RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

TAKING SIDES (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TAKING SIDES (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This wanders a bit from the play itself, although my intention has been to underscore that Little Fish and the fine actors appearing in “Taking Sides” have given us an engaging and thought-provoking work, one which ranks among the best I’ve seen in recent years. There are really no other words except these: Don’t […]

THIEVES: 57% - BITTERSWEET

THIEVES: 57% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Despite acting up a gale-force storm, the ensemble is finally unable to lift Miller’s language and situations from the earthbound and mundane into something more satisfyingly mythic. Director Daniel Talbott contributes some entertaining flourishes, but his penchant for chewed scenery proves a disservice to all. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Family relationships don’t […]

THE AMERICAN DREAM (GROUP REP): 67% - BITTERSWEET

THE AMERICAN DREAM (GROUP REP): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Director Alyson York creates a superb foundation; the pacing is light and quick. The cast demonstrates their thespian skills admirably. The play is charming and funny. The only weak link is the script. It seems labored and forced. If this is to be a dark comedy, then so be it. But I think Albee […]

CIRCLES: 67% - BITTERSWEET

CIRCLES: 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Kudos to Adams’ and Harris’ strong commitments to their flawed, volatile characters. How interesting that playwright Harris has written a stronger, meatier, more grounded, more empathetic role for her male counterpart. S just seems to live for H, with no life of her own. And if lengthy descriptive discussions of going down fascinate you, […]

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% - SWEET

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET The evening is entertaining, fun and will pluck at your nostalgic musical theater heart-strings — if you’ve got ‘em. Jessica Salans – Stage Raw BITTERSWEET Putting it Together currently at the Sierra Mare Playhouse is filled with fun and energy and joy as it tells the story of a most unique cocktail party with […]

HENRY IV, PART ONE (ANTAEUS): 79% - SWEET

HENRY IV, PART ONE (ANTAEUS): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET More problematic (especially for purists) is a sometimes loose directorial rein on the scansion; allowing actors to emote through shifting emphasis may further character insight, but it comes at a cost. Though following the meter seems a curse, the pauses in mid-verse are surely worse. ’Tis clearer — and less likely to offend — […]

CARRIE, THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

CARRIE, THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET However, “Carrie” is a better musical than before, but it’s still not a great one. Gore’s tunes are pleasant but, barring Carrie and Mom’s songs, not very individuated, Pitchford’s lyrics are prosaic, at times prolix, and Cohen’s book doesn’t explore its All Teens Are Alienated theme beyond surface considerations. That will scarcely matter to […]

SIGHT UNSEEN (LOUNGE THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

SIGHT UNSEEN (LOUNGE THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET How favorably you respond to this drama probably depends on how much you care about Jonathan and the issues he has with his Jewish identity. As portrayed by Weiss, under Nicole Dominguez’s direction, there’s not much to like. His Jonathan is a cocky guy who lacks an interior life. There’s no underlying sense of […]

TOKYO FISH STORY (SOUTH COAST REP): 81% - SWEET

TOKYO FISH STORY (SOUTH COAST REP): 81% – SWEET

SWEET All of these ideas have potential. Maybe it could have all come together if the play had a longer run time. (It’s 90 minutes and without an intermission). As it stands, this mishmash of ingredients can come across as undercooked. For instance, a businessman tries to tempt Nobu, an apprentice chef, into working for […]

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% - SWEET

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s presentation of Lifeboat, an extraordinary tale of survival and friendship, stars Ashley Smith as Beth and Hannah Donaldson as Bess. They are brilliant as the two English school girls during World War II who share their friendship and life-changing adventure in a narrative that is awash with emotions. And […]

FIGARO (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% - SWEET

FIGARO (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Joshua Wolf Coleman’s triple-role expertise and Natalie De Luna’s dizzy Fanchette complete an ensemble that knows just how far to push for laughs and gets them, resulting in a knee-slapping blast. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Some may find Michael Michetti’s direction and this often frenetically paced two-acter to be witty, with […]

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% - SWEET

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% – SWEET

SWEET The wonderful Theatre West Company of performers and artists did it again by presenting a very visceral drama with such artistry and passion, that you better pack some tissue paper with you when you run (and I mean run) to see this production! 30 years ago actor/playwright Jim Beaver wrote this wonderful piece called […]

NIAGARA FALLS: 100% - SWEET

NIAGARA FALLS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Smart, quirky and always engaging, this seriocomic tour de force explores mysteries of love, existence and human connection with the best precision staging a finely tuned, 12-member professional ensemble can deliver in an intimate space. It is a poster child for the kind of daring, thrilling, affordable experience that would not be possible without […]

SWITZERLAND: 67% - BITTERSWEET

SWITZERLAND: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER The delivery also seems off. One shouldn’t have to work hard to castigate “pansy publishers in Jew-town,” or deem young people “deluded, silly little fuckers”; surely such venom will deliver itself. Where Highsmith would wield a stiletto, helmer Mark Brokaw has Linney spitting out barbs with an energy smacking of desperation, way out of […]

TREVOR: 100% - SWEET

TREVOR: 100% – SWEET

SWEET From that opening, the play’s grim trajectory becomes inevitable. That it also proves such a deliciously laugh-packed ride can finally be attributed to the split-second precision of an inspired ensemble (which includes Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Malcolm Barrett, Brenda Strong, Jim Ortlieb and Bob Clendenin) and director Stella Powell-Jones’ flawless production. Bill Raden – LA […]

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 86% - SWEET

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 86% – SWEET

SWEET In a well-paced staging, director Marya Mazor boldly addresses the vagaries of her material. Kaitlyn Pietras’ striking projection design ably delineates the shifting milieus, as does Pablo Santiago’s lighting and John Zalewski’s sound. Schub and Wasserman are well-matched antagonists, but the standout among the cast is the marvelous Knowelden, whose Eileen is as amusing […]

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 82% - SWEET

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 82% – SWEET

BITTER Director Jules Aaron does a workmanlike job trying to give the story some form and structure and interest. He is defeated by the bulk of the amateurish cast who just can’t do much more that play the stereotypes they are given. Dave Buzzotta does a nice job as the real Maynard. But this Tiger […]

EINSTEIN IS A DUMMY (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

EINSTEIN IS A DUMMY (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This play would not have had the impact it had if it weren’t for the music and video elements of the play. They added to the energy and excitement of the production. It was ambitous and they really pulled it off. Hat tip to Video Designer Sean T. Cawelti for his work with Sound […]

PROPERTIES OF SILENCE (CARRIE HAMILTON): 82% - SWEET

PROPERTIES OF SILENCE (CARRIE HAMILTON): 82% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The play’s dense, fertile symbolism, initially so promising, begins to feel hollow. Like so many dreams, it promises to teach us something but dissolves into a series of compelling but ultimately inconclusive images. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Strong performances and an intriguing take on dreams makes this a worthwhile and interesting production. […]

THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT: 93% - SWEET

THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Sound designer John Zalewski is responsible for heightening this intimacy through the soundtrack, which is emitted through speakers hidden around the space. The effect is dizzying as it comes at you from all sides in a rush. Jessica Gelt – LA Times SWEET It’s haunting, magical and beautifully crafted, something that must be experienced […]

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% - SWEET

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Under Bruce Kimmel’s pizzazzy direction, Broadway and regional theater vets Sandy Bainum, Jill Marie Burke, Cynthia Ferrer, Stephanie Fredricks, Dana Meller, and Adrienne Visnic simply could not be more sensational as a sextet of modern women (of the ‘90s), nor Haverty’s book more delightfully witty and perceptive, nor Haverty and Russ’s songs more infectiously […]

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Adapted from an anthology of poetry by Edgar Lee Masters, writer and director Maureen Lucy O’Connell blends the poet’s words with traditional songs to create a show that will tug at your heartstrings as much as it will give you goosebumps. Michelle Sandoval – EdgeLosAngeles SWEET The songs, which are performed a capella, and […]

DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA: 86% - SWEET

DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA: 86% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Unfortunately, the rest of the play tends towards the shallow, and is not as appealing. The script morphs into a melodrama, romance and coming-of age tale, with a bit of comic, dysfunctional black family melodrama tossed in. All the while Dontrell’s quest becomes a less-than-credible obsession — bordering on the absurd — which the […]

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET A tastefully elegant production of Maltby & Shire’s CLOSER THAN EVER brings the duo’s beautiful and thought-provoking songs to life in the intimate performance space at Hollywood Piano in Burbank. It’s a co-production between Good People Theater Company and Hollywood Piano; a partnership that means the audience gets the rare opportunity to hear the […]

END OF THE RAINBOW (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 79% - SWEET

END OF THE RAINBOW (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 79% – SWEET

SWEET While Bermingham virtually inhabits the role – fearlessly so – throughout, Quilter’s script is the brilliantly penned blueprint of ICT’s staging. From it, director John Henry Davis builds a powerfully moving portrait of the great, tortured singer in the last few weeks of her life. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET End of the […]

THE OTHER PLACE: 92% - SWEET

THE OTHER PLACE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET Solid stagecraft, tautly quirky writing and crackerjack acting distinguish this compelling Los Angeles premiere of playwright Sharr White’s celebrated 2013 study of a neurologist who may be descending into dementia. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET In the end, “The Other Place,” the second show of the 2014-15 season, works because of a […]

THE THREEPENNY OPERA (A NOISE WITHIN): 60% - BITTERSWEET

THE THREEPENNY OPERA (A NOISE WITHIN): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Unfortunately, in their current staging of Michael Feingold’s translation at A Noise Within, co-directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott never quite balance the play’s music hall flamboyance with the requisite sense of apocalyptic urgency. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET A Noise Within kicks off its Spring 2015 season with a sensationally performed […]

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This show should not be missed. It is part of our collective history highlighting distinctive moments of a man who made us laugh and think. His incredibly fast and clever lyrics definitely beat the simple and angry language of any commercially successful rapper of today. What a lovely tribute by a talented daughter to […]

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY (FOUR LARKS): 100% - SWEET

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY (FOUR LARKS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Forgive them their voice-over. Give in to their Temptation and let the rest of text wash over you as you enjoy this immersive gem. And buy tickets now, this is one that’s sure to sell out. Anthony Byrnes – KCRW SWEET It is remarkable. Magnificent to watch. Abel Horwitz – Abel Horwitz SWEET A […]

THE ROAD TO APPOMATTOX: 63% - BITTERSWEET

THE ROAD TO APPOMATTOX: 63% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director BRIAN SHNIPPER and his superb cast make both stories, past and present, compelling. Greg Simay – MyBurbank SWEET You don’t have to be a Civil War buff to enjoy the latest from Barbara Beckley’s Colony, and it probably won’t turn you into one if you aren’t already. Still, if you are anything like […]