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Archive for Reviews

GOONIE at Atwater Village Theatre

Photo by Hiram Sanchez

Photo by Hiram Sanchez

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Writer/performer Terry Maratos’s solo show about an angry addled man and his struggles with his family is chockful of the broad caricature and shtick-laden narrative that I normally find grating. But Goonie is a rare exception. Read more…

Now running through May 5

 

MARTHA at the Whitefire Theatre

(Photo by Charles Dougherty)

(Photo by Charles Dougherty)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham has become an almost mythical figure. She was remarkably prolific, creating 181 dances over the course of her career and dancing into her 70s (though sometimes she lurched a bit during her later years). Read more…

Now running through May 28

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo  by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

It is one of the age-old theater questions: Can a performance rise the level of a so-so script, adding depth missing from the dialogue and characterizations? Broadway actor Matt McGrath proves the answer can be yes in The Legend of Georgia McBride, a comedy, now playing at the Geffen, about drag queens in a run-down bar in the Florida Panhandle. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

The Legend of Georgia McBride is one of those rare charmers, a sweet story about nice people that manages to be neither syrupy nor cloying. Directed by Mike Donahue at the Geffen Playhouse, the production features a strong ensemble that brings heft and heart to a very amiable comedy. Read more…

 Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

They say clothes make the man. In “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” women’s clothes certainly turn a childlike lad into a maturing gentleman. Still, Matthew Lopez’s play, enjoying its West Coast premiere at Geffen Playhouse, reminds us that our true selves are who we are at heart, having nothing to do with our outer adornments. Read more…

Now running through May 31

 

A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2  at South Coast Repertory

Photo by Debora Robinson

Photo by Debora Robinson

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

One of the most intriguing uses of art is a conversation between an acknowledged masterpiece from the past and a current artist commenting upon it or adding to it in some way. Of course, this doesn’t always work, but when it does, the results are often fascinating. Such is the case with Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, where the playwright examines the issues brought up in the Ibsen’s classic play with complexity and empathy. The world premiere production at South Coast Repertory is bracingly intelligent and superbly performed. Read more…

Now running through April 30

 

THE ORIGINALIST at the Pasadena Playhouse

orig 1

(Photo by Jim Cox Photography)

Deborah Klugman – Capital & Main

In John Strand’s play, The Originalist, the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Edward Gero) is presented as a lovable curmudgeon — rather like the tough, gruff but charismatic professor you might have had back in your university days. To appreciate the character, and the play, you need to be willing to suspend your knowledge of the sum damage of Scalia’s opinions on civil rights and the democratic process...Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

In the opening moments of John Strand’s “The Originalist,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is addressing a large group at The Federalist Society. For those who care to look, this is an elegant shorthand about his background. (If you need to know more, check out Jeffrey Toobin’s article, which discusses that organization’s agenda and its foundational drive to train and raise up originalist conservative judges, in The New Yorker on April 17.)

Now running through May 7

INTO THE WOODS at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily News

Every once in a while there comes an opportunity to experience an extraordinarily rich theatrical performance. Such is the case with the Fiasco Theater production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” now at the Ahmanson.         Read more…

 Erin Conley – OnStage

The cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, the slipper as pure as gold. These ingredients comprise the spell at the center of Into the Woods, the classic musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine that twists and combines popular fairy tales into a brutal exploration of the consequences of wish fulfillment.      Read more…

Now running through May 14

REVOLUTION IN A CATSUIT at the Bootleg Theatre

(Photo by Richard Pope)

(Photo by Richard Pope)

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

In Revolution in a Catsuit, directed by Michael Philip Edwards, playwright/lead performer Somi De Souza aims to tackle the problems of ethnic minorities in the entertainment industry — the tendency for directors, casting directors and producers to stereotype people of color and, even more deplorably, cast white actors in minority roles. Read more…

Now running through April 30

THE ENCOUNTER at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Rob Latour

Photo by Rob Latour

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

The good thing about experimental theatre is the thrill of something new, the excitement of exploring radical new territory. The downside, of course, is that not every experiment is completely successful, or — even if something valuable is discovered — it may not provide a wholly satisfying piece of theatre. Such is the case with  production of The Encounter at the Wallis, which has fun with binaural sound technology, but within a show that has major problems. Read more…

Now running through April 16

LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD’S HOME FOR UNWED MOTHERS at the Skylight Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

This is not the first play to deal with the Catholic Church’s former barbarous and hypocritical treatment of unwed mothers, but playwright Louisa Hill gives the subject urgent and harrowing reality. Read more…

Now running through May 14

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED) at the Falcon Theatre

comedy-press-photo-41

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Daily Breeze

The comic playwriting team of Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor has created several funny send-ups of classics, known as the “Complete (abridged)” plays. The best known is the wildly funny “Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged)” which even had them falling out of their chairs in London. Thus, a chance to see their more recent concoction, “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” here in the Los Angeles area seemed a no-brainer. Read more…

Now running through April 23

SUPPER at Theatre of NOTE

Photo by  Eric Neil Guttierez

Photo by Eric Neil Guttierez

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In the program notes for Supper, Phinneas Kiyomura remarks that his play about four right-wing billionaire brothers is not about the Koch brothers. But you could have fooled me. Read more…

Now running through May 20

WAITING FOR GODOT at The Other Space

Photo by Julian Buchan

Photo by Julian Buchan

Lovell Estell III — Stage Raw

And the wait continues with this engaging production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic from the Open Circle Theater Company and director Daniel Wilner. Read more…

Now running through April 16