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Archive for March 2022

LITTLE PARTS HUNTS A BABY-DADDY – Echo Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo courtesy of Echo Theatre Company

Photo courtesy of Echo Theatre Company

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There are times when one’s not quite sure what a theater piece is about, but its presentation is so engaging that it doesn’t matter. Case in point: writer-performer Ann Noble’s solo work, in which the title character (Little Parts) is a pregnant clown conducting an internet search for a Baby-Daddy for her “maybe baby.” Read more…

Now running through April 10

 

CAN’T PAY? DON’T PAY! at the Actors’ Gang

Photo by Ashley Randall

Photo by Ashley Randall

Dana Martin– Stage Raw

The Actor’s Gang has balls. Originally co- authored by Italian playwrights Dario Fo and Franca Rame in 1974 with current translation by Cam Deaver, Can’t Pay? Don’t Pay! addresses the effect inflation has on a fed-up, abused and browbeaten working class at the mercy of greedy, powerful, anonymous corporations while being slowly crushed under the weight of capitalism. The Actor’s Gang delivers a robust, in-your-face and technically marvelous production, but the story is dated and often feels more like a lecture than a call to action.  Read more…

Now running through April 24

THE PLAY YOU WANT at the Road on Magnolia

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Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Bernardo Cubría’s The Play You Want, directed by Michael John Garcés, Bernardo (Peter Pasco), the central character, is a Mexican-American playwright who writes experimental plays about clowns, whom he views as universal symbols of humanity. Little would please Bernardo more than to be acclaimed as the new Latino Samuel Beckett. But there’s a problem… Read more…

Now running through April 17

IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Frank Ishman

Photo by Frank Ishman

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

When I told people I was going to see a new production of Sarah’s Ruhl’s play, In the Next Room, I received a series of blank stares, but when I included its subtitle, or the vibrator play, I saw instant comprehension. Sex gets people’s attention. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Vibrating objects shoved up women’s vaginas to release their private floodgates in full view on a table.  Does that give you pause?  Shock you to the core?  An embarrassing giggle perhaps?  Or a secret desire (that you’d never admit out loud) to be a voyeur in the room?   Wait…what?!  (…momentary pause in convo resulting in head cocked to the side). Read more…

Now running through April 23

TRAYF at Geffen Playhouse

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Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Lindsay Joelle’s dramedy Trayf transports audiences to the structured world of the Hasidim, whose strict laws and customs may be outside the understanding of even some Jewish audience members. Director Maggie Burrows, with deft stage direction and sets, visually conveys the danger, heartbreak, and wonderment found in exploring the secular world outside. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The grass is always greener, they say.

In Trayf, Lindsay Joelle’s tender winning play about friendship, an 18-year-old Hasidic Jew longs to experience something of the outside world, while a non-Jewish acquaintance who works in a mid-Manhattan record store is drawn to a more rigid and circumscribed way of life. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Oxford Dictionary defines trayf as “food not satisfying the requirements of Jewish law”. Lindsay Joelle’s play Trayf, currently receiving its West Coast Premiere at The Geffen Playhouse, deals with a lot more than food, but provides plenty of food for thought. Read more…

Now running through April 10

THE RAGE FAIRY at the Sherry Theatre

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Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

When they said nothing could stop the Rage Fairy from finding love even if her man du jour is a literal murderer, they weren’t kidding.  The absurdist comedy written by playwright Antonia Czinger is a tornado of chaos that deals with love, codependence, and plain bad judgment through the loneliness of a put-together fairy working as a shop girl slave. Read more…

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THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Broadway World

Three men stand on a stage for over three hours, trekking through 150 years of history in The Lehman Trilogy and it’s the most invigorating evening imaginable. Read more…

Now running through April 6

ASSASSINS at East West Players

Photo by Steven Lam

Photo by Steven Lam

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

The East West Players production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s brilliant, jagged pill of a musical Assassins is thought-provoking and harrowing. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Stephen Sondheim one-act musical Assassins has gotten mixed reviews and heated pro and con reactions since it debuted in 1990. What else would you expect for a musical about a group of misfits who took their political gripes and desire for attention to the pinnacle of anarchy by choosing to assassinate (or at least attempt to) a president of the United States. Read more…

Now running through March 20

 

WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Dana Martin– Stage Raw

Pearl Cleage’s romantic comedy, What I Learned in Paris, proves that politics and office romance are not compatible.  Read more…

Now running through March 19

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at A Noise Within

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

All’s Well That Ends Well is one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” texts that can’t easily be categorized as either comedy or tragedy. All’s Well has all of the trademarks of a Shakespearean comedy: a marriage plot, mistaken identity, a clown or two, and a happily married couple in the finale. But the ending is not exactly cause for celebration, which ends up being the problem director Nike Doukas doesn’t quite solve. Read more…

Now running through March 6

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY -Rogue Machine Theatre at the Matrix

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Welsh playwright Daf James’s On the Other Hand, We’re Happy tells the story of a couple’s efforts to adopt a child and the subsequent doubts and fears that plague both the prospective parents and the birth mother. Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

Some theater locations seem to be blessed, and in Los Angeles, one of those lucky places is The Matrix Theatre on Melrose. It’s been producing and presenting high-quality shows for more than forty years, either under the auspices of Joe Stern and The Matrix Theatre Company or as a rental space. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Impeccably directed by Cameron Watson, James has written a refreshing, un-hyperbolized story about a young couple in the process of adoption.  The presentation is exceptionally beautiful, rendering Rogue Machine’s first officially mounted production at its new location on Melrose, an absolute coup. Read more…

Now running through April 17