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Archive for Variety – Page 2

November, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum

Photo by Craig Schwartz.

 

November by David Mamet.

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

David Mamet’s grubby and farcical political play November, now playing at the Mark Taper Forum Downtown, is a riot of foul language and racial epithets, all tumbling from the mouth of the President of the United States, as daffily portrayed by Ed Begley Jr.  Read more…

 

David C. Nichols – Backstage

It’s a week before Election Day, and U.S. President Charles Smith is going down the toilet. The polls have the incumbent dead in the water. The national head of Smith’s own party can’t come up with more than $4,000 for last-minute ad wars. A prominent Native American chief is calling in his tribe’s government-ordained claim on Nantucket. The representative from the National Association of Turkey and Turkey By-Products Manufacturers wants to get a jump on the annual Thanksgiving pardon. Even the constantly telephoning first lady knows they’re bidding the White House adieu. She wants to take their couch, but it was re-upholstered on the taxpayer’s dime, as trusted dog wagger Archer Brown informs his beleaguered boss. Read more…

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com

Many of the modern-day U.S. presidents have been great public speakers, most have had their moments of dignity, a few have done great acts to better the nation. But, in every case, haven’t you wondered what each is like in the privacy of the Oval Office? Read more…

 

Bob Verini – Variety

David Mamet’s fleet, foulmouthed November peels back the Oval Office wallpaper to reveal a shlubby, nonentity president (Ed Begley Jr.) who, facing disaster in next week’s reelection bid, will say or do anything for a chance to hang on. At the Mark Taper Forum, helmer Scott Zigler has found the properly cool, uninflected tone for making jokes land. Better still, for all Mamet’s exaggerations, we readily believe — hell, since the Nixon tapes, we actually know — our leaders really do talk and think this way about us. This is satire with a scorpion’s sting. Read more…

 

Hoyt Hilsman – Huffington Post

David Mamet’s political farce November, which ran for six months on Broadway in 2008, gets a crackling revival at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Of course, this is lightweight Mamet, stuffed with one-line throwaways and f-bombs. But, in this election season, with the presidential campaigns spending billions and the attack ads flooding the airwaves, even the most farfetched farce has a remarkable resonance. Read more…

 

 

The Elephant Room, Center Theatre Group

Photo by Scott Suchman / Arena Stage

 

The Elephant Room created by Trey Lyford, Geoff Sobelle and Steve Cuiffo.

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

A creepy trio of lounge lizard magicians, sporting pedophile moustaches, cheesy outfits, hideous wigs and (in one case) false buck teeth, are the “protagonists” of a spoofy “play” called The Elephant Room, now playing at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City. But it’s not really a play at all. Instead it’s an ill-focused, poorly developed and chaotic assemblage of mildly amusing nonsense featuring a handful of extraordinary magic tricks outweighed by far too many gags, pratfalls and lame conjuring stunts that fail to impress. Think Spinal Tap for magicians… Yes, it’s clearly a send-up of the more tacky elements of the world of magic, but when you can actually SEE one of the magicians (Louie Magic) diving in and out of the voluminous pockets and secret compartments of his coat, that is what is known as prestidigitation FAIL.   Read more…

 

Bob Verini - Variety

What hath “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” wrought? The creators of “Elephant Room” may not have been directly inspired by Paul Reubens’ campy childhood takeoff, but the magic show now at the Kirk Douglas is cut from the same lightly smarmy, semi-surrealist, so-clunky-we’re-cool cloth. What Pee-wee pulls off, the Elephants muff: The framework of “Room” is incoherent and distasteful (beneath a wholesome veneer), and the performers spectacularly overestimate their personal appeal.  Read more…

 

 

The Blue Iris, Fountain Theatre

Photo by Ed Krieger.

 

The Blue Iris by Athol Fugard.

 

David C. Nichols - Backstage

In The Blue Iris, prolific South African playwright Athol Fugard treads delicately yet resolutely through the landscape of the heart. In doing so, the venerable 80-year-old dramatist cannot help clutching at ours, as this riveting U.S. premiere demonstrates.  Read more…

 

Sharon Perlmutter - TalkinBroadway.com

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of The Blue Iris, Athol Fugard’s latest play to have its U.S. premiere at the Fountain. It’s a small, intimate piece—much more about people than South Africa. To be sure, the play’s setting, the semi-desert of the Karoo, is the play’s catalyst, if not its actual antagonist. But the play features only South Africa as an inhospitable climate, not South Africa as a sociopolitical entity. It is a household who lives here—or, more accurately, lived here—that is the focus of The Blue Iris.   Read more…

 

Bob Verini - Variety

Athol Fugard’s “The Blue Iris” is deceptively simple: A desert farmhouse, just destroyed by lightning, is picked over for its treasures and memories. But secrets lurk in the ashes, too, and in just over an hour the South African master takes us on a journey of loss with the potential to move anyone who’s ever sifted through his or her life and feared what would be dug up. This little gem gets an exemplary American premiere mounting from helmer Stephen Sachs at Fugard’s self-described artistic home out west, Hollywood’s Fountain.  Read more…

 

Terry Morgan - LAist.com

One mixed blessing about being successful is that people can no longer tell you what to do, and if they try, it’s easy to ignore them. On the one hand, pure artistic freedom is a wonderful thing, but on the other hand, sometimes people need editors and sometimes plays need rewrites. I have no way of knowing what Athol Fugard’s artistic process is these days, but his latest work, The Blue Iris, (currently in its U.S. premiere in a solid production at the Fountain Theatre) is intermittently compelling but ultimately seems undercooked.   Read more…

 

 

The Grönholm Method, Baby Tiger Productions at the Falcon Theatre

Photo by Chelsea Sutton.

 

The Gronholm Method by Jordi Galcerán Ferrer. Translation by Anne Garcia-Romero and Mark St. Germain.

 

Sharon Perlmutter - TalkinBroadway.com

I was surprised to learn that The Grönholm Method was originally written in 2003; I would have guessed it came out of the “Greed is Good” late 1980s. Indeed, whenever this tale of a job interview from hell mentions Occupy Wall Street or any other recent event, the reference jumps out as awkward and out of place. The program tells us the action takes place in “the present,” but I just can’t believe that any corporation, in the context of a global recession, would put in the time and effort necessary to conduct the complex investigation into its job candidates’ personal and professional histories necessary to pull off this type of psychoanalytical pressure cooker of an interview.  Read more…

 

Bob Verini - Variety

Theaters hoping for another God of Carnage – another smart European four-hander Americanized for maximum comic impact – will find their grail in Jordi Galceran Ferrer’s The Grönholm Method, an absolutely smashing satire of corporate gamesmanship which (especially these days) hits audiences right where they live: in their livelihood. Although this riveting piece is going to have a long, long life, local auds might as well get in on the ground floor with BT McNicholl’s beautifully staged U.S. premiere at Burbank’s Falcon.  Read more…

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

I’ve been struggling to find a tasteful way to describe Jordi Galcerán Ferrer’s fine play that is currently running at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake, but I can’t seem to come up with a better term than ‘mind-fuck.’  Read more…

 

 

 

Memphis, Pantages Theatre

Production photo by Paul Kolnik.

 

Memphis by David Bryan (music and lyrics) and Joe DiPietro (lyrics and book).

 

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

Kicking off with a frenetic pace that never lets up, Memphis is a high energy, original musical about the explosion of black musical artists into the mainstream during the late 1950s.  Read more…

 

Bob Verini – Variety

The sleek, stylish Memphis exemplifies the Broadway show tour done very right indeed. Having assembled a first-rate cast, original helmer Christopher Ashley and original choreographer Sergio Trujillo skillfully bring out the musical and thematic strengths of the surprise 2010 Tony winner while rendering its weaknesses mostly negligible. With no dollar visibly unspent, this fable of rock ‘n’ roll’s birth serves up plenty of melody and heart along with enough energy to light up its titular city.  Read more…

 

 

Winners announced for 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards

Co-hosts Lesli Margherita and Jason Graae. Photo by Ed Krieger.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle has announced the winners and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles and Orange County theater for the year 2011.

You can now follow the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle on twitter via @LADramaCC.

The 43rd Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony took place Monday, March 19, 2012 at A Noise Within in Pasadena, and was co-hosted by Lesli Margherita and Jason Graae.

[Full list of nominees.]

The award recipients for the 2011 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:

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