Tom Christensen, Perry Smith and Thomas F. Evans in “Happy Face Sad Face” at the Elephant Lillian Theatre. Credit: Randolph Adams.

It all sounds very intriguing, but Colleary and director Kathleen Rubin, who has helmed two of Colleary’s previous plays, have this time collaborated on a well-meaning experiment gone awry.
F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times

Director Kathleen Rubin has truly met the tremendous challenge of balance in the piece. While the text is not exactly the same, there could be a distinct disadvantage to having your audience know what is going to happen even generally. However, Rubin corrals and unleashes her cavalcade of players with precision and skill. The “monologue lighting” is genius. Colleary’s scripts pack the second act with a plethora of playful surprises, more than enough to keep the audience engage through the same basic premise.
Michelle Clay – LASplash

It’s a disappointment, then, to find that “Happy Face Sad Face” doesn’t give us much of anything more than its hook—and even that lets us down.
Jennie Webb – Backstage

This was the best small theater set I have seen in a long time and it is worthy of being called another character in this clever and thought-provoking show.
Shari Barrett – BroadwayWorld

A steady infusion of fresh air wouldn’t fix the ungainly plot and dialogue, but it could do a lot for the palatability of this production.
Bob Verini – Variety

Overall, Happy Face Sad Face, is an audience pleaser due, in no small part, to the dedicated performances of the cast. But it does not completely fulfill its task of drawing the “half-empty/half-full” point.
Tracey Paleo – Gia on the Move

Trouble is, in “Happy Face,” the “replay,” the plot just gets goopy. The crux of the story is too serious to be surrounded by such nonsense, which means it gets lost, which means the whole act falls apart.
Rebecca Haithcoat – LA Weekly

Much to my dismay, what seemed to be an idea with great promise was in the end a major missed opportunity. While both plays were in their own way very entertaining, the end result unfortunately did not live up to expectations. Ultimately there were too many character, dialogue and plot alterations for the acts to truly be different versions of the “same” story. Instead, what writer R. J. Colleary serves up is merely two one acts with similarities.
Tom Chaits – Stage and Cinema

I was not bored in the second act; instead, I wanted to shoot myself.
Rose Desena – The Los Angeles Post

It is one of the finest pieces of theater I have ever seen in Los Angeles.
Bob Leggett – LA Examiner

And you know what? High concept or not, Happy Face Sad Face left this reviewer quite Happy Faced indeed.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA

The Elephant Lillian Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays
Ends Feb. 23, 2013
Tickets: $20; (323) 960-7770
Running time: 2 hours

Filed Under: FeaturedLemonMeter


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