RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

DAME EDNA'S GLORIOUS GOODBYE: THE FAREWELL TOUR (AHMANSON): 92% - SWEET

DAME EDNA’S GLORIOUS GOODBYE: THE FAREWELL TOUR (AHMANSON): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Almost the entire first half of the production, directed by Simon Phillips, is devoted to Edna’s exchanges with the audience. The spontaneity of Edna’s wit is dazzling — she can find levity in the humiliated mumbles of a theatergoer sinking lower and lower in her seat. But there is a law of diminishing returns. […]

EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS: A RECORD ALBUM INTERPRETATION (REDCAT/WOOSTER GROUP): 94% - SWEET

EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS: A RECORD ALBUM INTERPRETATION (REDCAT/WOOSTER GROUP): 94% – SWEET

SWEET With the addition of eerie harmonies and then, in the evening’s finale, reconstructed Shaker dances, Early Shaker Spirituals soars beyond a canny ethnomusicological evocation to become something more deeply poignant and wonderfully enchanting. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET What a difference! I’d never actually seen such. Just woodcuts and illustrations. Now, in this […]

DISCONNECTION: 100% - SWEET

DISCONNECTION: 100% – SWEET

SWEET In a riveting two-hour performance, the devastating effects of cult and thought-control groups is brought to life in Allen Barton’s production, “Disconnection.” Based on true events, and performed by a cast of six remarkable, convincing actors, the production is a powerful indictment of the dark side of dedication to a Church, its doctrines and […]

COMPANY (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

COMPANY (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Driven by a typically sublime Sondheim score, the production’s other strong assets are Cate Caplin’s vibrant and sassy choreography, Tom Buderwitz’ smart and functional urban-landscape set, some performances, and crackerjack music direction by Cassie Nickols. Les Spindle – EdgeLosAngeles SWEET This newest Company ranks among the very best. Director DeGruccio has gotten his cast […]

REBORNING (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

REBORNING (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Simon Levy has assembled an extraordinary cast in his exquisitely well-realized production, which also features impressive design elements, particularly Jeff McLaughlin’s scruffy apartment set. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET The fabulous acting was played with emotion and pathos, and the story kept the viewer engrossed and guessing for the whole hour […]

ANNA CHRISTIE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ANNA CHRISTIE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET The new Odyssey production greatly benefits from the thoughtfulness behind director Kim Rubinstein’s often searing images. Physically, it’s a great watch. Wilson Chin’s zen-minimal set, surrounded on three sides by water, floats in copious machine-made fog that I found pleasing (though I overheard two complaints, one stylistic, one of eye irritation). Michael Gend’s lighting […]

50 HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATRE FESTIVAL 2015 (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

50 HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATRE FESTIVAL 2015 (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Overall, truly admired the creativity — this is a different type of theatre than what one sees when one goes for the known authors and known works, or even the new authors when their product is of the traditional style (90 minute-120 minutes, 1-2 acts). This is much more theatre on the edge, and […]

MUTANT OLIVE (LOUNGE THEATRE): 88% - SWEET

MUTANT OLIVE (LOUNGE THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET The overall show is seductive, rich in character and more than just worthy. It is further enhanced by having the multi-talented award winning Terri Hanauer on board as Director, Caitlin Rucker as Stage Manager, Brad Bentz as Technical Director and Matt Richter for sound design. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET Ultimately the show […]

THE MEMORY OF WATER: 90% - SWEET

THE MEMORY OF WATER: 90% – SWEET

SWEET Winner of the “Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy,” this absorbingly entertaining play is full of dark humor and heart featuring three sisters – paranoid Mary, uptight Teresa, and strung out and bratty Catherine – who have returned home on the eve of their mother’s funeral after her battle with Alzheimer’s. Shari Barrett – […]

TIME STANDS STILL (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 92% - SWEET

TIME STANDS STILL (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Produced by lead performer Presciliana Esparolini and Christopher Amitrano in association with the Aquila Morong acting studio, the staging by Vicky Jenson successfully captures the script’s broad contours. Unfortunately, it underserves Margulies’ subtly interwoven personal and universal explorations of violence and its aftermath. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Donald Margulies’ script is both […]

PROOF (MOTH THEATRE): 90% - SWEET

PROOF (MOTH THEATRE): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Playwright David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama about love, grief, and higher mathematics gets a solid, if not prime (in the Gaussian sense) staging in director John Markland’s elegiac production. Markland’s production emphasizes subtext and psychology over blocking, with the result that the show seems more conversational than composed – a decision that gives […]

BILLY ELLIOT - THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 95% - SWEET

BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET I couldn’t stand the cloying 2012 touring production at the Pantages, yet I was at times quite moved by Kite’s staging of a very strong ensemble at La Mirada, and by Dana Solimando’s original choreography — not to mention the superb pit orchestra (musical direction by John Glaudini). This is a new staging, contrasted […]

SERRANO THE MUSICAL: 79% - SWEET

SERRANO THE MUSICAL: 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Running somewhere around two and three quarter hours (with intermission), this is an ambitious but uneven effort: perhaps worth a trip for the notable songs and some of the dancing and onstage talent, but badly in need of tidying, trimming and an upgrade on the book. Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly SWEET With all […]

SILENT WITNESSES: 100% - SWEET

SILENT WITNESSES: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Satie, differentiating her characters by their various European accents and slightly exaggerated demeanors, doesn’t bring these women to life much beyond their childhood tales. But the respectful way she communicates what they lived through is perfectly measured. Sentimental flourishes are banished in Anita Khanzadian’s simple and direct staging. These witnesses are witnessed with quiet […]

RANSOM, TEXAS: 67% - BITTERSWEET

RANSOM, TEXAS: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Ransom, Texas is the second production in the past year that the Virago Theatre Company of northern California has brought down for a run at the Asylum on Hollywood’s Theater Row. Bay Area-based director Jon Tracy resolutely maintains the intensity of Bivens’s father-son showdown as Vern unspools a skein of revelations that redefine Bruce’s […]

JACK LEMMON RETURNS (BROAD STAGE): 85% - SWEET

JACK LEMMON RETURNS (BROAD STAGE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Despite script issues, Jack Lemmon Returns is a loving but complicated portrait of a revered man told by the son who obviously adored him. Chris Lemmon not only exposes new dimensions of an American legend but also reveals himself to be a charismatic stage presence. Jonas Schwartz – ArtsInLA BITTERSWEET Hershey Felder, known for […]

CLOWN BAR: 67% - BITTERSWEET

CLOWN BAR: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Contrasted against Robledo’s 2012 staging of Adam Szymkowicz’s comic-book-inspired satire Hearts Like Fists at Theatre of Note, this second collaboration disappoints. Pauline Adamek – Stage Raw SWEET So far Clown Bar is only running every Thursday evening through January 29th. If they continue getting rave reviews and sold out performances, they may extend the […]

VIRAL: 92% - SWEET

VIRAL: 92% – SWEET

SWEET What’s more shocking than the setup is that Viral largely pulls it off. Playwright Mac Rogers has an ear for the worlds he’s trafficking in and as bizarre as the premise seems you’re willing to go along for the ride. The world we find ourselves in isn’t that distant – especially in LA. The […]

THE LIFE OF THE NIGHT (SON OF SEMELE COMPANY CREATION FESTIVAL): 83% - SWEET

THE LIFE OF THE NIGHT (SON OF SEMELE COMPANY CREATION FESTIVAL): 83% – SWEET

SWEET The Life of the Night engages us with real people caught in the tides of love and need, and the mysteries of the night. It moves us to suffer with them, and it makes us laugh. And all in an hour, which ends as suddenly as love does. Don’t miss it. Mark Hein – […]

BLONDE POISON: 95% - SWEET

BLONDE POISON: 95% – SWEET

SWEET Playwright Gail Louw’s masterpiece drama “Blonde Poison” has its American premiere at Beverly Hills Theatre 40. I was held captive for the entire ninety minutes. The story, based on the true story of Stella Goldschlag during the Holocaust, stars Salome Jens, who gives a brilliant performance under the superb direction of renowned director, Jules […]

THE WHIPPING MAN (SOUTH COAST REP/PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 78% - SWEET

THE WHIPPING MAN (SOUTH COAST REP/PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Although the story starts with a bang, the exposition required to catalog all of the exceptions and coincidences responsible for the incredible scenario soon bogs things down. Director Martin Benson and the three lively performers can’t quite succeed in keeping up the momentum. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET This multidimensional story about freedom, […]

DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER (GROUP REP): 75% - BITTERSWEET

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (GROUP REP): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET This is a French farce and requires perfection every minute to keep up the comedy, and director Drina Durazo does a good but less-than-perfect job of keeping everything in order. There are problems with props (a phone cord that is way too long, a suitcase that block doors) and then there is the timing: […]

LOVE, NOËL (THE WALLIS): 88% - SWEET

LOVE, NOËL (THE WALLIS): 88% – 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): 94% - SWEET

SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 94% – 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): 82% - SWEET

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

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): 90% - SWEET

HELLCAB (ELEPHANT STAGES): 90% – 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): 83% - SWEET

SHE LOVES ME (CHANCE THEATER): 83% – 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): 80% - SWEET

THE PENIS CHRONICLES (COAST PLAYHOUSE): 80% – 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, […]