RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

LOVE, NOËL (THE WALLIS): 83% - SWEET

LOVE, NOËL (THE WALLIS): 83% – SWEET

SWEET These engaging two hours should satisfy a niche audience of Coward fans. Coward is too often seen as a minor player in the firmament of artistic excellence, but don’t believe it. He’s a “minor player” destined to outlast us all. Sylvie Drake – Cultural Weekly BITTERSWEET Also continuing the mid-century British theme in Beverly […]

THE SNOW QUEEN (TROUBADORS/FALCON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

THE SNOW QUEEN (TROUBADORS/FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET It wouldn’t be December at the Falcon Theater without the Troubadour Theater Company’s latest holiday treat, and this year’s The Snow QUEEN is not only one of their most entertaining extravaganzas to date, it’s one of the most musical Troubies musicals in years. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Put all the pieces through the […]

SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 100% - SWEET

SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, best known for her choreography and involvement in “So You Think You Can Dance,” she creates magic on the stage with actors of all ages who are all engulfed in their roles and having so much fun doing so. Musical director Michael Orland (“American Idol”) provides the music and his […]

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 72% - BITTERSWEET

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 72% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Coward’s work enables virtuosos who possess technique that’s as polished as it is effortless to reach new heights. Lansbury might as well be flying across the Ahmanson stage. Seeing her in “Blithe Spirit” is as joyful as staring at a Christmas tree being decorated by birds and elves. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

HELLCAB (ELEPHANT STAGES): 83% - SWEET

HELLCAB (ELEPHANT STAGES): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Fofi’s production would be much better if Lopes’s predominately muted, one-dimensional interaction with his colorful amalgam of riders was instilled with more emotion and greater subtlety. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET The last scene is one the most poignant and fitting for a closure and the whole show whizzes by in a […]

POSSUM CARCASS: 67% - BITTERSWEET

POSSUM CARCASS: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Although it dutifully mirrors Chekhov’s plot in the soaring ambitions and earthbound struggles of present-day artistic types, what dooms this six-character reduction is its systematic abandonment of the subtextual layers that make the original so compelling. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET While nowhere near as brilliant or textured as Posner’s play, Bucci’s parody […]

SHE LOVES ME (CHANCE THEATER): 80% - SWEET

SHE LOVES ME (CHANCE THEATER): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Often called a “jewel from Broadway’s Golden Age”, “The Chance’s” inspired revival provides audiences with a sweet little yuletide tale that makes a delightful Valentine to this festive time of year! John Buck – Bucking Trends SWEET Under Sarah Figoten Wilson’s direction and Taylor Stephenson’s musical direction, Chance Theater’s staging of “She Loves Me” […]

THE PENIS CHRONICLES (COAST PLAYHOUSE): 88% - SWEET

THE PENIS CHRONICLES (COAST PLAYHOUSE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Tom Yewell’s study of the male experience isn’t necessarily the counterpart to Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” that its obviated title suggests. Less political or variegated, this series of eight single-person accounts nonetheless reveals noteworthy writing ability and features solid, credible acting from a well-chosen cast. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET As such, […]

MORRISON CHRISTMAS (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

MORRISON CHRISTMAS (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET And if Morrison Christmas sets out to recapitulate the death-rebirth cycle in its theatrical arc, its more profound achievement is to progressively remove the ironic quotation marks from its source material in what emerges as a rather touching and surprisingly sincere reaffirmation by the company of its venerable artistic roots. Bill Raden – Stage […]

ALMOST, MAINE (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 100% - SWEET

ALMOST, MAINE (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Director Papazian serves up a slick and delectable series of comic turns, and he has assembled a cast of 18 accomplished actors for the occasion. All of them acquit themselves with charm and style. Neal Weaver – Stage Raw SWEET Play don’t get any more magical, nor any more unabashedly romantic (with just enough […]

INTO THE WOODS (OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL/THE WALLIS): 92% - SWEET

INTO THE WOODS (OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL/THE WALLIS): 92% – SWEET

SWEET This OSF production at the Wallis may not have the star power of the screen version coming out on Christmas Day, but it has the buoyancy and complexity of feeling that have turned Sondheim and Lapine’s work into a modern classic. I can’t think of a better holiday treat than seeing this dark fantasy […]

LUNA GALE (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

LUNA GALE (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET But just as the critic Eric Bentley cautioned us when approaching Henrik Ibsen’s plays to “look for the ideas behind the ideas,” it’s important with Gilman to examine the deeper investigation lurking behind the more topical concerns of her dramas. This is especially the case with her latest work “Luna Gale,” which is currently […]

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET In a swift hour, a dozen merry pranksters whirl and spin us through the classic tale of ghosts scaring the miser out of Ebenezer Scrooge. Singing and dancing to Denise Devin’s baton, the troupe so deftly juggles our emotions that we find ourselves weeping at this old chestnut, and laughing through our tears. Mark […]

OEDIPUS (TE SAN PEDRO REP): 100% - SWEET

OEDIPUS (TE SAN PEDRO REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now the company has opened its final show of the season, “Oedipus,” the classic Greek tragedy by Sophocles, and it is just as imaginative, just as outrageous, just as unusual as its predecessors, mixing the wailings of the classical Greek chorus and burning pots of incense with an indoor lounge act featuring Paris Langle […]

THE MAGNIFICENT DUNBAR HOTEL: 92% - SWEET

THE MAGNIFICENT DUNBAR HOTEL: 92% – SWEET

SWEET Informative and engaging, this underappreciated chapter of our local history is portrayed with panache and grace. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Under producer Ben Guillory’s imaginative direction we visit with Dwain A. Perry as the creative hotel owner, Lucius Lomax. Melvin Ishmael Johnson is his delightfully peevish hotel manager; Petal d’Avril Walker is […]

FLARE PATH (THEATRE 40): 100% - SWEET

FLARE PATH (THEATRE 40): 100% – SWEET

SWEET A heartening reminder of the human capacity for valor, this beautifully underplayed production is all the more moving for its very ordinariness. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET This well-wrought, finely scripted, play under the brilliant direction of Bruce Gray is a gem. Audrey Linden – LA Examiner SWEET Rattigan’s script deftly examines […]

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 84% - SWEET

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 84% – SWEET

SWEET Indeed, the empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet in this franchise, wholly attuned to a gratefully participating audience. Those who resist Felder or Berlin are advised to skip this one — it’ll just leave more tickets for the rest of us. […]

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 88% - SWEET

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The script could stand a vigorous pruning, several performances are still wobbly and the set changes are noticeably time-consuming — yet this production, directed by Gary Imhoff, has promise. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET The most challenging performance is Frederick’s, whose abrupt shifts between Katia’s ugly outbursts of anti-Semitic bigotry and the more […]

UBU THE SH*T (FOUR CLOWNS/CSULB): 100% - SWEET

UBU THE SH*T (FOUR CLOWNS/CSULB): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This play is a must see though, especially if you’re in the mood for performing arts that breaks the stuffy dramatic mold. “Ubu the Sh*t” creates a casual atmosphere of laughs for a laid back audience. Amy Patton – The 49er SWEET This production is for mature audiences, and may not appeal to all […]

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Based on a concept by Sondheim and Julia McKenzie, the result is a clever celebration of the Master-Composer’s most enigmatic works, taking its name from a tune featured in his 1984 hit, “Sunday In The Park With George”. With a score comprised of nearly thirty melodies culled from some of Broadway’s best-loved musicals–including, “Company”, […]

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% - SWEET

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% – SWEET

SWEET “What the Butler Saw” represents Orton at his most sophisticatedly silly. It’s a play bursting with references to other plays, including even one of the greatest tragedies ever written, Euripides’ “The Bacchae.” Sad as it is to reflect on what this author might have gone on to accomplish had he not been cut down […]

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (SACRED FOOLS): 75% - BITTERSWEET

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (SACRED FOOLS): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Overall, the show has its plusses and minuses, which can always be the case when any theater company takes on a challenging and very detailed period piece. It comes across in a very traditional way. It is still a good bit of fun, and anytime you get to spend an evening with the words […]

TAKARAZUKA!!!: 88% - SWEET

TAKARAZUKA!!!: 88% – SWEET

SWEET A high degree of skill and individuality accompanies “Takarazuka!!!” at East West Players. In its elegant West Coast premiere, Susan Soon He Stanton’s very promising albeit still-forming play with music uses the famed all-female troupe in the titular Japanese city as a backdrop to an intriguing study of gender roles, intergenerational schisms and the […]

A SILVER LINING: 80% - SWEET

A SILVER LINING: 80% – SWEET

SWEET Writers Matt Soson and Vika Stubblebine’s witty, 90-minute intellectual thrill ride takes its 12-member audiences down a harrowing narrative rabbit hole. The show satirizes the conventional tropes of immersive theater even as it expertly uses the immersion experience, along with a purposefully hackneyed, Dr. Who–like sci-fi plot to dramatically embody the coercive aspects of […]

DIRTY: 61% - BITTERSWEET

DIRTY: 61% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The cast includes Zuleyka Silver as a pulchritudinous porn star wannabe, Sumiko Braun as her younger sister, and Rob Belushi as the porn producer whose dirty dealing triggers a crisis. Director Shannon Cochran plays up the comical opportunities in Hinderaker’s prolix narrative but can’t avert the play’s ultimate slide into preachiness. F. Kathleen Foley […]

THE OLD WOMAN (ROYCE HALL): 80% - SWEET

THE OLD WOMAN (ROYCE HALL): 80% – SWEET

SWEET “The Old Woman” is, in the large scheme of the ever-escalating Wilson World, a road-show roundelay, theater as hit and run. It comes into town and is gone before you know it, leaving you not quite believing your eyes or your senses. Mark Swed – LA Times SWEET Still, the famously measured Wilson can […]

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE): 85% - SWEET

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Although I tend to be skeptical about the power of any garment to effect lasting spiritual change, all those stilettos evidently tenderized me to a pulp: I drove home beaming, filled with affection for the characters and all but convinced that wearing thigh-high red leather boots is the manliest thing a guy can do. […]

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE): 66% - BITTERSWEET

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE): 66% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER In spite of its focus on physical abnormalities, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a very pretty show. It sounds nice, and it’s pleasing to look at, but that’s about it. It doesn’t offer anything new to the contemporary theatrical landscape, instead relying on borrowing bits and pieces from other, more successful musicals. But […]

I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED (T.U. STUDIOS): 100% - SWEET

I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED (T.U. STUDIOS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Some of these stories – such as depictions of anorexia-bulimia, tumultuous pregnancies, abandonment and misogynistic violence – have been explored many times in television, movies and the media. Oates’ effort to get into the heads of these suffering women and allow the audience to feel what they feel is refreshing. It opens the door […]

COMPLETENESS (VS THEATRE): 90% - SWEET

COMPLETENESS (VS THEATRE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Itamar Moses’s Completeness is chockfull of discourse about protein processes and algorithmic probabilities, and if, like myself, you’re not of a scientific bent, you could drift off amidst the disquisition and the theory. Chances are you won’t, however. As directed by Matt Pfeiffer, VS. Theatre’s current production is so smart and the ensemble so […]