RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

MR. WOLF (SOUTH COAST REP): 75% - BITTERSWEET

MR. WOLF (SOUTH COAST REP): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Unlike the hunt in “Bengal Tiger In The Bagdad Zoo”, Joseph’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, I found myself on the hunt for some rhyme and reason to be excited or enthralled with Joseph’s setup after Mr. Wolf died. Surely a play about children’s abductions couldn’t be more relevant, but this is more a story […]

CINDERELLA (THEATRE WEST): 100% - SWEET

CINDERELLA (THEATRE WEST): 100% – SWEET

SWEET If you are looking for a wonderful afternoon of fun, laughter and sheer enjoyment – get yourself along to Theatre West, Cahuenga Boulevard West, Hollywood and see Storybook Theatre’s latest offering. I did and had a whale of a time. Accompanied by my two granddaughters (Stella and Cynthia) I was witness to a ‘Cinderella’ […]

NEVER GIVIN' UP: 83% - SWEET

NEVER GIVIN’ UP: 83% – SWEET

SWEET “Never Givin’ Up” gathers us into a civic body to contemplate these subjects from a human-centered point of view. This is what the theater, even in an artistically relaxed mode, can uniquely offer. King, citing theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, cautioned that “groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.” But audiences look to the stage […]

MUD BLUE SKY: 94% - SWEET

MUD BLUE SKY: 94% – SWEET

SWEET This is what life is all about. Carol Kaufman Segal – Reviewplays BITTERSWEET Director Mary Lou Belli keeps the play moving but there is not much she can do with the inert writing. If jokes about pot smoking, cable porn, Bravo’s Top Chef, Sprite and cognac mixers, big boobs, plastic forks in dishwashers and […]

MINE EYES HATH SEEN (THEATRE BANSHEE): 100% - SWEET

MINE EYES HATH SEEN (THEATRE BANSHEE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This sort of piece doesn’t contain much surprise; its value is as a reminder of what we already understand – that is, the horror of war – but many of us choose not to think about if we can. Those with a skeletal knowledge of history may be taken aback by the contrast between […]

THE BREAK OF NOON (CITY GARAGE): 58% - BITTERSWEET

THE BREAK OF NOON (CITY GARAGE): 58% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The challenge with The Break of Noon is that after nearly two and half hours, I wasn’t sure what all that button pushing added up to. This being a City Garage production, the aesthetic is clean and for the most part uncluttered. The text is clear, the acting solid, and there’s a lot to […]

WITCH BALL (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

WITCH BALL (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Though its story line is linear, coherent, and accessible, Witch Ball nevertheless calls to mind absurdist theatre pieces such as Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart and other dada-esque works. Its use of over-the-top narration, histrionic declamation, occasional non sequiturs and anachronistic jokes, extensive individual and synchronized movement – including some actual dance routines – […]

THE POWER OF DUFF: 64% - BITTERSWEET

THE POWER OF DUFF: 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER The volume and interchangeability of plot developments suggest a story in search of something to say. The punchy gimmick — an anchorman who starts to pray — could conceivably be spun into a thought-provoking play, but it isn’t there yet. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET With this reworking of his play, Belber presumably […]

RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD-THE MUSICAL: 95% - SWEET

RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD-THE MUSICAL: 95% – SWEET

SWEET Though not without new-show quirks, Matt Donnelly, Jamelle Dolphin and Andy Cooper’s fervent, thoughtful musical study of legendary record store Dolphin’s of Hollywood and its visionary founder is interesting, entertaining and frequently thrilling, perhaps the most promising new musical the 99-seat arena has produced since “The Behavior of Broadus,” if not “Louis and Keely: […]

NOT THAT JEWISH (JEWISH WOMEN'S THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

NOT THAT JEWISH (JEWISH WOMEN’S THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET By show’s end, we come to love and appreciate Monica Piper, and all she’s endured; when someone is able to dig deep into one’s own challenges, along the oft bumpy road of life, and creatively express the journey with humor, the result is phenomenal! Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET In her 80-minute brilliantly […]

CLUTCH: 72% - BITTERSWEET

CLUTCH: 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s a fascinating premise, despite a basic predictability and some credibility problems. It’s hard to believe that, if Gordon was that intent on giving his brain to science, he wouldn’t have created a legally binding document, or that as a responsible scientist, Dr. Moss would not have insisted on getting one — or that […]

I AND YOU: 75% - BITTERSWEET

I AND YOU: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Those delicate, rich moments are why I had to fight a visceral distaste for the play’s unearned ending, which undermines the story and its characters’ bravery in the face of an uncertain future. It feels, at minimum, like artistic overreach or a sentimental ploy. Jenny Lower – LA Weekly SWEET I AND YOU is […]

OCCUPATION: 75% - BITTERSWEET

OCCUPATION: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET But as with farce, the enemy of any black comedy is pathos, and director Ben Rock lays it on with a trowel in a weirdly melodramatic and grisly Act 2 that only succeeds in smothering the laughs along with whatever serious points Occupation is trying to make. Bill Raden – LA Weekly BITTERSWEET Director […]

BLOOD: 100% - SWEET

BLOOD: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Edwards’s script could use some snips here and there, but it’s an entertaining and humorous blend of light- and dark-heartedness. The performances are both resonant and convincing under Edwards’s direction. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET It simply works. Each drop of sweat and every articulated speech blasts the audience with the true […]

OF GOOD STOCK (SOUTH COAST REP): 83% - SWEET

OF GOOD STOCK (SOUTH COAST REP): 83% – SWEET

SWEET Of Good Stock is well supported by the unsurpassed quality of stagecraft that we’ve come to expect from SCR. Of particular note is Tony Fanning’s scenic design, which ingeniously recreates both the interior and exterior of a Cape Cod residence. Ben Miles – Showmag SWEET Thanks to the brilliant cast and Gaye Taylor Upchurch’s […]

PRISON BOXING: 100% - SWEET

PRISON BOXING: 100% – SWEET

SWEET I recently attended a great new one woman show called Prison Boxing making it’s world premiere at The Skylight Theatre Skylab on Vermont. It’s a very good biographical show starring and written by the gifted and likable Leah Joki who started her professional career as an actress after her prestigious Juilliard training in New […]

JULIUS CAESAR (A NOISE WITHIN): 94% - SWEET

JULIUS CAESAR (A NOISE WITHIN): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Ultimately this lively but scattershot production, instead of bringing “Julius Caesar” back to life, buries the play deeper in the sands of time. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliot have turned Shakespeare’s thought-provoking political drama into a powerful exposé on the less noble actions of men, anchored by […]

NEWSIES (PANTAGES THEATRE): 88% - SWEET

NEWSIES (PANTAGES THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET In short, “Newsies” is a critic-proof, resolutely entertaining, slightly exhausting romp, with a strong company and no end of technical flash. If it’s more throwback than breakthrough, or if an air of the mechanical hovers around the entire enterprise, nothing this reviewer or anyone else says will matter an iota. Prepare to battle for […]

A DOG'S HOUSE: 92% - SWEET

A DOG’S HOUSE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET This is, overall, a great production. It’s astute, uproarious, heartbreaking, and above all honest. It dares to look at the nature of relationships as they are put to the test. The strain of human interaction sometimes wears on us to the point of breaking, and this play wants to show what that break looks […]

CORKTOWN '57: 82% - SWEET

CORKTOWN ’57: 82% – SWEET

SWEET The play raises questions on the nature of radicalism and appeasement that are more allegorical than immediate. Still, it takes you to another place and another time with considerable grace and humor. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly BITTERSWEET On one level, this all works as a perfectly fine well-made play, and follows a […]

CLASS: 93% - SWEET

CLASS: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Directed by Dimitri Toscas “Class” is a splendid 95-minute study of two individuals whose lives intersect in a way that changes both their lives. Sarah (Callie Schuttera) has been referred to Elliott by her agent for lessons. Candyce Columbus – LA Examiner SWEET Director Dimitri Toscas’ decision to have the characters retire to off […]

CINDERELLA (AHMANSON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

CINDERELLA (AHMANSON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Mark Brokaw’s production, with its quick-assembly storybook set by Anna Louizos, hadn’t settled into the Ahmanson by Wednesday’s performance. Josh Rhodes’ choreography looked clumsy, and the actors seemed as though they were trying to figure out the dimensions of the house. But the story’s natural enchantment is greatly enhanced by the music of Richard […]

DUNSINANE: 80% - SWEET

DUNSINANE: 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If Greig’s drama were more fully imagined, this idea might have a more powerful effect. “Dunsinane” is intelligently arranged, but the characters are more or less figures in a diagram that is drawn independent of them. Their motivations, conflicts and moments of ambivalence matter less than the play’s Big Point. Charles McNulty – LA […]

AMERICAN WEE-PIE (THEATRE 40): 72% - BITTERSWEET

AMERICAN WEE-PIE (THEATRE 40): 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Mildly amusing, never hilarious or truly imaginative, American Wee-Pie is feel-good family fare, the sort of inoffensive comedy suitable for older children should you need to bring them. The effort to be zany – daikon radish in a cupcake recipe? — often falls flat. Both the plot and its ensuing attempts at humor frequently […]

PYGMALION (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 66% - BITTERSWEET

PYGMALION (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 66% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Traditions are meant to be reinvented, but a revival that is more interested in creating indoor fog effects than in uniting its cast can’t help but founder. McGarry’s Mrs. Higgins, though a touch wan, might have served as the model for the rest of the company in balancing humor with seriousness. Turk, an adroit […]

IF YOU CAN GET TO BUFFALO: 100% - SWEET

IF YOU CAN GET TO BUFFALO: 100% – SWEET

SWEET That long-ago teapot tempest, its perpetrator, his victims and both their risible naiveté and rude disillusionment are all faithfully resurrected as if freshly ripped from today’s headline in director Edgar Landa’s inventive and crisply staged production (on Meg Cunningham’s fittingly carnivalesque, text-projected set). Bill Raden – Stage Raw SWEET For all its swift satire […]

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: 67% - BITTERSWEET

THIEVES: 67% – 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): 75% - BITTERSWEET

THE AMERICAN DREAM (GROUP REP): 75% – 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, […]