There are insightful bits and pieces elucidating how Keaton came to be such a skilled filmmaker, but as constructed, the play can best be described as a travelogue of stereopticon slides of the brilliant star’s life, with scenes presented in a variety of formats – some of them straightforward, but most in the style of silent film, both projected and live.
Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema
Nearly continuous pratfalls and hilarious choreographed bits keep the play alive despite the downwardly spiraling topic of a wasted existence. If only “Stoneface” didn’t ultimately feel more like a Hollywood scandal–obsessed cable show featuring a string of unrelated tabloid-friendly events depicting the squandered life of a great artist.
Travis Michael Holder – Backstage
Four years later, the premiere of Stoneface marks the most exciting new play to emerge from this theater since Louis & Keely, and one of the best new works of the city’s theatrical season so far.
Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly
Now forget any preconceptions you may have had about this actor. In “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton,” in its world premiere at Sacred Fools, Stewart has left his bag of tricks behind the stage door. In the eponymous central role, he displays a comical gravitas entirely fitting to his subject, combined with sheer physical virtuosity that is, quite simply, a revelation.
F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times
A semi-biographical account of the tribulations of silent film actor Buster Keaton (though you don’t need to know anything about him going in to enjoy the proceedings), Stoneface is a meticulously crafted Vaudeville machine that displays a startling mix of care and humility.
Brian Sonia-Wallace – LA Theatre Review
What a fun night of theater.
Clare Elfman – Buzzine
Stewart (husband of the playwright) is magnificent as Keaton, giving us all sides of the man — his inspired clowning and creativity, innate dignity and decency, and tragic self-destructiveness. Above all, Keaton’s courage is emphasized, his ability to fight against, and triumph over, the dark forces in his life.
Willard Manus – Total Theater
I recommend this show to everyone, especially those who have had to claw his or her way in order to have a career in show business.
Robert Machray – Stagehappenings
A surreal, time-traveling bio-dramedy, Stoneface not only gives Keaton (Entertainment Weekly’s 7th-greatest director of all time and AFI’s 21st-greatest male star of all time) his due, it does so in the most inspired and entertaining of ways.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA
From the joyful celebration of Natasha Norman’s choreography to the stunning cast this show is a well-oiled machine.
Lucy Griffin – ArtsBeatLA
Yet in Stewart’s inspired dramedy there are definitely laughs to be had, especially in the astonishingly accomplished sequences of silent comedy bits – one-take gags and elaborate physical routines taken straight from some of Keaton’s most famous silent pictures. These segments are faithfully and expertly reproduced live on stage by this first-rate cast, beautifully directed by Jaime Robledo.
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA
If you’re in Los Angeles I encourage you to see it.
Leonard Malton – Movie Crazy
An all around stellar production with a commanding, passionate lead performance from Stewart, make this show a must-see for film fans.
Carley Johnson – Cinementals
Now onstage at the Sacred Fools Theatre, Stoneface is a beautifully written and performed look at old Hollywood and at a few geniuses who dared to buck the system in order to make a difference.
Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld
A few blocks to the southeast of the Fringe area is Sacred Fools Theater, where Stoneface, the Vanessa Claire Stewart play starring French Stewart as Buster Keaton, deserves the many plaudits it has received.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Times
But this is a mere quibble. With so little in the way of finances and pricey production values in this 66 or so seat theatre, Sacred Fools has given us so much, proving that imagination trumps big budgets. Kudos to prop designer Heather Ho, special effects/master builder James McCartney and scenic designer Joel Daavid, as well as to director Jaime Robledo, who does yeoman’s work overseeing the crew and an ensemble cast.
Ed Rampell – Hollywood Progressive
Always aware of Keaton as a man both in and of cinema, Stewart and her collaborators skillfully employ cinematic DNA to craft a detailed, persuasive portrait.
Bob Verini – Variety
STONEFACE: THE RISE AND FALL AND RISE OF BUSTER KEATON
Presented by Sacred Fools Theater Company
660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A.
EXTENDED THROUGH AUG. 26, 2012; Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.
Tickets: (310) 281-8337; $25
Running time: 2 hours
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.