Layout Image

Archive for Bob Verini – Page 4

SWITZERLAND at the Geffen Playhouse

switzerland-laura-linney

Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini – Variety

Writers of crime fiction are rarely as brutal or twisted as the characters they create. But meet Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), by general agreement a foul-mouthed misanthrope who spent decades detailing the psychotic narcissism lurking in humanity’s dark heart. Read more…

Hoyt Hilsman  -  Huffington Post

Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith was renowned for her intense psychological thrillers, particularly her series featuring the murderer Tom Ripley, but she was also known for her reclusive, abrasive and even hateful personality. Read more…

Myron Meisel – Stage Raw

If the unexamined life is not worth living, then for novelist Patricia Highsmith (Laura Linney, making her Los Angeles stage debut), detached dissector of amoral murder, the unimagined death may not be worth dying. This is suggested by Australian Joanna Murray-Smith’s new play Switzerland, an original commission by The Geffen Playhouse presented as a co-premiere with The Sydney Theatre Company. Read more…

Sharon Perlmutter  -  Talkin’ Broadway

There are some plays, like Small Engine Repair, in which the entertainment comes from truly not knowing what’s going to happen. If the plot is spoiled, the journey is much less fun. This causes something of a problem in telling you enough about the play for you to make an informed decision on whether you’ll enjoy it, while not telling you too much. Read more…

Now running through April 19.

CLOSER THAN EVER at the Hollywood Piano Store

cte

Photo by David Zack

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Book musicals and musical revues are two different animals, and it’s a rare theater songwriter or team that can crank out both. Many of the very best— Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Stephen Sondheim, and Frank Loesser come to mind—are responsible for brilliantly unified scores for world-class musical plays. Yet when you divorce their songs from their plots and link them together into a cabaret entertainment, the result is at best pedestrian… Read more…

Now running through March 15.

 

UNCLE VANYA – Chalk Repertory Theatre at the Neutra Institute Museum

SONY DSC

Photo courtesy of Chalk Rep Theatre

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

On a stage — and as often as not, in everyday life, but certainly on a stage — when a character announces, “I’m dying of boredom,” there’s always something else, something deeper going on. With those four spoken words, a character can communicate almost anything: “I’m hot to do something exciting; what can you suggest?” or “You disgust me and I can’t wait until you’re out of my presence,” or even “I would love it if you’d undress me and pitch mad, passionate love. em>Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

Chalk Rep’s Uncle Vanya (a new version by Libby Appel, based on Allison Horsley’s original translation, and directed by Larissa Kokernot) recalls Louis Malle’s 1994 film Vanya on 42nd Street, in that it’s almost like a rehearsal of the play, dutifully rendered. Read more…

Now playing through March 15.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Met Theatre

Photo by Michael Lamont

Photo by Michael Lamont

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

The singular feature of this vest-pocket staging by the DOMA Theatre Company—and the most compelling reason for attending—is the timeless score by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. Read more…

Paul Birchall  – Stage Raw

A spirit of youthful rebellion suffuses director Marco Gomez’s delightfully earnest and powerful production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice tuner about the life of Christianity’s biggest star. Read more…

Now running through March 22.

DAME EDNA’S GLORIOUS GOOD-BYE at the Ahmanson Theatre

dmed

http://artsinla.com/Theater_Reviews.html

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

…With diamond studs in her horned-rimmed glasses, the purple-wigged, megalomaniac alter ego of 80-year-old Australian Barry Humphries spends much of the evening goading her Ahmanson Theatre audience. Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Dame Edna! The mere title and name connote rapier wit, lightly off-color insults, and self-obsession, in the ultimate unabashed satire of celebrities’ narcissism, not to mention their closet contempt for the paying customers. Read more…

Now running through March 15.

ONE MUSICAL WHERE THE LEADING MAN SHOULD NOT SHINE

Photo by Ed Krieger

Photo by Ed Krieger

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

For one more weekend, through Sunday Feb. 8, there’s an absolutely smashing revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1970 Company in town. If you detect a note of surprise in that announcement, no offense is meant to the Cabrillo Music Theatre, which presents it, and especially not to Nick DeGruccio, who does a skillful, sophisticated job mounting the musical theater perennial. em>Read more…

REBORNING at the Fountain Theatre

la-et-cm-reborning-at-the-fountain-theatre-201-001

Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema

This fascinating drama by playwright Zayd Dohrn is set in the bizarre subculture of women who buy dolls that eerily resemble actual babies. Can this possibly be enough material here for a play? Read more…

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Roger Ebert once opined, “It’s not what a movie is about but how it is about it,” and the notion holds for plays as well. Read more...

Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA

A strange and disturbing play, Reborning by Zayd Dohrn introduces us to the world of one-of-a-kind, life-like baby dolls — aka ‘reborn’ dolls — and the people who desire them. But the story the playwright fashions around this premise is extremely questionable… Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

When Zayd Dohrn’s Reborning at the Fountain Theatre gets something right, it gets it so right that you may be left in a state of disorientation. That something is the gulf of incomprehension between Daizy and Kelly (Ryan Doucette and Joanna Strapp), an entrepreneurial couple not long out of art school, getting by in a Queens walk-up. Read more…

Now running through March 15.

THE SNOW QUEEN – Troubadour Theater Company at the Falcon Theatre

Photo by Jill Mamey

Photo by Jill Mamey

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

As surely as the Rockettes annually turn out to Occupy Radio City, Troubadour Theater Company uses December to command Burbank’s Falcon Theatre for a celebratory holiday mash-up of some sort of Christmas tale and a particular pop songbook. The Snow QUEEN, the sixth such expression of wassail I’ve encountered, is one of the company’s very finest: clever and vulgar and warm by turns, always funny and marked by superior theatricality. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz -  TheaterMania

For anyone who hasn’t gotten enough of Frozen or this blustery season of Once Upon a Time, the members of the comedy group The Troubadours have taken on the original Andersen tale, The Snow QUEEN, with their usual brand of buffoonery, including a toe-tapping song list by the rock group Queen. Read more…

Pauline Adamek  – Stage Raw

The Troubadour Theater Company’s annual Christmas show is a fan favorite, but happily it’s not all about the in-jokes (and there are many). This wacky retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s slightly obscure and dark fairytale focuses on a pair of Danish friends who become separated due to the whim of an evil Snow Queen. Read more...

Now running through January 18.

 

 

SHE LOVES ME at the Chance Theatre

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

Ill-advised, intrusive direction plagues the Chance Theater’s She Loves Me, and the casualty is the easy, unforced enjoyment traditionally associated with this jewel box of a musical, adapted from the 1940 Lubitsch classic The Shop Around the CornerRead more…

tn-500_shelovesme005_jpg_pagespeed_ce_E5kSU18C2YvOGa2MmX4f

Photo by Doug Catiller
True Image Studio

David C. Nichols – LA Times

The three essential qualities invoked in “She Loves Me” — attractive to the eye, pleasing to the ear and functional — generally emerge at Chance Theater in Anaheim. Though not without some quirks, this spry, full-hearted chamber edition of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joe Masteroff’s 1963 show delivers the romantic comedy goods, at least where it counts. em>Read more…

Now running through December 28.

 

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN at the Geffen Playhouse

HersheyFelderBerlin

Photo courtesy Geffen Playhouse

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Jerome Kern, no mean tunesmith, had a famous retort when asked about Irving Berlin’s place in American music. He has none, the Show Boat composer replied; “he is American music.” In a similar vein, one might say that Hershey Felder has no place among performers of musical biographical monologues. Read more...

David C. Nichols – LA Times

“I wrote for love. I wrote for my country. I wrote for you.”

Now running through December 21.

DIRTY at the Zephyr Theatre

Photo by Erica Brown

Photo by Erica Brown

Bob Verini -   Arts In LA

First things first: Dirty is by no means dirty, at least insofar as habitues of Melrose Avenue’s Zephyr Theatre might expect. That particular venue has hosted more than its share of full-frontal nudity and simulated sex acts over the years. Read more…

Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

In its rather earnest way, Andrew Hinderaker’s Dirty calls into question how the word “obscene” often applies to pornography but not to, say, mergers and acquisitions. In fact, the play strongly implies that sex is a kind of merger and acquisition, so why not profit from it? Read more…

Now running through December 21.

SCREAM at Rockwell Table and Stage

SCREAM-Elliot-Dal-Pra-London--4 (1)

Photo by Elliot Dal Pra

Bob Verini  -   Stage Raw

Rockwell Table and Stage, in Los Feliz, has long been the local locus of the interactive/immersive restaurant/musical. That means you eat and drink while the action is taking place all around you, and a pop diva is as likely to belt her showcase number in your lap, breathing on your onion rings from a platform stage a few feet away. Management is unveiling a new “Unauthorized Musical Parody Series” with a musicalized Scream, and a scream is exactly what it is. Read more…

Now running through December 6.