For all its petulant ambitions, the evening is wildly entertaining thanks to the irrepressible talents of the cast. It’s hard to see how this play would survive without these actors. With a deep and slightly nasal voice, and deadpan responses that should be copyrighted for the mountain of silent thoughts they reveal, Stewart provides the perfect foil for Metcalf’s meticulously executed tornado of psychosis and Flanagan’s lovely cameo. DeLorenzo deserves credit for the comedy’s sculpted timing, and Gary Guidinger’s set and lighting depicts with realistic detail the frayed fortress of Nate’s living room.
Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly
Ultimately ‘Voice Lessons’ is more a showcase for the depth of Metcalf’s and Stewart’s talents than Tanner’s playwriting, which — here, at least — is more playfulness than play. Tanner has a breezy knack for set-up and delivery of character-based jokes, but ‘Voice Lessons’ is no more than Cable Network sketch comedy. With this level of actors It’s an imbalance on the order of the ‘Seinfeld’ cast telling a Henny Youngman one-liner. Still, their telling is likely to be the stuff of annual critic awards. However, if Tanner’s writing gets a nod, that also would be telling.
Cristofer Gross – Theatretimes.org
The classic showtunes between scenes, a sound design credited to Kristian Hoffman, are delicious, especially the last. This little jewel is one of the best Tanners yet, for anybody who loves actors, their coaches and laughter.
Laura Hitchcock – CurtainUp
“Voice Lessons” is slightly hindered by an overabundance of final scene plot infusions, but, with its one hour running time, Tanner’s latest legit outing offers an uproarious and compelling glimpse at characters trapped within the inequitable reality of their lost lives and hopeless dreams. Kudos to co-producer Gary Guidinger for the nicely detailed bungalow setting and to Kristina Hoffman’s thematically enhancing sounds.
Julio Martinez – Variety
Those who almost lost bladder control watching “Waiting for Guffman” will love “Voice Lessons,” Justin (“Pot Mom”) Tanner’s satirical portrait of an indefatigable community theater actress. This one-act comedy at the Zephyr Theatre features a performance by Laurie Metcalf that must be seen to be believed. I sat through it and am still not sure what passed before me. The ghost of Andy Kaufman? Nails on a chalkboard? Self-loathing turned utterly inside out into something oddly transcendent?
Charlotte Stoudt – LA Times
Laurie Metcalf sports close-cropped hair in her latest stage role, but that doesn’t prevent her from letting it down with unbridled gusto in service of a tour de force characterization. This debuting comedy by Justin Tanner — his funniest in years — feels tailor-made for three veteran actors (Metcalf, French Stewart, Maile Flanagan) who have previously worked with the prolific playwright. Co-directors Bart DeLorenzo and Tanner won’t alter the course of world history with this zany one-act romp, but viewers with an appetite for explosive laughter can anticipate a feast.
Les Spindle – Backstage
The talent is top notch and I can’t imagine how the actors keep a straight face. The secret to Tanner’s plays is that they are played with the dramatic seriousness of a tragedy. Tragedy is always a distinct possibility in Tanner’s play but somehow, through the quirks of the characters and plot they survive gleefully.
Robert Machray – Stagehappenings
The brisk pace and quivering physical comedy (French’s expressions and gestures are priceless) come thanks to the titanic talents of the cast and the assured direction by Bart DeLorenzo and Justin Tanner. Assuming that the difference in directing style from previous laid-back Tanner outings is due to DeLorenzo, he can be credited with the new Tanner-on-speed effect. And apparently it keeps getting faster; with a stated running time of 75 minutes, the performance I attended barely exceed an hour. But then how much more laughter could we take?
Mark Share – EyeSpyLA
Filed Under: LemonMeter
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.