It’s unlikely we’ll see any offering this season that remotely resembles playwright Kristoffer Diaz’s balls-out theatrical happening. His vision is flamboyantly brought to life in collaboration with Edward Torres’ electrifying direction, an inspired design team, and an energetic and committed cast.
Les Spindle – Backstage
This production, directed by Edward Torres, whose lengthy association with the play is an obvious asset, goes a long way toward upending the Geffen Playhouse’s normal order of business. The cast, which also includes Justin Leeper and Timothy Talbott in assorted secondary roles, galvanizes with every thundering monologue and powerbomb maneuver, bringing the theatrics into the aisles and narrowing the gap between the action and the audience.
Charles McNulty – LA Times
Torres keeps the action lively and real, deftly shifting from intimate truth-telling to the elaborate lies played out on canvas beneath Jesse Klug’s rock-concert lighting, abetted by Mikhail Fiksel’s extraordinarily rich sound design. But the whole is something less than the sum of its parts, its satirical jabs too diffuse, its themes too blatantly – and at times wearily and windily – spelled out by Mace.
Bob Verini – Variety
With this wildly talented cast and crew and with professional wrestling as his fugue theme, Diaz spins a lithe and peripatetic tale that is less play than burlesque, more Swift than Shakespeare. He is unchained from many theater conventions by the very theatricality of wrestling itself, and he uses this dispensation to range far and wide into the nature of heroism and hucksterism. What develops from such freedom is the polar opposite of a play within a play: it becomes the audience observing an audience.
Trevor Thomas – EdgeLosAngeles
He gives us a showy, multi-media play with a superb multi-cultural cast. If you don’t like bright strobe lights or loud music, this play may not be for you. But, if you want to see something totally different, and if you want to feel the excitement that director Edward Torres generates, then you will enjoy being part of this experience.
Audrey Linden – LA Examiner
Though buoyed by an outstanding ensemble, it is Borges’ spirited and captivating portrait of the artist as a frustrated storyteller that carries the show. Director Edward Torres’ taut staging rarely falters in a production graced by Brian Sidney Bembridge’s wonderfully hyperbolic wrestling-ring set, Jesse Klug’s glitzy and glossy lights and costumer Christina Haatainen Jones’ marvelously kitsch creations.
Bill Raden – LA Weekly
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is ultimately more about class and race than it is about wrestling. But its greatest achievement is in forcing us to ask questions about the roles we play in maintaining the status quo at the expense of human development. How many new American plays can you name that have done anything so rich and complex and still manage to be so rousingly funny?
Harvey Perr – Stage and Cinema
Between the brightly costumed wrestlers making their elaborate entrances down the aisles, the effective use of slick videos, the periodic powerbomb or clothesline, and the occasional audience interaction, even the most worn-out audience member rushing from work on a Wednesday night will feel enlivened by the electric energy in the theatre. The Geffen has once again staged a world-class production of a fun – and important – play.
Nick Wilson – LAist
Guided by the superb direction of Edward Torres, Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama, hit the Geffen Playhouse with a thunderous body slam, dazzling the senses with a profusion of sights, sounds, and crisp dialogue that could be described as brilliant prose poetry.
Beverly Cohn – Santa Monica Mirror
That said, while I could appreciate many aspects of the play including the set, the spectacle, and the acting, overall I was less than thrilled at this loud, obnoxious and obvious play.
Robert Machray – Stagehappenings
Full of insulting yet hilarious wit, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” will leave everybody entertained.
Nataly Chavez – Campus Circle
Diaz’s funny and often exhilarating play has energy, heart and power, blasting out the occasional shot of adrenaline, and how often does an evening of theatre really give you that?
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA
Kristoffer Diaz’s Chad Deity is a kick, with its fourth-wall-smashing moments, its outlandish illustration of the demonization of “the other” by certain strains within popular culture, its willingness to bring a lively arena that’s probably unfamiliar to most theatergoers to our attention. Still, I was a little let down by the ending – the grand finale is oddly reported on from a distance instead of shown full blast.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Watch
Did I love it? Not really, but I would have hated to have missed it. It certainly is entertaining and freshly told.
Karen Weinstein – Culture Vulture
THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY
10886 Le Conte Avenue, L.A.
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 9, 2011
Tickets: $47 – $77; (310) 208-5454
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
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.