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Archive for ArtsBeatLA – Page 2

LUNATICS AND ACTORS at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

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Jenny Lower – Stage Raw

Lunatics & Actors, the latest world premiere by Jeremy Aluma’s clowning troupe Four Clowns, is less a fixed narrative than a series of funny, unpredictable, and menacing vignettes that excavate the distinction between creative performance and insanity.

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Four Clowns’ newest theatrical staging is Lunatics & Actors, written by David Bridel. Bridel’s one-act drama is posited as an anthropological and scientific experiment in progress, with some results and further experimentation being presented this night to a collection of interested persons (being us, the audience).  The play commences when an eccentric neurologist, Dr. Duchenne du Boulogne (Thaddeus Shafer) introduces himself to us and explains his work to date; being the science of electrophysiology. Read more...

Now running through May 28

CURRENCY at VS. Theatre

Stephanie Fishbein Photography

Stephanie Fishbein Photography

Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw

This world premiere comedy from Los Angeles playwright Jennie Webb has its moments of glorious insanity and humor, but not enough of them to make it a full-on success. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Jennie Webb’s hilarious new play Currency, is a sly commentary on modern relationships — both the intimate kind and familial ones. It begins in the abundantly chintzy yet palatial bedroom of Helen (Dale Waddington) – scenic design is by Krystyna Loboda. It’s the morning after her boyfriend Dan (Warren Davis) has spent the night and, judging by their awkward but friendly banter, it’s the first time he has done so.  Read more…

Now running through May 21

STAGE KISS at the Geffen Playhouse

 

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Photo by Michael Lamont

Jenny Lower – LA Weekly

More than any contemporary playwright who comes to mind, Sarah Ruhl’s characters inhabit worlds wholly her own. Even when she adopts a historical setting, as with In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), her lyrical sensibility fashions heightened realities, where a house of string or a dead man’s perpetually ringing cellphone seem natural. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania

Stage Kiss, now featured at the Geffen Playhouse, offers both belly laughs and belly aches. Many zingers leave audiences gasping for air between chortles, but the play feels empty because of sketchy characterizations and a fuzzy interpretation of Shakespeare’s frequently quoted, “All the world is a stage.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Sarah Ruhl’s insular comedy is set in the world of the theater. Act One begins with an audition then sees its way through to opening night. Act Two follows our leading pair and the aftermath of their off-stage love affair. Stage Kiss is chock full of in-jokes and ‘theaterly’ sight gags and business, but none of it proves all that funny. Read more…

Now running through May 15

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at the Ahmanson Theatre

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

There are numerous delights to be found in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder — the raucously hilarious musical play that opened last night at the Ahmanson Theatre. The ingenious and lavish puppet theater-like set, designed by Alexander Dodge; the gorgeously detailed period costumes, designed by Linda Cho; the clever book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and lovely music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, all beautifully played by a live orchestra and sung by a cast with astounding voices.    Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

I’m often disappointed with the touring versions of shows that did well on Broadway or in London, so it was a very pleasant surprise to find that the current production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder at the Ahmanson is excellent on every level. Based on the same source material as the classic film Kind Hearts and Coronets, this show is a dark delicacy of exquisite charm. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

How do they do it? As great artists, legendary sports coaches and our favorite schoolteachers will tell us, it’s all in the fundamentals.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” at the Ahmanson through May 1, is the lightest, brightest musical tour to swing through Los Angeles in a handful of theatrical ages. It demands nothing from its audiences except to enjoy every moment. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is a delectable concoction of a musical. True, it may not have you rolling in the aisles every single minute of its two hour and thirty minute length. But the show, directed by Darko Tresnjak (who also directed the 2013 Tony-winning Broadway original), has a lot to offer….Read more…

Now running through May 1

POCATELLO – Rogue Machine at The Met

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

If you google the town of Pocatello in Southwest Idaho, you’ll get images of dusty hills and a downtown whose architecture might have served as nostalgic backdrop for The Last Picture Show. The place is changing though; look long enough and you’ll see a shot of a Ross store as well, and signs of a bland commercial culture metastasizing across the landscape. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Everyone seems to be on the brink of crisis in Samuel D. Hunter’s drama Pocatello, now playing at Rogue Machine Theatre’s new home base theater in East LA. In Hunter’s one-act drama, numerous characters grapple with emotional and spiritual isolation in a remote Mid-western town.   Read more…

Now running through April 10

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

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

MY SISTER at the Odyssey Theatre

Photo by Enci Box

Photo by Enci Box

 Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Sometimes all a play really needs is two characters and some genuine emotion. Set in 1930s Berlin, playwright Janet Schlapkohl’s evocative two-hander tells of a pair of identical twin sisters (played by bona fide identical twins Elizabeth Hinkler and Emily Hinkler) beset by troubles as the Nazis rise in power all around them. Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Two sisters — identical twins — eke out an existence, sharing a single room in Berlin during the mid 30s. Magda (played by Emily Hinkler) is a lowly orderly at a hospital by day, though her dream career as singer and comedienne at a nightclub is starting to take off. Matilda (played by Elizabeth Hinkler) is afflicted with cerebral palsy, which greatly impairs her movements but not her mental faculties. She stays at home writing poetry as well as sketches and comedy routines for her sister to perform.  Read more…

Margaret Gray – LA Times

Horror doesn’t always announce its arrival; it can overtake us gradually. Few occupants of Germany in the years after World War I, for example, could have predicted the Holocaust, although in retrospect the signs look so clear.

Read more…

Now running through March 6

1984 at the Broad Stage

1984

Photo by Ben Gibbs

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

A chilling stage adaptation of Orwell’s novel 1984 is now playing at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica through February 6. This adaptation,  written and directed  by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, highlights today’s serious issues of state-sponsored surveillance, identity and intrusions into our privacy.     Read more…

Terry Morgan  -  Stage Raw

Another day, another show brought to us from across the pond or the continent, borne upon the wings of great reviews. It’s distressingly common, unfortunately, for L.A. producers to import a play that has garnered plaudits in New York or London only for local audiences to discover how bewilderingly wrong those critics were. The new adaptation of George Orwell’s1984 by the Headlong theatre company has a few moments of creative direction, but overall it’s a turgid, baffling disappointment.     Read more…

Now running through  February 6.

INTERVIEW WITH MICHEL LAPRISE – WRITER & DIRECTOR OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S “KURIOS.” by Pauline Adamek

Michel Laprise

Pauline Adamek  – ArtsBeatLA

With his impish smile and boyish, childlike glee, artist Michel Laprise comes across as a fun and genial person with a vast imagination. But the creator (writer and director) of KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities™ — the newest Cirque du Soleil extravaganza to come to Southern California — is evidently an extremely hard worker. His main objective with this stunning show, that premiered in Montreal around a year ago, was somehow to breathe new life force into the widely adored company. In particular, Laprise set out to reinvent the internationally renowned troupe with this dazzling touring show that they have now brought to Cali. 

Read more..

Cirque siamese

STRAIGHT WHITE MEN at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

SWM_CraigSchwartz

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

As a theater critic, I find myself writing perhaps disproportionally about plays with race, gender and sexuality issues — those subjects being responsible for a disproportionate amount of the most meaningful work being created — for which I am arguably ill-equipped to discuss, falling back on the presumptive faith that art is still art.

Read more…

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Three adult brothers gather at their Dad’s home for Christmas and goof around. When the youngest brother Drew (Frank Boyd) is overcome with emotion during their Christmas Eve takeout Chinese meal, the others struggle to understand what’s bothering him.

Read more…

 

Now running through December 20.

 

OUTSIDE MULLIGAR at the Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

The committed theatergoer, confronted with the prospect of a play set in Ireland, may well inquire, “First of all, is it one of the light ones or one of the dark ones?” Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Outside Mullingar feels like a memory play of the distant past that is set in modern times. The farming territory of Killucan, Ireland, has a timeless aura. Into this delicate setting, Shanley beautifully tells a quiet tale of unrequited love, where the characters are not so much repressed, but gloomy about what they think they can’t have. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

Bob Verini’s Stage Raw review of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar places the show squarely within its proper context, and though much of his take is unassailable, I regard the play with more susceptible affection — though in the Irish manner, all such sentiment and despair are to be doubted in equal measure.    Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Exit Reviews are a series of ‘vlogs’ or brief video reviews, giving first impressions of the show.   Read more…

Now running through December 20