Layout Image

Archive for Paul Birchall

THE SECRET OF THE WINGS – Coeurage Theatre Company at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center

(Photo by John Klopping)

(Photo by John Klopping)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

If your concept of a fairy tale is based on Disney’s saccharine stories in which the Little Mermaid easily finds love or Belle blissfully enjoys the company of the oddly photogenic beast, playwright Mary Zimmerman’s gorgeously rendered adaptation of a number of fantastic stories will frankly blow your mind.
Read more…

Now running through December 16

WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN at Boston Court Performing Arts Center

2017_With_Love_0021

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Some people go through life with their heart on their sleeve, while others are much more guarded, desperate to protect their hearts from being broken. In With Love and a Major Organ, a whimsical, poignant play by Julia Lederer currently in its west coast premiere at Boston Court Performing Arts Center, this concept is taken a step further. Read more…

Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema

Midway through playwright Julia Lederer’s feather-light, yet rather droning romantic comedy, a character literally reaches into her own chest and pulls out her heart, which thumps and pumps and leaks blood into the padded envelope she shoves it into. The lovesick woman then leaves it in a New York City subway station for the man she hopes to catch. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

In playwright Julia Lederer’s With Love and A Major Organ, a West Coast premiere directed by Jessica Kubzansky at Boston Court, a warm spontaneous woman falls ardently in love with a stranger she meets on the subway.  The main idea — a quest for love requited —may be as old as the hills, but Lederer’s wit and poetical language, along with Kubzansky’s directorial finesse and state-of the-art staging, makes for a beguiling evening of theater. Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson –The Stage Struck Review

Recently, as part of an assignment at a nearby public high school, students experimented at a local mall to see what people their age would do if a stranger (also their age) came up to try to engage them in conversation. Over and over, the subjects of their experiment would look down at their phones – use their electronic social network to avoid talking to a real person. Interestingly, that was the expected result, according to the teens.
Read more…

Now running through November 5

DAYTONA at Rogue Machine Theatre at the MET

(Photo by John Perrin Flynn)

(Photo by John Perrin Flynn)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright Oliver Cotton’s elegiac and unexpectedly thrilling drama carries the weight of the world on its shoulders — not just the pain and sadness of growing older, or of lost or squandered love, but the legacy of the Holocaust itself.

Read more…

Now running through October 30

SEQUENCE at Theatre 40

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

In playwright Arun Lakra’s quick-witted, if perhaps overly cerebral piece, it isn’t a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover that makes someone lucky — it’s genetic predisposition.  Or perhaps it’s an evolutionary adaptation that allows people to peer into the future, quantum physics-style, and somehow bring about their future happiness.
Read more…

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Imagine writing a play in the hopes of creating as complex a double helix as a strand of DNA. That appears to be the intent of Arun Lakra, whose “Sequence” is at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. Complex it is, at least in volume though not necessarily in nuance. Still, the play proves artfully directed enough that the script’s overt nature is, to some extent, overcome.
Read more…

Now running through August 20

 

 

THE MARRIAGE ZONE at the Secret Rose Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Frances Baum Nicholson – The Daily Breeze

Perhaps the two greatest dangers in producing an original work of theater is either directing your own performance or directing your own play. In either case, the absolutely necessary second opinion — the critique needed to make sure the thing is the best it can be — is lacking. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

My favorite episodes of Doctor Who, that amazing TV series about a time traveling alien that’s run for about 40 years, are the ones in which the Doctor meets earlier versions of himself.  When the older character meets the younger character, there are always jokes about how the younger version hates how he turned out — while the older version always criticizes the younger version’s taste or intelligence or what have you. Read more…

Now running through August 27

 

NICKY – Coeurage Theatre Company at Greenway Court Theatre

(Photo by John Klepping)

(Photo by John Klepping)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright Boni B. Alvarez cunningly adapts Anton Chekhov’s 19th century drama “Ivanov,” shifting the setting from the Russian provinces to California’s own land of internal exile  (that is, if you’re a gay man of a certain age), Palm Springs.   Read more…

Now running through July 1

≈ [ALMOST EQUAL TO] at City Garage Theatre

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

In addition to challenging the Stage Raw copy editing department with a title that uses one of those squiggly math signals, playwright Jonas Hassen Khemeri’s powerful drama embraces such a multitude of themes that it’s hard to adequately sum them up. One thing’s for sure, though: Donald Trump would hate the work’s incredibly scathing invective against capitalism.Read more…

Now running through July 2

DON’T YOU EVER CALL ME ANYTHING BUT MOTHER at Atwater Village Theatre

(Photo by Jen-Ann Kichmeier

(Photo by Jen-Ann Kichmeier

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The second in a set of two one-person plays, John O’Keefe’s Don’t Ever Call Me Anything But Mother may be that unique monologue that is literally unlike anything you’ve witnessed before — though whether it will beguile or appall you really depends on your mood and ability to deal with creepy darkness. Read more…

Now running through May 30

ADAM AND EVIE at City Garage

Photo by Paul Rubenstein

Photo by Paul Rubenstein

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

While I’m not familiar with all — or even most — of Charles Mee’s work, it’s a safe bet that Adam and Evie, directed by Frédérique Michel at City Garage, is one of his gentler, sweeter plays. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Love is madness, just as it is unique and self-contained. The way you fall in love with your beloved will be different from the way Joe Shmoe across the way falls in love. Playwright Charles L. Mee understands this, and so does his interpreter, director Frederique Michel, evidenced in this sweet, if tepidly involving production which strives to depict the nature and essence of romantic attachment.     Read more…

Now running through April 24

 

 

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at Antaeus Theatre Company

Steven C. Kemp

Steven C. Kemp

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Antaeus Theatre Company inaugurates their lovely new Glendale performance space with this tremendously stylish production of Tennessee Williams’ family drama. The play tells the story of a desperate woman named Maggie (the “cat” of the title) her depressed alcoholic husband Brick, and the battle for the estate of Brick’s father, the intimidating Big Daddy. Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

“What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?” While the cat’s case is less clear, there are many victories to be found in Antaeus Theatre Company’s take on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which marks the inaugural production at their beautiful new home….Read more…

Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly

Tennessee Williams’ 1955 potboiler Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has more than one story to tell, and in the premiere performance I saw last week, directed by Cameron Watson at Antaeus Theatre Company’s new digs in Glendale, it was Big Daddy’s story that captivated my attention.   Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams are considered by most to be the three foremost American playwrights of the 20th Century. Of that trio, Mr. Williams has always been my particular favorite. Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Like an abandoned lover, the double bed at the center of Brick and Maggie’s bedroom seems to writhe and cry out in loneliness, in Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Read more…

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

The Antaeus Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a handsome production and extremely well acted (this review is of The Buttered Biscuits cast), but unfortunately the play itself feels extremely dated. The characters are often one-note in their misery and the dialogue is tediously repetitive. Read more…

 

 

Now running through May 7

 

THE CRUISE – Latin Theater Company at Los Angeles Theater Center

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Photo by Grettel Cortes

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

A cruise ship is a metaphor for the world in microcosm.  All classes and strata of society live together within the boundaries of the little tin ship, which is surrounded by the nothingness of the great sea. Read more…

Now running through April 19

 

PARADISE LOST: RECLAIMING DESTINY at Greenway Court Theatre

Photo by Anthony Roldan

Photo by Anthony Roldan

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

You don’t need to brush up on your Milton to enjoy this splendid adaptation of his great epic Paradise Lost, which tells the story of Satan’s consignment to Hell and Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden. Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, creator of this gorgeous and dynamic shindig, has crafted the work into a ballet, with Cirque Du Soleil-like acrobatic undercurrents. Read more…

Now running through April 2