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Archive for February 2016 – Page 2

CONNECT at Theatre 68

Photo by Isabel Wagner

Photo by Isabel Wagner

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

Robert Lawrence Nelson’s melodrama about two lonely people finding a connection disappoints on almost all fronts. While the performances from the two leads — Julie Dolan as Samantha and Chad Addison as Toby — are solid, with both actors plumbing some complicated emotional depths, the production as a whole fails to ignite. That’s because its sodden storyline lands like a wet blanket. Read more…

Les Spindle –  Edge on the Net

At times, Theatre 68′s premiere rendition of Robert Lawrence Nelson’s comedy-drama “Connect” has the feel of a soapy two-character drama from the ’40s or ’50s, though its primary themes, setting and plot elements are fully contemporary.Read more…

Now running through March 16

CLOSER THAN EVER at International City Theatre

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Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The musical revue “Closer Than Ever” makes a lovely evening for folks who don’t want to be asked to dig into the meaning of songs, who prefer messages told simply. The music, too, though it has more than a few tinges of dissonance, doesn’t tax the listener.

Read more…

Now running through March 6

BROKEN FENCES at the Road on Magnolia

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Les Spindle –  Frontiers L.A.

In its West Coast debut, Steven Simoncic’s 2013 portrait of urban gentrification, set in contemporary Chicago, offers intriguing ruminations on the human ramifications of the phenomenon. Read more…

Now running through April 3

BARCELONA at the Geffen Playhouse

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The clash of values in playwright Bess Wohl’s disputatious two-hander takes place between Irene (Betty Gilpin), a chattering blonde tourist from Denver, and Manuel (Carlos Leal), a handsome Spaniard who’s ferried her back to his loft in Barcelona for wild, mutually satisfying sex.  Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily News

What’s notable about “Barcelona” is not so much what it says. One hopes, when a play has made it all the way to the Geffen Playhouse, it reveals something about the human condition. But at the Geffen, it’s interesting to observe how difficult this one’s messages are to take in. Read more…

Bob Verini  -  Arts In LA

Ever find yourself walking in a park in the morning, or through a mall in the afternoon, or down a main drag like Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard at night, enjoying the sights and sounds and people, and suddenly you say to yourself, “Holy crap, what if there should be an incident right now? What if somebody with a bomb or a gun is right around that corner?” Read more…

Pauline Adamek  -  ArtsBeatLA

Two opportunistic strangers hook up for a brief bout of sex. But what starts off as a drunken one-night stand turns into a soul-searching all-night discussion that goes until dawn.   Read more…

Now running through March 13

VIEUX CARRE at the Historic Noho Arts Center

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(Photo by Nardeep Khurmi)

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

In the vast scheme of Tennessee Williams’ long career, the 1978 Vieux Carré stands as one of his lesser plays, derivative and ill-shaped. Among the works of his final two decades, however, it’s one which can still credibly command a stage if given a vigorous and mature production.   Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

The singular theatrical voice of Tennessee Williams pulsates through “Vieux Carré” at the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood.

Although this resourceful Coeurage Theatre Company production of Williams’ kaleidoscopic memory play doesn’t resolve the property’s liabilities, it’s a noble and inventively executed effort. Read more…

Now running through March 12

AN ACT OF GOD at the Ahmanson Theatre

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Photo by Jim Cox

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

God has returned to earth and borrowed Sean Hayes’ body to impart wisdom to the audience at the Ahmanson Theatre and deliver an updated 10 Commandments for the new millennium. Playwright David Javerbaum hilariously skewers humanity’s assumptions about God’s purpose using the popular TV comedian Hayes as a perfect vessel. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Directed by Joe Mantello, An Act of God is one of those comedies that will be disappointing if you go in expecting to split your sides laughing, but perfectly acceptable if you’re content to be reasonably entertained. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

So, Sean Hayes is playing God. The actor who once stood out among a quartet of standouts in the television series Will & Grace—playing the really funny second fiddle in a funny group of friends—stands out in this not-quite-solo show for playing the Judeo-Christian deity. Read more…

Now running through March 13

ALTMAN’S LAST STAND at the Zephyr theatre

Photo by ellen Giamportone

Photo by ellen Giamportone

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Franz Altman (Michael Laskin), the protagonist of playwright Charles Dennis’s deft solo drama, is an elderly Viennese Jew born just before the turn of the 20th century. Now nearly 100 years old, he owns a second-hand store called King Solomon’s Treasures, located in mid-town Manhattan, circa 1990. Read more…

Now running through March 13

THE MOUNTAINTOP at the Matrix Theatre

Photo by I. C. Rapoport

Photo by I. C. Rapoport

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Although Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop is indeed more about Martin the man than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the historical figure, it still ends up as a worshipful hagiography. This is somewhat unfortunate, because although there is no lack of respectful examinations of the Civil Rights Movement icon, there are few that focus on the man. That being said, the current production at the Matrix is entertaining and — bolstered by strong performances — occasionally moving. Read more…

Now running through April 10

AMERYKA – Shakespeare Festival of Los Angeles

 

Photo by Patti McGuire

Photo by Patti McGuire

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Late in the second act (and third hour) of Ameryka, a world premiere presentation by Nancy Keystone’s Critical Mass Performing Group, a dapper gent played by Ray Ford steps up to bear witness to a gay bar encounter with Witold, a young native Pole.    Read more..    

Now running through March 6

SALOME – Lunar River at the Basement at Mack Sennett Studios

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Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The title character in Christopher Adams-Cohen’s unsatisfying and over-indulgent drama Salome is a petulant rich kid who’s shrugged off the perks he was born to for seedy digs and wayward pleasures of the flesh. Read more…

Now running through March 6

BED at the Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Photo by Darrett Sanders

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Kate Morgan Chadwick makes an arresting entrance as she slithers alluringly across the floor at Atwater Village Theatre, climbing onto the large white bed (Se Oh’s scenic design) that serves as the focus for Sheila Callaghan’s fiercely feminist one-act. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

The central focus of Bed — Sheila Callaghan’s crazy, funny, sexually-explicit, dark new drama about relationships — is Holly, played brilliantly by Kate Morgan Chadwick. Holly is an wildly talented post-punk rocker musician who is also an emotional trainwreck — think Courtney Love or Patti Smith. Over the course of roughly ten years, we watch Holly grow as an artist and mature in her relationship with Cliff (TW Leshner). It’s a riveting journey with a surprising payoff.     Read more…

Now running through March 13

SWARM CELL at the Greenway Court Theatre

Photo by Marjorie DeWit

Photo by Marjorie DeWit

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright Gabriel Rivas Gomez’s eccentric, uneven drama is loosely based on themes from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Filtered through a prism of modern corporate capitalism, it’s a tale of American kindness — or more accurately, about the lack of it as far as poor immigrants and our underclass are concerned. Read more…

David C. Nichols – LA Times

Although “The Grapes of Wrath” has seen many adaptations, few have received a treatment quite like “Swarm Cell” at Greenway Court Theatre.

This sincerely intended, valiantly performed, still-gelling deconstruction applies a decidedly postmodern, proto-feminist spin to John Steinbeck’s classic Dust Bowl saga.    Read more…

Now running through February 28