RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 83% - SWEET

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The play runs slightly over two hours with no intermission, an incredibly long time to ask an audience to sit and try to stay motivated watching such as disjointed play. The talented cast and hard-working crew deserve a more refined and cohesive production in which to showcase their brilliance. Shari Barrett – BroadwayWorld SWEET […]

RAGTIME (3D THEATRICALS): 100% - SWEET

RAGTIME (3D THEATRICALS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The production is somewhat hampered by acoustical imbalances, a problem that has surfaced in past 3-D productions at Plummer Auditorium. This is generally not the case with the company’s subsequent run dates at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. This is not a ruinous flaw, though it is sometimes disappointing when the sublime lyrics […]

AFTER IT HAPPENED (INVERTIGO): 100% - SWEET

AFTER IT HAPPENED (INVERTIGO): 100% – SWEET

SWEET With wild abandon, slick partnering, and sensitive storytelling, Invertigo Dance Theatre presents After It Happened, a multidisciplinary theatre work of dance, acting, live music and song. The multidimensional work reveals the tragedy, comedy, transformation, and hope of a community that survives a disaster and must rebuild. Teresa Heiland – BachTrack SWEET After It Happened […]

FOREVER: 66% - BITTERSWEET

FOREVER: 66% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET From a theatrical perspective, unmodulated rage works best in small doses; too much of it stuns the senses. Subtler moments, as when she confesses her dreams of marrying the Irish cop who was kind to her after her rape, can be more effective. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Forever concludes with the death […]

VENUS IN FUR (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% - SWEET

VENUS IN FUR (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% – SWEET

SWEET The erotic gamesmanship is fascinating to track. But by far the most delicious pleasure of “Venus in Fur” comes from watching two actors dazzle us in a psychosexual pas de deux expertly choreographed for the dramatic stage. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET Judging from Page’s femme fatale, it’s clear the script can play […]

CABARET (CROWN CITY THEATER): 100% - SWEET

CABARET (CROWN CITY THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET It takes a combination of inspiration and chutzpah to reinvent a 58-year-old musical theater classic that’s been reinvented time and time again—but director Gary Lamb has done just that with Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret, his creative touches adding up to the best of the five intimate Cabarets I’ve seen and one of the top […]

DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 93% - SWEET

DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production’s silliness (in high-octane overdrive) really starts to wear thin by Act 2, though the music and dance routines are a kick, courtesy of Paul Olson’s score, Phil Olson’s off-the-wall lyrics, and Stan Mazin’s snappy choreography. Doug Engalla directs. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED is the […]

WICKED LIT 2014: 100% - SWEET

WICKED LIT 2014: 100% – SWEET

SWEET It’s not an easy place to mount a production. As the last resting place of thousands, the space must be treated with respect. The productions themselves use many of the same corridors, so each scene must be well timed to avoid creeping up on a scene from a different play and to avoid sound […]

BANSHEE (THEATRE OF NOTE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

BANSHEE (THEATRE OF NOTE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The result – a blend of an old-fashioned ghost story and a kitchen sink family drama – has moments of real sweetness, intervals of flagrant family dysfunction and a minute or two of genuinely gut-wrenching horror. However, the missed opportunities in Petti’s play render its sum less than its parts. F. Kathleen Foley – […]

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (A NOISE WITHIN): 86% - SWEET

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (A NOISE WITHIN): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Overall, “The Importance of Being Earnest” was an absolute delight. The actors suited their respective characters, the scenery was quite beautiful in a simplistic way, and there were plenty of laughs. As over the top and extravagant Oscar Wilde wants you to believe his characters to be, you can still find a humble side […]

BITCHES: 67% - BITTERSWEET

BITCHES: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Abley’s script and direction are vulgar, obvious, derivative, and misogynistic, but that’s apparently a winning combination for his audience, which giggled and guffawed throughout. Neal Weaver – Stage Raw SWEET The gender flip-flopping results are at the very heart of playwright Sean Abley’s mostly delightful, if slight, quirk-fest. Although the play, frankly, outstays its […]

4000 MILES (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% - SWEET

4000 MILES (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Amy Herzog’s contemporary exploration of kinship, adulthood and self-discovery receives a warm, capable production in its Los Angeles debut at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Directed by Christian Lebano, the show offers much to appreciate, from the well-appointed set to the spot-on costume design. But the actors, like their characters, are still finding their footing: […]

NICE THINGS: 79% - SWEET

NICE THINGS: 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Director Elina de Santos turns in a polished production (on Sephanie Kerley Schwartz’s sleek, sliding-panel set), but the play’s meandering pace and easy affirmations undercut both the energy and the urgency of Melocchi’s message — namely, how the basic struggle for economic survival can bring home the distant tragedy of foreign war. Bill Raden […]

BRIGHT STAR (OLD GLOBE): 79% - SWEET

BRIGHT STAR (OLD GLOBE): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The drawbacks of this musical’s backward-glancing manner are most notable in Martin’s book, which is often floridly melodramatic. The action takes place just after the Second World War, with a soap opera-ish back story set 22 years earlier, but stylistically, the piece hearkens back to the 19th century before psychological realism started ruining everyone’s […]

SOMEWHERE: 63% - BITTERSWEET

SOMEWHERE: 63% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET “This is the void where you make sense of your life,” says Michael when he realizes that he is in a holding pattern. That statement could also be applied to the stages of bringing a new play to life. SOMEWHERE has already received developmental workshops in Manhattan, Sydney and London before coming to LA […]

MAPLE AND VINE (CHANCE THEATER): 92% - SWEET

MAPLE AND VINE (CHANCE THEATER): 92% – SWEET

SWEET The play ends with the most in-the-head character, Katha, still questioning the reality of her newfound faux world. And, in another masterful stroke by Harrison, backed by director Mark Ramont’s gentle hand at the helm, there is no easy answer provided. Is this world of close-knit neighbors and pigs in a blanket any different, […]

GOOD PEOPLE (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

GOOD PEOPLE (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The dilemmas facing the life-battered protagonist of “Good People” are perhaps strategically manipulated, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant, humorous or dramatically engrossing. In fact, David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2011 comedy-drama of socioeconomic dynamics in South Boston is in some ways his finest construct to date, as its rock-solid rendering at La Mirada Theatre […]

AFFLUENCE: 94% - SWEET

AFFLUENCE: 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The cast — Pedersen, Lord, Kulinska, Huff, Uhebe and Tepper — are all experienced actors and performed appropriately. I found Eisenberg’s direction to be slow, as if the audience might miss some significant step along the way. It also grew tiresome for the Kulinska and Huff characters to object, loudly and repeatedly, to their […]

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 94% - SWEET

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Sick of this accursed heatwave? Longing for the thrills and chills of the Halloween season to commence? No need to pray to the Great Old Ones, just slither on down to the little theater on the corner of Lexington and McCadden and be indoctrinated into H.P. Lovecraft’s weird and terrifying universe. I don’t usually […]

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, what makes this harrowing “Trip” endurable, even uplifting, is Carrie’s hard-won humor and wisdom, and the peace she is able to make with her own unhappiness before she is caught and marched back to Houston. “There are worse things,” she dryly retorts when the sheriff reflects on her childhood friend’s “lonely death alone […]

SCARY MUSICAL, THE MUSICAL: 94% - SWEET

SCARY MUSICAL, THE MUSICAL: 94% – SWEET

SWEET Hochberg’s musical is, strictly speaking, slighter than it needs to be, and the book’s choppy structure and internal contradictions come across as being sloppy and inadequately thought through. That said, it’s certainly a mistake to expect this show to be anything other than frothy, ghoulish fun – and director James J. Mellon’s staging is […]

BETTER: 83% - SWEET

BETTER: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Stephen Gifford’s beautifully executed set with subtle lighting by R. Christopher Stokes creates the perfect atmosphere for the story to unfold. Goldberg’s ability to bring these three dimensional characters to life: emerging through twenty months of workshopping by The Echo pays off. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles SWEET Fresh and funny and touching and wise, […]

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 67% - BITTERSWEET

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s hard to say why the play’s production at Theatre West doesn’t reach the level of comical lunacy that is so obviously required. Certainly, co-directors Pete Parkin and John Gallogly have assembled a cast of game and crisply well-prepared actors who go through their frenetic paces with nary a hitch. Perhaps it’s simply that […]

MELISSA ARCTIC (ROAD THEATRE): 83% - SWEET

MELISSA ARCTIC (ROAD THEATRE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET In place of verse, Wright threads the piece with poetic songs (with Danny Webber on keyboard) that seldom unduly tax a cast of primarily actors rather than singers. The resulting thematic tapestry of rebirth and the restorative power of art satisfies against all narrative probability. Hard to believe, but totally true. Philip Brandes – […]

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Through a magical, musical tour, with memorable song and dance numbers, sure to wow the audience, such as ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz,”and “Roll in the Hay,” the audience is sure to burst their seams and roll with laughter. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET This is an EYE-POPPINGLY riotous, beautifully produced, directed, and performed […]

LOW HANGING FRUIT: 60% - BITTERSWEET

LOW HANGING FRUIT: 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This play is a powerful, poetic testament to the brave, heroic martyrs, women who volunteered as soldiers, and lived to tell the tale, wounds and all… alas, only to find their reward a state of homelessness, rootlessness, strung out on one form of addiction or another. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET A worthy […]

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% - SWEET

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The charming musical-in-the-rough that was Bronies: The Musical at this past summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival has since been polished into the sparklingly rainbow-hued gem now getting its official World Premiere Production at the Third Street Theatre. Simply put, Bronies: The Musical is the feel-best show in town. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Under the […]

VOX LUMIERE - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 67% - BITTERSWEET

VOX LUMIERE – THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Lon Chaney rocks out as this incredibly inventive rock opera experience brings sound to his seminal silent film. Staci Layne Wilson – Dread Central SWEET Vox’s version of the Phantom’s narrative is as provocative as it is genius. A literal coming-together of the main artistic mediums made available through modern technology. It is a […]

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% - BITTERSWEET

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A terrible play, and depressing as well, playwright Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime is set in a not-too-distant future and imagines a world where sophisticated robots have been fashioned as human companions. Harrison’s one-act drama doesn’t really have a plot — it’s more of a character study. We see a series of scenes within which […]

TOSCA (PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT): 100% - SWEET

TOSCA (PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Opera newbies will find this production effective and thought-provoking, while veterans who think they’ve sat through one too many Toscas should come to see and hear Blackwell and Cheney from a few rows away. Christian Hertzog – LA Weekly SWEET Music Director Stephen Karr ably conducts a crack orchestra of about 15 players, and […]