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Archive for Paul Birchall – Page 2

LUSTING AFTER PIPINO’S WIFE at Theatre 68

Photo by Doren Sorrell)

Photo by Doren Sorrell)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

According to director/performer Ronnie Marmo, this production of Sam Henry Kass’s comedy is a 25th anniversary staging of a show that he remembers fondly from when he acted in it many years ago. To my mind, however, the play’s mix of calculatedly quirky romantic situations and abrasively eccentric characters has aged quite poorly. I’m not sure why. Read more…

Now running through April 19

 

SHADES OF DISCLOSURE at the Skylight Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger)

Photo by Ed Krieger)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

It’s not helpful to dwell on the generation gap between the young and the old, particularly in the world of LGBTQ folks. The young possess the great currency of youth — beauty, brashness, opportunity. By contrast, if capitalist culture markets to Queers at all, the older folks are shunted to the side…..Read more…

Now running through February 25

 

GRIMLY HANDSOME at City Garage

(Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

I am taking an online class from my old college about comparative fairy tales – not the cutesy Disney stuff, but the darker, more horrifying tales of little children falling into wells and drowning, or witches being shoved into ovens and roasted alive. So perhaps it was no surprise that, as I was watching playwright Julia Jarcho’s dark kaleidoscopic tale of danger and menace, I suddenly realized, “Oh my goodness – this is just Little Red Riding Hood!” Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

Everyone involved in bringing “Grimly Handsome” to life at Santa Monica’s City Garage has done all the necessary work. Still, the play will feel like a farrago, unless the audience is willing to patiently dig in to sort out the threads. Read more…

Now running through February 26

 

WHEN LIVES MATTER: THE PLAY at the Lounge Theatre

Photo: Courtesy of When Lives Matter: The Play)

Photo: Courtesy of When Lives Matter: The Play)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

It may be one of the unintended consequences of the 2017 Presidential Ascension of the Infernal One that we have a chance to witness the blooming of art in protest and an attempt to confront and shake up the new status quo. If we are lucky, there will be many plays like playwright/director Monti Washington’s passionate and thought-provoking meditation on race in the U.S., including ruminations on the philosophy surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. Read more…

Now running through January 22

SYNTHESIS at the Dorie Theatre at the Complex

(Photo by Kim Beavers)

(Photo by Kim Beavers)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright Paul Shoulberg’s dark sardonic comedy is a tale of finding love within the rubble of one’s damaged psyche. It’s a work that brings to mind Hemingway’s old koan, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

My first review of 2017 is of “a new play about God, rehab, and a fern.” So says the tagline for the World Premiere of Paul Shoulberg’s Synthesis at The Dorie, directed by Stan Zimmerman. Read more…

Now running through January 29

IN THE BALANCE at Studio/Stage

(Photo by Riley Beckham)

(Photo by Riley Beckham)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Playwright A. David Redish’s odd drama is a weird mix of Blithe Spirit and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. This pitch is likely to have you thinking that the show might be better than it is. So it gives no me pleasure to note that Steve Jarrard’s awkwardly executed production will leave you thinking you’ve seen a sloppy mess rather than anything mystical and quirky. Read more…

Now running through December 11

URINETOWN at the Historic Lankershim Arts Center

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Photo by Nardeep Khurmi

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

It is a terrible thing for a theater critic to admit, but I’d never seen this scabrously funny Tony Award-winning musical, about the price put on the most fundamental of bodily functions, before attending the Coeurage Theatre Company’s fresh and sprightly production.    Read more…

Now running through February 25

THE STAND-IN at the Bootleg Theatre

 

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

(Photo by Darrett Sanders)

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Sometimes a play can go up a little too early — and I am afraid that is the case with this drama co-written by Alicia Adams and Peter Monro. Its bones are in all the right places, but its narrative is slight and its tone is heavy and flat.Read more…

Now running through November 5

THE PORTMAN DELUSIONS at the Raven Theatre

Photo by Stephen Borasch

Photo by Stephen Borasch

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Adam Mervis’s romantic satire, set amongst a group of youngish Los Angelinos, is caparisoned with many of the bells and whistles of the millennial generation: Mentions of Tinder and Bumble, ipads, video games, and bitcoin abound, as well as the (quite narratively irrelevant) spiritual presence of the actress Natalie Portman, who is a strange underlying theme here for some reason. Read more…

Now running through November 4

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Mark Taper Forum

L-R: Jason Dirden, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, Keith David and Lillias White in August Wilson?s ?Ma Rainey?s Black Bottom,? directed by Phylicia Rashad, playing through October 16, 2016, at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772. Contact: CTGMedia@ctgla.org/ (213) 972-7376. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

At the Opening Night performance of director Phylicia Rashad’s powerful staging of playwright August Wilson’s modern classic Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I found myself seated next to a gentleman who claimed to be one of the agents for one of the performers in the show. He promptly loosened his tie and shrugged off his blazer. “Better make myself comfortable,” he noted. “It’s kind of warm in here and Wilson doesn’t write short.” Read more…

Dany Margolies – The Daily Breeze

The late, greatly missed August Wilson wrote 10 plays for the 10 decades of the last century. Some of them come through Los Angeles often enough that we can compare productions, particularly because Mark Taper Forum and Fountain Theatre have a penchant for, and a talent for, Wilson’s works. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

Center Theatre Group’s vibrant production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom fills the Mark Taper Forum stage with powerhouse performances. Lillias White brings down the house with her rendition of the title song, but it is the four band members, played by Keith David, Glynn Turman, Damon Gupton, and Jason Dirden, who take center stage with electricity and chemistry. Read more…

Now running through October 16

PARALLEL LIVES at the Falcon Theatre

Photo by Sasha A. Venola

Photo by Sasha A. Venola

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

The spirits of Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy cast a long shadow over director Jenny Sullivan’s mostly straightforward production of this one time off-Broadway hit.  (Gaffney and Najimi were the original writer/performers of this two-person comic show, which won an Obie in 1989 and was later produced on HBO in 1994.)    Read more…

Now running through September 18

CAPTAIN OF THE BIBLE QUIZ TEAM – Rogue Machine at Various Locations

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Dany Margolies  -  Arts In LA

In a tiny church, a battle wages. That battle has been nearly settled by American law, it seems to be settling in large urban areas. But in the hearts and minds of the congregation at Kandota Lutheran Church in Little Sauk, Minn., it’s still a stubbornly fought war.Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

Directed by Michael Michetti, playwright Tom Jacobson’s compelling drama is a powerful meditation on faith and prejudice. It’s staged with a deceptive simplicity that belies layers of thought-provoking philosophy and emotion. Read more…

Now running through October 3