage to the rock group Queen and its lead singer, the late Freddie Mercury. It is also splashy, a little bit silly, and loud enough to rattle your ribcage, with a rock-concert-style light show that is occasionally blinding. Read more…

Photo by Paul Kolnik

Photo by Paul Kolnik

 

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

Whenever I travel, in an attempt to overcome jet lag, I try to find the loudest, most obnoxious musical I can find, in the hopes that it will keep me awake my first night in town. I have seen quite a few shows on this principle, and none suits the task quite as well as We Will Rock You. It’s currently playing the Ahmanson, as part of a national tour, and though it has been Americanized (and not necessarily for the better) since I saw it in London, it’s still just as loud and just as brash. Read more…

Now running through August 24.

 

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT at the Odyssey Theater

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Margaret Gray – LA Times

A divorced couple and their new partners meet for a dinner that shakes up their lives in Peter Lefcourt’s romantic comedy “The Way You Look Tonight,” premiering at the Odyssey Theater under the direction of Terri Hanauer.   Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Peter Lefcourt’s romantic comedy takes a wry, witty, and occasionally wicked look at sexual mores in Los Angeles in 2014. Read more…

Now running through August 24.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHELLO at San Diego’s Old Globe

© 2006 Craig Schwartz PhotographyBob Verini -  Stage Raw

A rip-roaring Othello is being offered under the stars at San Diego’s Old Globe, in a fast-paced production full of suspense and action. Of course, many will not approve of the price paid for all this excitement, which includes a decided dearth of poetry and romance; some really hammy acting and barbarous verse-speaking; and the excision of at least 1/6 of the text (in San Diego, evidently, less is Moor). Read more…

Now running through July 27.