RSSArchive for March, 2009

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

One of the great things about religion is that it’s so easy to make fun of it. They usually do all the work…

Light Posting

Sorry for being out of touch once again, folks. I was in Florida catching a screening of m short film “Memphis Calling” in the Florida Film Festival. It went well. People seemed to really like it. No one booed. I was approached by a sixteen year old girl asking me what advice I would give [...]

The “Beat” Doesn’t Go On

LA CityBeat has folded. Hopefully the always irascible Don Shirley will land somewhere…just so I can continue to bother him about those damn capsule reviews! Just more casualties from the world of print, folks. The times they are re-arrangin’. Hang in there, Don!

Memphis Calling

If any of you folk are in Buffalo, New York over the next couple weeks, an original one act play of mine entitled “Memphis Calling” is playing in the Buffalo Quickies One Act Festival at the Alleyway Theatre. Go check it out and let me know how it was!

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Old stunt ladies never die, they just fall down staircases.

“The Taming of the Shrew” (Noise Within): 100% Sweet

SWEET Demonstrating that the Bard’s tale of gender battles is truly timeless, director Geoff Elliott delivers a crisply executed production re-set in the 1950s — a nostalgia-inducing period that truly augments this well-known story. Dink O’Neal – Backstage SWEET A Noise Within’s production is also smartly produced. For one of the most colorfully rendered settings [...]

“Who Lives?”: 100% Bittersweet

BITTERSWEET The sincerity of the entire enterprise goes as far as possible to counter the vagaries of an old-school script that occasionally suggests several Stanley Kramer screenplays at once. Given its singular intent, however, “Who Lives?” is respectable. Those who have personal experience with its topic should perhaps bring Kleenex. David C. Nichols – LA [...]

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Talk about your gender confusion. It’s like Twelfth Night…on a tennis court… My favorite quote: “This is not a woman, it’s a man. She does not have the power of a woman and no woman has such a technique,” he added.

Critique of the Week

Stitching by Madeleine Shaner – Park La Brea News/Beverly Press I should start by saying this play isn’t for everyone, only anyone who has known the intensity of a mind/body/heart/soul addiction. Unless that addiction is accepted for what it is – an incurable need to know everything about the one to whom they’re addicted; to [...]

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

Lie With Me by Geoff Hoff – LA Theatre Review Upon entering the Art/Work Theatre, the audience is confronted by a very evocative set – three beds, one a small, messy single, surrounded by black-light posters, photographs and other accoutrement that seem transported to modern time by any disenfranchised radical from any year from 1967 [...]

A Union Without a Profession

The fact is that at any particular moment in time, 86% of Actors Equity members are out of work. The fact is that 55% of AEA members do not work at all during the course of a year. The fact is that the median income for working AEA members is $7340, which isn’t even rent [...]

“The Mystery of Irma Vep”: 80% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET Only the late Charles Ludlum, founding genius of NYC’s Ridiculous Theatre Company, could have combined so many hilariously affectionate Gothic send-ups in a single play: There are shades of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, plus The Mummy, Falconcrest, The Werewolf, and many vampire tales. To make the madness madder, Ludlum designed the play [...]

Opinion, Context, Perspective, Oh My!

Steven Leigh Morris showing us how to review a play. Granted the man’s got a little more page-width to work with then your average reviewer. But this is a terrific read all the way through, folks. Check it out!

“Macbeth”: 50% Bitter – UPDATED

BITTER But spotty acting by the rest of the cast — as well as an overall lack of theatrical inspiration — makes this production of Shakespeare’s tragedy a rather pedestrian affair. The supporting cast tends to oversell their lines (the younger cast members are far more guilty of this than their restrained elders) and the [...]

“The Letters”: 100% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET To reveal more would spoil intricate twists that both demand and reward close attention. Suffice it to say that Lowell’s cautionary drama is both a gripping portrait of a political system in which truth is merely a construct of convenience, and an object lesson in the unpredictable consequences. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET [...]

Snark Attack

Janna Monji has an interesting essay over at LA Examiner about critics and their need to “snark”. It was in response to Roger Ebert’s snark in response to Nikki Finke’s LIVE snarking on the Oscars. Gasp. I’m all snarked out. Here’s Ebert: Snarking is cultural vandalism. I have arrived at this conclusion belatedly. I have [...]

Feet to the Fire

Is it just me or are Don Shirley’s capsule reviews over at LA CityBeat just a little less “capsular”? Now I’m certainly not going to take credit for this even though we did have a good old fashioned tussle a little while back. Nevertheless, I’ve always found that honorable men become a little bit more [...]

“Frost/Nixon”: 89% Sweet

SWEET Separating fact from fiction is as tricky as it is vital in the case of a drama rooted in history such as ‘Frost/Nixon,’ the Peter Morgan play now making its West Coast debut at the Ahmanson Theatre (through March 29). Following its 2006 premiere at London’s Donmar Warehouse, 2007 Tony Award®-nominated Broadway run and [...]

Light Posting

Sorry about the light posting, folks. My kid hasn’t been well and duty calls. I’m way behind on many many shows and many many topics, so if your show isn’t up on the Lemon Meter please don’t feel slighted…just ignored. Kidding! All will be righted soon.

The Monday Moment

The Monday Moment

Thank God for farts.

Critique of the Week

Falling Upward by MR Hunter – Staghappenings Three cheers to iconic storyteller, Ray Bradbury as he turns his hand to more earthly situations in his charming Irish comedy that celebrates the virtues of friendship, community, and a stiff pint o’ beer. Set in the gathering house for the boyos, (working-class Irishmen), where no women and [...]

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

The Laws of Sympathy by F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times Ah, the perils -– and pleasures — of live theater. Unrehearsed and on book, playwright Oliver Mayer stepped in for the ailing Ahmad Enani last Sunday in “Laws of Sympathy,” Mayer’s world premiere, presented by Playwrights’ Arena at Studio/Stage. Mayer’s last-minute substitution as Mohammed, [...]

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

Bohemian Cowboy by F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times A cenotaph is a monument erected to a person whose remains are elsewhere. In his one-man show, “Bohemian Cowboy” at the Elephant Lab Theater, Raymond King Shurtz constructs a theatrical cenotaph to his father, Raymond Dean Shurtz, that is as loving as it is unstintingly candid. [...]

“Bohemian Cowboy”: 100% Sweet

SWEET Shurtz performs all this with gentle, wistful intelligence while avoiding the morose or the melodramatic. Through this deeply personal story of fathers and sons, and marriages gone awry, Shurtz has stumbled onto a romantic allegory, not only for a man lost in the wilderness but for a country, dangerously tipsy, swerving over the broken [...]

“Stitching”: 56% Bittersweet – UPDATED

BITTER In the end, “Stitching” can’t quite weave together its elements of eroticism, grief and narrative twists into a satisfying evening. Charlotte Stoudt – LA Times BITTER Despite Dohan’s searing and soulful turn, Abby is too much of a cipher for Stu’s sexually degrading antics to signify as much more than phallocentric pornography. Director Timothy [...]

The Thursday Thought

The Thursday Thought

Trying a new addition to Bitter Lemons. That’s right, trying to branch out a little. Basically, what we got is a little random thought or quote with no real explanation. I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure out to what it pertains. Ready? Here we go. “Is Tony Almeda still sitting in the [...]

“The Threepenny Opera”: 100% Sweet

BITTERSWEET Unfortunately, the ICT space can be a little unforgiving on the ear, and the lyrics, especially the ends of words, were tough to make out. The muddy sound contributed to a sense of distance — this “Threepenny” is accomplished, fetching and well sung but slightly out of reach. Still, the show’s final lyrics cast [...]

“Lie With Me”: 83% Sweet – UPDATED

SWEET The performances are truer than true, particularly the women’s ferocity (they are like wounded animals) and how Lebano turns Stan’s endless rationalizations into a kind of psychosis. None of this would ring true without Joe Banno’s textured, cinematic staging, which helps eek out the mystery, drop by drop, with the help of Davis Campbell’s [...]

Bitter Lemons Update

New rule: if a show receives more “bittersweet” reviews than “sweet” reviews, but doesn’t receive any “bitter” reviews, the show will still get a 100% on the Lemon Meter but will also have an overall “bittersweet” label attached as well. Gasp. Got that? If not, take a look at the Lemon Meter for “Falling Upward” [...]

Gettin’ in Line

As always Tom Loughlin pours out his soul over the sad state of theatre grads trying to fit themselves into a machine that just seems to be running on fumes these days.