RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

Ivanno Jeremiah, left, and Nonhlanhla Kheswa in "The Suit" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Photo: Pascal Victor, ArtComArt.

THE SUIT (FREUD PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Three years ago, also with the help of Estienne and Krawczyk, Brook reduced Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” down to its ritualistic essences, removing the magic and retaining the humanity. In the “The Suit,” however, the horrors won’t go away. But by making theater, music and dance inseparably one, Brook’s art reaches that cleansing Bachian [...]

Shannon Holt, Craig Robert Young in "The Vortex" at the Malibu Playhouse. Photo: Company.

THE VORTEX (MALIBU PLAYHOUSE): 17% – BITTER

BITTER Judging by the pervasive silence during the performance, the rest of the audience apparently didn’t get what was being said, either. Whether it was the accents or the acoustics or the rushed, shrill delivery, the audience didn’t respond with much enthusiasm or amusement. But they gave the play a standing ovation at the end [...]

Austin Rodgers and Mark Bramhall in "White Marriage" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo by Enci Box.

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Performances from the strong 11-member company are first rate, and Sossi directs his cast to play the lengthy, absurdist drama for maximum laughs. Yet there is a dark and disturbing undercurrent flowing beneath the allegorical farce that only fully emerges in the play’s final, devastating moments. What’s missing throughout is a sense of rising [...]

Rebecca Ann Johnson and Damon Kirsche in Musical Theatre West's Production of "'S Wonderful". Photo: Zomna Avila.

‘S WONDERFUL: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jazz is delicious, many songs are delightful, but the entire show would have been better without the intrusive and distracting plots. John Farrell – Random Lengths SWEET S’WONDERFUL: The New Gershwin Musical is a song-and-dance delight. Greg Simay – MyBurbank SWEET Take forty classic George Gershwin tunes, round up five stellar triple-threats to [...]

Taylor Gilbert (center front) with (back row from left to right) Hannah Mae Sturges, Jack Millard and Dani Stephens in "Sovereign Body" at the Road Theatre. Photo: John Lorenz.

SOVEREIGN BODY: 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Beck’s decision to make Anna’s affliction an anthropomorphic one – a handsome devilish specter (Jack Millard), visible only to her, is responsible for her pain – adds an interesting dimension, helping to lift the overwritten and somewhat contrived script out of the movie-of-the-week waters into which it frequently lapses. Ultimately, the burden of a [...]

Hal Landon Jr. and Lynn Milgrim in "Rest" at South Coast Repertory. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

REST (SOUTH COAST REP): 92% – SWEET

SWEET This prolific dramatist’s latest play, which is having its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in a finely acted production directed by Martin Benson, put me in mind of the American version of the dark British television comedy in which the old and frail are tended to by caregivers who could use some urgent [...]

Deborah Strang and Geoff Elliott in "Come Back, Little Sheba" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The ANW cast members inhabit their 1950 characters with stunning authenticity. G. Bruce Smith – Stage and Cinema SWEET Fortunately, the current revival of Inge’s 1950 drama “Come Back, Little Sheba” at A Noise Within largely steers clear of blatancy, thanks to the skillful co-direction of Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott. When the characters [...]

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Broad Stage. Photo: Simon Annand.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (BROAD STAGE): 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Still, the production, by War Horse director Tom Morris, is surprisingly uninvolving. The main quartet of lovers and their foibles feel too separate from the puppet business, a big reason that the puppets’ theatricality doesn’t translate into emotional heft. Zachary Pincus-Roth – LA Weekly SWEET Nonetheless, this inventive production will send you home with [...]

"In the Heights" at the Cabrillo Music Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

IN THE HEIGHTS (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production now playing at Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks, which is, for all intents and purposes, a regional replica of the Broadway show (the director and a large chunk of the cast were on the second national tour), doesn’t make “In the Heights” bad, but it doesn’t do its source material justice. [...]

Mindy Sterling and Usman Ally in "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison" at the Falcon Theatre. Photo: Michael Lamont.

THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Indeed, this delicately potent West Coast premiere, a co-production between the Falcon and Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company, often seems to be composing itself before our eyes in a blend of magic realism and transparent emotion. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Productions like The Grönholm Method, Billy & Ray, and February’s Bunny [...]

Robert Lesko in "B. Franklin" at SFS Theatre. Photo: Michael Lamont.

B. FRANKLIN: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, this is a literate and entertaining examination of a vital period in our history, told with wit, humor, and perspicacity, and acted with skill. And director Bjorn Johnson keeps things moving briskly and efficiently. Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s handsome set adds considerable detail to remind us of Franklin’s time, and of his broad-ranging interests. [...]

"For the Record: Tarantino" at DBA. Photo by Rony Alwin.

FOR THE RECORD: TARANTINO (DBA HOLLYWOOD): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This is the show to see in Los Angeles, and the continuing success of its cast and creators is well-deserved. Bravo Kevin P. Taft – Frontiers SWEET For The Record: Tarantino brings the movies of Quentin Tarantino to life through the soundtracks he meticulously integrated into each of his films. Add the live band, [...]

Mark Whitten and Kim Hubert at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Photo: Michael Lamont.

FLOYD COLLINS (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET From its striking opening tableau, to its full-cast musical prologue, “The Ballad Of Floyd Collins,” accompanied by teenaged balladeer Jewell Estes (Matt Magnusson) on guitar, to our first glimpse of Floyd crawling down and through narrow tunnels before reaching a rainbow-hued cave he hopes will bring the area fame and fortune, Guettel and Landeau’s [...]

"Doctor Anonymous" at the Zephyr. Photo; Ed Krieger.

DOCTOR ANONYMOUS: 70% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Based on the true story of Dr. John Fryer, the Philadelphia psychiatrist who bravely came out at the Association’s Philadelphia conference in 1972, Doctor Anonymous is a well-intentioned piece that suffers from a too-episodic structure whose scenes don’t always fit together smoothly. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET This is a world-premiere production of [...]

The Visceral Company presents Karen Nicole and Mark Souza in "Recall" at the Lex Theatre. Photo: Company.

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Clark is smart to envision a near-future, fear-based world that’s taken its cue from the chilling rash of school shootings that have occurred over the past decade or so—even if Quinn, the loner who befriends Lucy, is a little predictable in his black trench coat and military boots. The current-topicality of it engages. And [...]

Thaddeus Shafer and Elitia Daniels in "How I Learned to Drive" at Theater Asylum. Photo: Company.

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (ILLYRIAN PLAYERS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Happily, director Carly Weckstein’s accomplished studio revival of the play (abetted by William Herder’s nicely emblematic scenic design) does come as a potent reminder of just what delectable and powerfully drawn roles the script offers for a committed ensemble. Bill Raden – Stage Raw SWEET Performed with no intermission, played out on Will Herder’s [...]

Jeremy Kinser, Bilal Mir and Deborah Jensen in ‘Rite of Seymour’ at the Son of Semele Theater. Photo courtesy of Drive Theatre Company.

RITE OF SEYMOUR (SON OF SEMELE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The look of the play was truly excellent. Paterno skillfully acted as de-evolved Seymour, which, combined with his monkey makeover, was pretty disturbing. Yet convincing! The audience is initially horrified at his appearance but then grows to find him endearing, as do the characters in the play. Casey O’Lear – ScreamFMLondon SWEET As farces [...]

The cast of "Crazy For You" at the Candelight Pavilion. Photo: Company.

CRAZY FOR YOU (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% – SWEET

SWEET So hurry on down to Candlelight Pavilion for a true treat and enjoy a good meal and great show. Robert Machray – Stagehappenings SWEET The songs are all Gershwin, the dancing is virtually non-stop, and the entertainment value is sky-high in the Tony-winning Best Musical of 1992 Crazy For You, which Candlelight Pavilion Dinner [...]

Four Larks presents "Orpheus" playing at a secret downtown LA location. Photo by Eugene Lee.

ORPHEUS (FOUR LARKS): 93% – SWEET

SWEET Throughout, the beige-clad and slight grubby (!) performers move, sway, declaim, sing and either perform percussion or play musical instruments—all in a deftly choreographed and pleasingly natural fashion, like the ebb and flow of a gentle tide. Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA BITTERSWEET Orpheus is lovely in so many ways, but makes a couple of [...]

Christian Maltez (l.), Alex Miller and Kevin Ferris in "Wild Songs and Naked Souls" at the T.U. Studios. Photo: Mathew Caine @ Studio Digitrope.

WILD SONGS AND NAKED SOULS: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Gloria Gifford, with a cast of over twenty artists allowed each performance to be distinctive. At no time was there a moment when the attention was not exactly where she intended, nor was the pace lagging. Entrance and exits were flawless. A visionary, Gloria has brought classic writers and poets to North Hollywood [...]

"L.A. Deli" at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

L.A. DELI: 92% – SWEET

SWEET L.A. Deli is a therapeutic 12 Sketch Program for show business habitués trying to break the cycle of rejection and self-delusion. Industry predators and their preyed-upon square off across the tables of Jeffery P. Eisenmann’s detailed set. They include starry-eyed wannabes, jaded has-been, and every shade of shady character in between. Bobrick’s program note [...]

Keith David and Byron J. Smith (background in "Paul Robeson," at the Ebony Repertory Theatre. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

PAUL ROBESON (EBONY REP): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The least effective scene is an unnecessarily thorough reenactment of Robeson’s appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, with Smith asking the questions from the piano bench. The slack direction and unfocused storytelling render a potentially dynamic sequence tedious, bombastic and repetitive. The reliance on history that charges “Paul Robeson” ultimately proves its undoing. [...]

Frank Gangarossa andJack Kutcher in "The Petrified Forest" at Theatre West. Photo:  Charlie Mount.

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It is a solid example of the Modernist movement in literature, and of high-stakes drama that is surprisingly still relevant and as wildly entertaining today as it must have been in 1935 when it was written. Patrick Hurley – LifeInLA SWEET Is there a chance for Gabby’s and Alan’s romance? Will Duke and his [...]

Santa Monica Rep presents "The Memorandum" at the Miles Memorial Playhouse: Photo: Mitch Goldstrum.

THE MEMORANDUM (SANTA MONICA REP): 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Staging this play was no easy task for Santa Monica Rep’s Director Jan Bloom, who has chosen to present it with the audience seated on either side, like at a tennis match (set by T. Cavelti). This presents multiple problems of visibility and audibility, when the actors’ faces are not in full view and [...]

"Is There Sex After Marriage?" at the Two Roads Theatre. Photo: Company.

IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE?: 90% – SWEET

SWEET Riotously written, and maniacally directed by Jeff Gould … this x-rated adult comedy is outrageously funny! Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times SWEET This play is the third in a series of relationship comedies written by Gould. These include “Troubled Waters”. “It’s Just Sex,” and “Is There Sex After Marriage?” The two prior plays were [...]

CLASSIC COUPLES COUNSELING: 57% – BITTERSWEET

CLASSIC COUPLES COUNSELING: 57% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET So…what if Lady MacBeth had been diagnosed with OCD, manifest through excessive hand washing? What if The Taming of the Shrew’s Petruchio was discovered to have been bipolar in his treatment, entreaties and then mistreatment towards Kate? What if Ophelia’s prime complaint towards her mate, was that she just thought Hamlet was “wishy washy” [...]

Michael Hanson and Bill Wolski) in Little Fish Theatre's "The Melville Boys." Photo: Company.

THE MELVILLE BOYS (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The show’s perfectly paced. It begins frat kegger funny and then, almost in a whisper, becomes sad as hell. It ends neither maudlin nor tragic. Instead, to Vander Roest’s credit, it glows with a gentle humanity: all four characters must (and do) come to terms with the one thing that no one who’s ever [...]

Pippa Hinchley, Wendy Radford, David Hunt Stafford, Ron Bottita, and Chet Grissom in "God Only Knows" at Theatre 40. Photo by Ed Krieger.

GOD ONLY KNOWS (THEATRE 40): 63% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET If you enjoy a mystery, you will enjoy the United States Premiere of a mystery thriller at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills. Whether you are a believer or not, you will enjoy God Only Knows, written by award-winning British playwright Hugh Whitemore. And you will definitely take pleasure in the work of the artists [...]

Bruce Davison and Sharon Lawrence in "A Song at Twilight" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Photo: Michael Lamont.

A SONG AT TWILIGHT (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET This production of “A Song at Twilight” is a reminder that there’s more to Coward than Champagne bubbles and intoxicating quips. What could very easily have turned into a vintage case study of a closeted homosexual writer becomes a probing exposé of the concealments and deceptions that keep our most intimate relationships — with [...]

Stephen Van Dorn, Bruce Ladd, Nathan Bell, Deborah Marlowe, and Tannis Hanson in "Lend Me A Tenor" at the Davis Theatre. Photo by Lindsay Schnebly.

LEND ME A TENOR (ACTORS CO-OP): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Moosie Drier directs with verve and a wealth of comic invention. Bell skillfully navigates the changes as Max is transformed from nebbish to newly confident faux-star. Ladd is a whirlwind of motion as the frantic producer, and Vanbuskirk is hilarious as the much put-upon Tito. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA SWEET Kimi Walker’s production is [...]