A Litmus Test: The Difference Between the Serious Los Angeles Theater Critic and Everybody Else

Exhibit A: The theater production entitled A or B? currently playing at the Falcon Theatre. Exhibit B: The current LemonMeter Rating for said production which stands at 90% Sweet. Now I wanted this baby to land firmly before I really dug into it, let all the reviews settle like a soufflé, let the production finds […]

DR. FAUSTUS (INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE COMPANY): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET In a play about a man’s bargain with the devil, either the man or the devil – but ideally both – should fascinate or intrigue, certainly more than they do here. Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw SWEET An ISC Studio production always rides the edge. If you only know the company from its large […]

THIS IS BANNED: 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Though directors Price and JR Esposito prove far more self-assured with sci-fi than horror, their ungainly staging of the latter cannot fully obscure Macher’s thought-provoking meditation on the fragile denial that enables humankind’s most destructive of impulses. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Playwright Samantha Macher has a poetic command of language. Her use […]

Gail E. Gabler Named as Actors’ Equity’s New Western Regional Director/Assistant Executive Director

That’s the news from AEA (thanks for the tip, Rob!) naming Gail E. Gabler as the new Western Regional Director AND Assistant Executive Director, replacing the now-you-see-hiim-now-you-don’t tenure of Ralph Remington.  Hmmm. From what I’ve been able to glean, Ms. Gabler cut her teeth with the very hard-nosed SEIU that was involved with the whole Janitors for Justice […]

SCREAM! (ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET The world premiere of the unauthorized parody musical “Scream!” at the Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Feliz includes a star studded cast and hilarious satirical humor, all to the background of the ultimate sing-a-long 90s playlist sung by a cast full of powerhouse vocalists. Sidne Phillips – Neon Tommy SWEET It’s all very […]

Award Winning Los Angeles Theater Critic Myron Meisel Resigns from The Hollywood Reporter

Say it ain’t so! Just got word of this through a couple of my birdies. Myron won LA Weekly’s Excellence in Criticism award this year and his writings at The Hollywood Reporter have always been some of the most intelligent and most incisive in the city. Though I’m guessing someone with Myron’s talent is not going […]

  • Other Recent Articles

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    PIPPIN (PANTAGES): 93% – SWEET

    SWEET The promise of the show’s opening number “Magic to Do” was lived up to with Houdini-esque virtuosity. “Pippin” was a show that inspired teens from the 1970s to pursue the dream of singing and dancing on Broadway. This entrancing revival will no doubt inspire a new generation to do the same. Don’t miss it. […]

  • 1969: 75% - BITTERSWEET

    1969: 75% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET The basics of a good story and good drama are here, but Morgan doesn’t provide adequate, convincing heft to these characters, or to the structure of her plot. Oddly, she saves her most effective, incisive writing for a final scene between Ajamu and Butler’s love-smitten wife Grace (Megan Weaver), at which point we learn […]

  • YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (CHROMOLUME): 90% - SWEET

    YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (CHROMOLUME): 90% – SWEET

    SWEET Cate Caplin directs with flair and imagination, with lively assist from Samantha Whidby’s choreography. Buoyant musical accompaniment by Jeff Bonhiver on keyboard and Tyler Smith on drums. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre Spoken Here SWEET This production is a scaled down version of the show, in a very small intimate theatre, and one that […]

  • PREMEDITATION (ENCUENTRO 2014): 100% - SWEET

    PREMEDITATION (ENCUENTRO 2014): 100% – SWEET

    SWEET The play is brilliantly staged. Directed by LATC artistic director Jose Luis Valenzuela, it’s 1940s noir mixed with Sirk-esque melodrama that plays out like some strange mix of Double Indemnity meets Written on the Wind. The combination of style allows for the characters to walk the fine line of fully realized and caricature. Luckily, […]

  • Critique of the Week

    Critique of the Week

    Just take out your notepads, LA Theater Critics, and go to school on this one from Ern the Mick. Besides being smart and inquisitive, it’s also an entertaining read. Some ask that the critic not draw attention to themselves when they review, me, I want to get to know the critic as much as I […]

  • Critique of the Week - Runner Up

    Critique of the Week – Runner Up

    Sometimes blunt is all you need to be a COW. FOREVER Brian Sonia-Wallace – ArtsBeatLA Forever was, to quote an elderly gentleman leaving the theatre, “not my cup of tea.” The latest creation of writer/actress Dael Orlandersmith, this one-woman show is a piece of straight-up storytelling that just bored this reviewer. The writing is repetitive, […]

  • Critique of the Week - Runner Runner Up

    Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

    Hey, you don’t see a review written in the form of an “ironic free verse shaped as a totem” very often. You just don’t. So…here ya go… PREMEDITATION Andrea Kittelson – LA Examiner LATC artistic director and UCLA professor José Luis Valenzuela directs an outrageous mock noir written by (and starring) Evalina Fernández that lowlights […]

  • How to Make Any Review Sound Pretty Darn Good and Other Adventures in Theater Marketing...

    How to Make Any Review Sound Pretty Darn Good and Other Adventures in Theater Marketing…

    Saw this on Jason the Roar’s Facebook page (it’s not a private forum people!) and then of course on the Vagrancy Facebook page (still not a private forum!). The overall review is definitely a Bittersweet one, encouraging but not convinced, if I might be so bold as to interpret. You can read the whole thing right here. […]

  • THE DIVINERS (ACTORS CO-OP): 90% - SWEET

    THE DIVINERS (ACTORS CO-OP): 90% – SWEET

    BITTERSWEET Set in rural Indiana in the early 1930s, Jim Leonard Jr.’s 1980 play, “The Diviners,” drips with a period regionalism that is almost folkloric in tone. The play requires careful handling, or its characters can lapse into stereotype. In his current staging at Actors Co-op, director Mark Henderson does not always avoid that pitfall. […]

  • The Saturday Saying

    The Saturday Saying

    “I began this review by discussing the advantage to theaters of producing one-person shows, and the short-cut writing a personal memoir offers. Orlandersmith often consulted a notebook as she expounded on her story. But the number of times she seemed to stumble suggests it was not well rehearsed and undermines the notion that the notebook […]

  • THE SHADOW BOX (RAVEN PLAYHOUSE): 100% - SWEET

    THE SHADOW BOX (RAVEN PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

    SWEET The direction under Catherine Michaels was light and pure. The staging was that of a seasoned ballet choreographer, beautifully seamless. Cheers are to be given to Catherine for allowing a piece, that could be complicated and heavy, to be something relatable and compassionate. Dianne Williams – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET The crux of this story is […]

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    WEDDING BAND: A LOVE/HATE STORY IN BLACK & WHITE (ANTAEUS): 93% – SWEET

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  • Sylvie Drake on Why Theatre Will Survive: But Watch out for Those "Marketers"

    Sylvie Drake on Why Theatre Will Survive: But Watch out for Those “Marketers”

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    Dramaturgy Playlist: 5 Plays For Our Virtual Reality Future

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  • BROOMSTICK: 92% - SWEET

    BROOMSTICK: 92% – SWEET

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    Is the Recent Shuttering of the Odyssey Theatre’s “Othello” an Example of Some of the Deficiencies in the 99 Seat Plan?

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  • THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 83% - SWEET

    THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 83% – SWEET

    SWEET Adding depth and dimension to Didion’s script are Juan Sanson’s subtle sound effects and spare, softly ethereal music and Francois-Pierre Couture’s scenic work and color washes, projected onto a latticed screen behind Purl. More fierce than sorrowful, “Magical Thinking” is a remarkable portrait of grief and devotion. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET Under […]

  • VILLA THRILLA: 62% - BITTERSWEET

    VILLA THRILLA: 62% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET It’s a great premise, wonderful set, excellent actors but there is something missing. Maybe it’s the timing, perhaps the situation is too convoluted or maybe the dialog is not quite as funny in performance as it was thought to be at the table read. Jose Ruiz – Reviewplays BITTERSWEET This is a valiant effort […]

  • THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% - SWEET

    THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% – SWEET

    BITTERSWEET The problem with his acting — and this pertains also to Angelo’s — is that it strives for a relaxed naturalness that often seems artificial. Instead of rising to meet Strindberg’s tragi-comic style, he opts to make his character appealingly relatable for contemporary theatergoers. Johnson is more successful at locating the playwright’s bracingly mercurial […]

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  • GLORIOUS!: 67% - BITTERSWEET

    GLORIOUS!: 67% – BITTERSWEET

    BITTERSWEET The bad singing is handled better than the good jokes and if all the performers could, in the rest of the run, go as over the top as the funny script seems to calls for, then Glorious! might yet be a glorious comic experience. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts SWEET Needless to say, Quilter […]

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    WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING: 75% – BITTERSWEET

    SWEET There’s no sugarcoating the relentlessly downbeat mood here. Vivid impressions linger from Frédérique Michel’s fierce staging, which underscores the play’s austere geometric narrative structure with underplayed, admirably uniform performances and abstract choreography; the pent-up emotional floodgates open only in carefully controlled doses. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET From a fish magically dropping from […]

  • Some Upcoming Faves: Lost Moon Radio & Elevator Repair Service

    Some Upcoming Faves: Lost Moon Radio & Elevator Repair Service

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  • WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% - SWEET

    WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% – SWEET

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  • Critique of the Week (it's a tie!)

    Critique of the Week (it’s a tie!)

    Joel Beers is just too fucking good to be stuck down there in the OC. Not that there’s anything wrong with the OC, but Joel, baby, get your ass up here so you can shine some of your particular kind of light on some of these shows in the HollyHood. They need it! Somebody get […]

  • Critique of the Week

    Critique of the Week

    Some incredibly rich theater criticism from one of LA’s best. THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? Ernest Kearney – Working Author It is a question of passion in Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?” Not the mass produced, test marketed variety of “passion” favored by copywriters, but the genuine article, that all-consuming fervor […]

  • The Saturday Saying

    The Saturday Saying

    “This production, which had a successful run earlier this year at the small NoHo Arts Center in the San Fernando Valley, would be newsworthy alone for its move to an institutional theater like the Geffen, apparently in a bid for a New York opening. One can only pray that, contrary to established practice, this exemplary […]

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