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Archive for Reviews – Page 2

UNCANNY VALLEY at International City Theatre

Photo by Steven Georges

Photo by Steven Georges

Melinda Schupmann – Arts In LA

Playwright Thomas Gibbons says the title of this play refers to the feeling that people have when they’re confronted with a very realistic robot: a feeling of fascination. He adds, “But the more realistic the robot becomes, at some point that fascination turns to a kind of revulsion. They’re creeped out, and that effect is called the ‘uncanny valley.’” Read more…

Now running through May 7

KISS at the Odyssey Theatre

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Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

I have always been a proponent of good political theatre, not agitprop theatre such as written by Italian playwright Dario Fo. I prefer political writing that is more balanced like the great teleplays that David E. Kelley wrote for L.A. Law…Read more…

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón sets his play in the apartment of a young woman named Hadeel (Kristin Couture), who is hosting a soap-opera watching party for her friends. Read more…

Photo by  Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In Kiss, directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theatre, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón explores the gap (one might say chasm) in perspective between people who live in a war-free society (ourselves, at least for now), and those trapped in the horrors of war who are subject to atrocities committed by vile men, like Syria’s Assad. Read more…

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

Critics have been asked to not give away the plot of this play. Out of respect to the theater, the work’s playwright, and its director, most of us won’t. But good luck to anyone who tries to describe the work and the potent sensations it induces. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Both in theater and in life, things are often not what they seem to be. The power of perspective is a strong influence in Kiss, a play by Guillermo Calderón currently in its west coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre. Read more…

Now running through June 18

RABBIT HOLE at the Lounge Theatre

Photo Credit: John Geronilla

Photo Credit: John Geronilla

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

In a typical suburban home, a woman folds laundry—a young child’s clothes—as she chats with her sister. It’s all typical enough until the sister hesitantly reveals she is pregnant. As we quickly learn, this is a difficult and loaded topic because her nephew, the woman’s child, was recently killed in a tragic accident.    Read more…

Now running through May 14

LONE STAR at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Elephant Stageworks)

Photo by Elephant Stageworks)

Neal Weaver  – Stage Raw

In James McClure’s one-act comedy, three men hang out in the parking lot at Angel’s Bar in Maynard Texas in 1981. Roy (Christopher Jordan) is a Vietnam vet. Before he went off to war, he was a kind of local hero, famous for his 1959 pink convertible Thunderbird and his way with women. Read more…

Now running through May 7

PURE CONFIDENCE – Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble at Sacred Fools Theater

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

African-Americans figured prominently in American horseracing in the mid 19th century. Many trainers were slaves who worked on farms in the South, taking care of the horses for their owners. Some slaves also became jockeys, earning money (that they were able to keep for themselves) by auctioning off their riding skills to the highest bidder. Read more…

Now running through May 14

WEST SIDE STORY at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

West Side Story (musical) by McCoy Rigby, April-May 2017

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Are there any opening notes in musical theater more iconic and instantly recognizable than those of West Side Story? No matter the iteration, the story and music are classic enough to have endured the test of time, resulting in a rare musical where you can hear a ripple of excitement in the audience at the beginning of almost every song. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

West Side Story — Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet — is known for its deft staging that showcases energetic choreography as executed by a talented and youthful cast. While this latest production of the iconic show, presented by La Mirada Theatre, features two excellent performances, sloppy dancing and chaotic staging ultimately sabotage the powerful text. Read more…

Now running through May 14

FARRAGUT NORTH at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

What’s it like being a high-level presidential campaigner? You know, one of the folks who tell candidates what to say and how to say it. They ain’t no lilies of the field. The long hours are grueling, and oh do they spin.  Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Beau Willimon’s 2008 play Farragut North was loosely based on 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean’s campaign.Read more…

Now running through May 21

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…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Can an Elvis Impersonator reinvent himself as a drag queen? Better yet, can an impoverished married straight man with a child on the way become a successful star drag act? Upon this thin premise hangs Matthew Lopez’s hilariously outrageous The Legend of Georgia McBride at The Geffen Playhouse. 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.)

Margaret Gray – LA Times

In John Strand’s snappy, timely, contrived drama “The Originalist,” now at the Pasadena Playhouse, it’s 2012, and a liberal law-school graduate named Cat has applied for a clerkship with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Read more…

Now running through May 7