RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

DR. FAUSTUS (INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE COMPANY): 83% - SWEET

DR. FAUSTUS (INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE COMPANY): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET In a play about a man’s bargain with the devil, either the man or the devil – but ideally both – should fascinate or intrigue, certainly more than they do here. Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw SWEET An ISC Studio production always rides the edge. If you only know the company from its large […]

THIS IS BANNED: 83% - SWEET

THIS IS BANNED: 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Though directors Price and JR Esposito prove far more self-assured with sci-fi than horror, their ungainly staging of the latter cannot fully obscure Macher’s thought-provoking meditation on the fragile denial that enables humankind’s most destructive of impulses. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Playwright Samantha Macher has a poetic command of language. Her use […]

SCREAM! (ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE): 88% - SWEET

SCREAM! (ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET The world premiere of the unauthorized parody musical “Scream!” at the Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Feliz includes a star studded cast and hilarious satirical humor, all to the background of the ultimate sing-a-long 90s playlist sung by a cast full of powerhouse vocalists. Sidne Phillips – Neon Tommy SWEET It’s all very […]

ZEALOT (SOUTH COAST REP): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ZEALOT (SOUTH COAST REP): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER “Zealot,” which has been directed by SCR artistic director Marc Masterson on a handsome office set designed by Ralph Funicello, has come off the Rebeck assembly line with its screws loose and its wires sticking out. Masterson has a long-standing relationship with the playwright, but producing her latest in this premature state has done […]

ENRIQUE'S JOURNEY (ENCUENTRO 2014): 83% - SWEET

ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY (ENCUENTRO 2014): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The script could be further trimmed: the opening takes up more time than it needs to and Enrique’s repeated hardships start to run together. For a story so grounded in grim realism, it has been given an unpersuasively upbeat ending. But Guerrero’s Enrique is a compelling, complex protagonist and his painful journey is worth […]

A OR B?: 90% - SWEET

A OR B?: 90% – SWEET

SWEET With Troubies shows, revivals, and West Coast stagings of East Coast hits making up the bulk of its seasons, a Falcon Theatre World Premiere comedy achieves event status in our L.A. theater scene. As with last year’s Billy & Ray, 2010’s The Psychic, and 2009’s Everybody Say Cheese, the Falcon has come up with […]

PIPPIN (PANTAGES): 93% - SWEET

PIPPIN (PANTAGES): 93% – SWEET

SWEET The promise of the show’s opening number “Magic to Do” was lived up to with Houdini-esque virtuosity. “Pippin” was a show that inspired teens from the 1970s to pursue the dream of singing and dancing on Broadway. This entrancing revival will no doubt inspire a new generation to do the same. Don’t miss it. […]

1969: 75% - BITTERSWEET

1969: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The basics of a good story and good drama are here, but Morgan doesn’t provide adequate, convincing heft to these characters, or to the structure of her plot. Oddly, she saves her most effective, incisive writing for a final scene between Ajamu and Butler’s love-smitten wife Grace (Megan Weaver), at which point we learn […]

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (CHROMOLUME): 90% - SWEET

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (CHROMOLUME): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Cate Caplin directs with flair and imagination, with lively assist from Samantha Whidby’s choreography. Buoyant musical accompaniment by Jeff Bonhiver on keyboard and Tyler Smith on drums. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre Spoken Here SWEET This production is a scaled down version of the show, in a very small intimate theatre, and one that […]

PREMEDITATION (ENCUENTRO 2014): 100% - SWEET

PREMEDITATION (ENCUENTRO 2014): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The play is brilliantly staged. Directed by LATC artistic director Jose Luis Valenzuela, it’s 1940s noir mixed with Sirk-esque melodrama that plays out like some strange mix of Double Indemnity meets Written on the Wind. The combination of style allows for the characters to walk the fine line of fully realized and caricature. Luckily, […]

THE DIVINERS (ACTORS CO-OP): 90% - SWEET

THE DIVINERS (ACTORS CO-OP): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Set in rural Indiana in the early 1930s, Jim Leonard Jr.’s 1980 play, “The Diviners,” drips with a period regionalism that is almost folkloric in tone. The play requires careful handling, or its characters can lapse into stereotype. In his current staging at Actors Co-op, director Mark Henderson does not always avoid that pitfall. […]

THE SHADOW BOX (RAVEN PLAYHOUSE): 100% - SWEET

THE SHADOW BOX (RAVEN PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The direction under Catherine Michaels was light and pure. The staging was that of a seasoned ballet choreographer, beautifully seamless. Cheers are to be given to Catherine for allowing a piece, that could be complicated and heavy, to be something relatable and compassionate. Dianne Williams – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET The crux of this story is […]

WEDDING BAND: A LOVE/HATE STORY IN BLACK & WHITE (ANTAEUS): 93% - SWEET

WEDDING BAND: A LOVE/HATE STORY IN BLACK & WHITE (ANTAEUS): 93% – SWEET

SWEET This rarely produced revival delivers a blistering indictment of the South’s anti-miscegenation laws against the backdrop of a deeply moving portrait of urban black life in the early 20th century. Directed by Gregg T. Daniel, the double-cast production now playing at the Antaeus Company offers some of the finest ensemble acting currently onstage (the […]

BROOMSTICK: 92% - SWEET

BROOMSTICK: 92% – SWEET

SWEET Perfect for Halloween or for anyone who enjoys taking a journey into the deep dark woods, “Broomstick” offers a frightfully fun time at the theater that might be especially fun at night! Candyce Columbus – LA Examiner SWEET Playwright John Biguenet’s delightful Halloween Season monologue is a flat out delight. It’s like a children’s […]

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 83% - SWEET

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET Adding depth and dimension to Didion’s script are Juan Sanson’s subtle sound effects and spare, softly ethereal music and Francois-Pierre Couture’s scenic work and color washes, projected onto a latticed screen behind Purl. More fierce than sorrowful, “Magical Thinking” is a remarkable portrait of grief and devotion. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET Under […]

VILLA THRILLA: 62% - BITTERSWEET

VILLA THRILLA: 62% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s a great premise, wonderful set, excellent actors but there is something missing. Maybe it’s the timing, perhaps the situation is too convoluted or maybe the dialog is not quite as funny in performance as it was thought to be at the table read. Jose Ruiz – Reviewplays BITTERSWEET This is a valiant effort […]

THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% - SWEET

THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The problem with his acting — and this pertains also to Angelo’s — is that it strives for a relaxed naturalness that often seems artificial. Instead of rising to meet Strindberg’s tragi-comic style, he opts to make his character appealingly relatable for contemporary theatergoers. Johnson is more successful at locating the playwright’s bracingly mercurial […]

GLORIOUS!: 67% - BITTERSWEET

GLORIOUS!: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The bad singing is handled better than the good jokes and if all the performers could, in the rest of the run, go as over the top as the funny script seems to calls for, then Glorious! might yet be a glorious comic experience. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts SWEET Needless to say, Quilter […]

WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING: 75% - BITTERSWEET

WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET There’s no sugarcoating the relentlessly downbeat mood here. Vivid impressions linger from Frédérique Michel’s fierce staging, which underscores the play’s austere geometric narrative structure with underplayed, admirably uniform performances and abstract choreography; the pent-up emotional floodgates open only in carefully controlled doses. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET From a fish magically dropping from […]

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% - SWEET

WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (THE VAGRANCY): 80% – 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: 67% - BITTERSWEET

FOREVER: 67% – 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): 95% - SWEET

VENUS IN FUR (SOUTH COAST REP): 95% – 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): 94% - SWEET

DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 94% – 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): 88% - SWEET

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (A NOISE WITHIN): 88% – 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 […]