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Archive for April 2015 – Page 2

Neil LaBute, on his play The Break of Noon

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Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

The meister of messy and cruel romantic relationships, in works such as In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things, Fat Pig and Reasons to Be Pretty, playwright, screenwriter and film director Neil LaBute shines a spotlight on atrocious behavior.  Read more…

 

ZJU Theatre Group at ZJU Theatre Group

Photo by Roger K. Weiss

Photo by Roger K. Weiss

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Witch balls played a part in people’s lives in 17th and 18th century Britain and America. Historically they were benevolent objects, placed in windows or on the mantle to ward off evil spirits. Read more…

Now running through May 9.

THE GREAT WAR at Redcat

Photo by Joost van den Broek

Photo by Joost van den Broek

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Dutch performance group Hotel Modern, along with sound designer and composer Arthur Sauer, have created a fascinating, innovative and riveting miniature reenactment of World War I, using an imaginative mix of toy soldiers and tiny landscapes, along with a mélange of media and soundscape.Read more…

 

BANG BANG at Highways

Photo by Gina Long

Photo by Gina Long

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In Michael Kearns’ Bang Bang, there’s a psycho-sexual serial killer named Dr. JackL and MisterHide&Seek (David Pevsner in a bravely unrepentant performance) whose fetish is to stand nude with his head masked in leather, to make Internet contact with his hitherto unknown male victims before meeting them (ostensibly for a romantic interlude) in their abodes, where they’ve been instructed to await him while lying naked on their stomachs with their buttocks raised. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright Michael Kearns’ latest opus is like a dark funhouse ride, in which kaleidoscopic fragments of themes shift and coalesce into entirely different ideas from scene to scene.  It’s a drama that frustrates even as its emotions connect with ferocious power. Read more…

Now running through April 25.

THE DISCORD ALTAR at the Secret Rose Theatre

Photo by Amanda McRaven

Photo by Amanda McRaven

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Improvisation in the theatre is hardly a new thing, and more and more it seems to become a useful part of the movie-making process. Improvised comedy has become downright ubiquitous, and was practiced with glorious expertise by Mike Nichols and Elaine May way back in the 1950s. But improvised opera? Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Opera is a challenging art form — and opera improvised more challenging still.

In The Discord Altar, a musical ensemble rises to that challenge, creating harmonious on-the-spot vocals to accompany a set libretto by Meghan Brown and instrumental music (also improvised) by pianist Ann Baltz and percussionist Ray Salas.  Read more…

Now running through May 3.

 

THE POWER OF DUFF at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The inciting incident of The Power of Duff, Stephen Belber’s new play at the Geffen, occurs early. Local Rochester, N.Y. news anchor Charlie Duff (Josh Stamberg)—having lost his wife to divorce, his son to resentment, and now his long-estranged dad to death—closes a broadcast with a spontaneous, brief “rest-in-peace” prayer.Read more…

 Margaret Gray – LA Times

The inciting incident of The Power of Duff, Stephen Belber’s new play at the Geffen, occurs early. Local Rochester, N.Y. news anchor Charlie Duff (Josh Stamberg)—having lost his wife to divorce, his son to resentment, and now his long-estranged dad to death—closes a broadcast with a spontaneous, brief “rest-in-peace” prayer.Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

Charlie Duff is disconnected. Despite being an evening-news anchor on a non-network station in Rochester, N.Y., he exists in solitude and obliviousness. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

The Power of Duff commingles the dangerous elements of faith and mass media. The Geffen Playhouse is now presenting playwright Stephen Belber’s comedy, the first production since its 2013 premiere at Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. Read more…

Now running through May 17.

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at the El Portal

Sweeney 2

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There’s such an assortment of riches in this stellar rendering of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s operatic musical that I can only begin by commending director Kristin Towers-Rowles. She’s brought together a superb ensemble, equally impressive musically and in dramatic performance. It’s an accomplishment all the more notable for being produced in such a small venue. Read more…

Now running through May 10.

MINE EYES HATH SEEN at Theatre Banshee

Photo courtesy Theatre Banshee

Photo courtesy Theatre Banshee

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The Civil War was the bloodiest and one of the most tragic episodes in American history.  More people lost their lives in battle and to disease in that war than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. Read more…

Now running through May 17.

CLUTCH at the Sportsmen’s Lodge

Photo by Kristina Lloyd

Photo by Kristina Lloyd

Neal Weaver – Stage Raw

There have been a number of plays in which the action occurs at a funeral, but now, Liz Shannon Miller’s Clutch is being staged in a venue actually dedicated to funerals, weddings, and bar mitzvahs. We’re asked to believe, however self-consciously, that we’re at the real funeral of former football star and wide-receiver Gordon Beers, who has just died under questionable circumstances. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In 2012, over a million high school kids played football, but the sport has been hit with criticism in recent years, with mounting evidence of brain injuries and other ills. Liz Shannon Miller capitalizes on the controversy in Clutch, a soap operatic effort short on character and logic, heavy on stale humor and melodrama.  Read more…

Now running through May 5.

CORKTOWN 57 at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

“The whole world’s in a state of chassis!” said Jack Boyle, the iconic Irish lotus-eating blackguard of Juno and the Paycock, Sean O’Casey’s great drama about the tragic flaws of an Irish family. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Corktown 57 unfolds entirely in the Irish-quarter grocery-shop basement of Frank Keating (John Ruby), who’s having difficulties with his wife (Natalie Britton, in a nicely textured performance). Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Though this John Fazakerley’s Irishmen-transplanted-to-America play runs slightly less than two hours, it lines up enough characters and story elements to populate an entire 13-episode season’s worth of TV melodrama. Read more…

 

Now running through May 3.

A DOG’S HOUSE – Iama Theatre Company at The Elephant Stage

DogsHousePatrickJAdams

Photo by Patrick J. Adams

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

A couple debates their options after their untrained Rottweiler dismembers the new neighbors’ small dog. But a series of lies and missteps brings Eden and Michael (Christine Woods and Graham Sibley) into an awkward friendship with their unsuspecting neighbors (the missing dog’s owners) Nicole (Katie Lowes and Amy Rosoff share the role) and Bill (Dean Chekvala). Pretty soon the cracks in Eden and Michael’s relationship form into crevasses. Read more…

Now running through April 26.

 

OCCUPATION at Sacred Fools Theater

Photo by Jessica Sherman

Photo by Jessica Sherman

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Occupation,” now receiving its West Coast premiere at Sacred Fools Theater, explores the ramifications of globalization and imperialism with considerable ambition and erratic dramaturgy, to put it mildly. Read more…

Now running through May 9.