RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% - SWEET

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor, plays Teacher, a fractious bully whose semi-coherent verbal harangues are the source of his catastrophic charisma. Under the direction of Stephen Rothman, Kotsur uses ASL to transform Mamet’s words into a visual symphony and this challenging character into a poignant figure of isolation. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET […]

WASHER/DRYER: 60% - BITTERSWEET

WASHER/DRYER: 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET That said, at its heart the piece is a sincere, well-intended contrivance that gets its laughs like clockwork but isn’t exactly unfamiliar. Audiences with an appetite for light comedy may well enjoy it, yet this “Washer/Dryer” could use more realistic starch and less synthetic fabric softener. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET Directed […]

CHAVEZ RAVINE, AN L.A. REVIVAL (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 88% - SWEET

CHAVEZ RAVINE, AN L.A. REVIVAL (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The staging is of such high caliber and the material has so much import that it would have been nice to see these artists put more faith in the sophistication of their audience — and their own ability as storytellers. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET It’s a marvelous evening, which won’t travel well […]

THE PRICE (MARK TAPER FORUM): 82% - SWEET

THE PRICE (MARK TAPER FORUM): 82% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Garry Hynes’ production, which opened Saturday at the Mark Taper Forum, is a shade too respectful. The Tony-winning Irish director treats the text as though it were a castle of poetry when it is a foursquare house made of prose. Exposition could have been judiciously cut, repetitions eliminated and some delaying tactics sped up. […]

ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 75% - BITTERSWEET

ENTER LAUGHING – THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jokes and the witty numbers (“The Butler’s Song” brings down the house) don’t feel quite big or splashy enough to distract us from the low stakes. Choreography (by director Ross) is minimal, perhaps because the sleek set by Evan A. Bartoletti, while fitting nicely in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater, provides little elbow […]

LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Unlike much new musical theater, “Loch Ness” is a charming, pleasingly quirky, wholly original concept. Its fine staging at Chance shows that theaters taking a chance on a new, unproduced play can strike it rich. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET Whether Loch Ness is the show that launches Pailet into non-fringe territory is […]

CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET While the community members themselves probably appreciate these efforts, these dutiful digressions hardly enhance the overall experience for the general audience member. I’ve seen previous “bridge” shows in which Cornerstone integrated the disparate elements much more smoothly, but perhaps the fact that these particular components come from 10 locales within such a large state […]

LIGATURE MARKS (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 86% - SWEET

LIGATURE MARKS (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 86% – SWEET

SWEET One thing that impresses me about Rogers as a writer is he’s not afraid to write what screenwriter Philippa Boyens called dialogue that is “performer dependent.” Without two skilled, talented, charismatic and to some extent fearless performers this play doesn’t work. Fitzgerald and Fenning on the other hand remain totally alive, intensely “into” the […]

SONS OF THE PROPHET: 76% - SWEET

SONS OF THE PROPHET: 76% – SWEET

SWEET Director Matthews’ staging possesses an up close intimacy that leaves you almost feeling as though these guys are your own family. It’s almost a shame when the play ends, as the effect on the viewer is quite unusual: You feel as though you’ve just gotten one of those end-of-year Christmas letters from a distant […]

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 79% - SWEET

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET When I saw the play, under McPherson’s direction, at London’s Donmar Warehouse, a quality of undefined menace was unmistakably part of the drama. That same edge isn’t quite there at the Geffen, and as a result the transitions between quotidian moments and harrowing ones can feel somewhat artificial. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What gets served up is, of course, somewhat thinner than the symphonic orchestration we all grew up with on the original concept album, but it manages to evoke those classic sounds while rocking and buzzing on its own, more intimate terms. Bob Verini – ArtsInLA SWEET But to bring in it all together the […]

FUGUE: 84% - SWEET

FUGUE: 84% – SWEET

SWEET The striking innovation here is in transposing the musical principles of fugue into narrative. Parallel elements of the three stories are underscored by impressively choreographed simultaneous delivery of words, phrases and, on occasion, orgasms. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET It is the movement, the timing and the brilliant staging of sex, suicide and […]

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% - SWEET

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Except for some mis-staged lighting to allow Mr. Cavett to walk freely as is his obvious nature is as a renowned talk-show host, this play was surprisingly funny and yet really smart with a view into how this one-time incident that happened on Mr. Cavett’s show might have eventually affected our first amendment. I […]

THE PITCHFORK DISNEY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 83% - SWEET

THE PITCHFORK DISNEY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET I tell you what. Here’s what really happened: Having come to Silver Lake, at the expense of sleep, gas, time, and peace of mind, I elected to be moved and disturbed, provoked even, made more malleable and less asleep, by a vivid piece of art that costs what you want it to cost. (The […]

THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS: 67% - BITTERSWEET

THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET This literary gamesmanship is a lot more fun and funny than it sounds, particularly when the matter at hand is sex and relationships. Maher constructs a terrific setup, but in the last third, the play starts to go off the rails. That’s when the despised college president (John Wuchte) appears and Maher mostly abandons […]

GHOSTS OF THE UNDERGROUND: 100% - SWEET

GHOSTS OF THE UNDERGROUND: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nevertheless, and in spite of the occasional sour note and shaky acting performance, Ghosts of the Underground racks up an impressive tally of theatrical coups, not the least of which is the sudden dawning that happens about three-quarters into the show of exactly which ancient tale Muñoz and Neubauer are so eloquently reinterpreting. To […]

PULP SHAKESPEARE (OR BARD FICTION) (THEATRE ASYLUM REVIVAL): 100% - SWEET

PULP SHAKESPEARE (OR BARD FICTION) (THEATRE ASYLUM REVIVAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The show is worth seeing, especially if you are fans of the original movie, “Pulp Fiction” Daniel Faigin – Observations Along the Road SWEET I saw this production last time it was in LA. It was good then, but I have to say this reincarnation blows it out of the water. Go buy tickets […]

REVIVAL: 0% - BITTER

REVIVAL: 0% – BITTER

BITTER With such an original premise and with so many raffish characters to draw on, you’d think that Neuss would be able to make Revival take flight; unfortunately, her play remains earthbound for much of its near-two-hour duration. The reasons for this are many: no narrative spine, no urgency, no real drama. That might not […]

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Playwright Lily Blau receives a strong mounting of her world premiere The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Director Abigail Deser glides her able cast through what Blau has imagined would be in the missing pages of author Lewis Carroll’s actual diaries. Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld BITTERSWEET Cummins’ transit […]

TRISTAN & YSEULT (KNEEHIGH/SOUTH COAST REP): 94% - SWEET

TRISTAN & YSEULT (KNEEHIGH/SOUTH COAST REP): 94% – SWEET

SWEET This splendid cast and band run the gamut of comic and tragic emotions as well as delivering some exuberantly fun song and dance moments. Tristan & Yseult is a very unique theatrical experience that should not be missed. Rob Stevens – Haines His Way SWEET Cheeky, goofy and sassy, Tristan & Yseult at South […]

BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% - SWEET

BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Sometimes, it really is just about being entertained. Here, you will be. Frances Baum Nicholson – The Stage Struck Review SWEET February 3, 1959 may well have been, as Don McLean sang it, “the day the music died,” but the music of Buddy Holly lives on at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in the crowd-pleasing […]

CLEAN START: 71% - BITTERSWEET

CLEAN START: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Ultimately it’s a tale about setting boundaries and what it really means to be a friend. It’s the human factor that wonderfully tops all in this show. People are people in our many forms, sharing happiness, joy, jealousy and pain, most of all love, for each other and ourselves. All of these characters “clean […]

TIMEPIECE: 100% - SWEET

TIMEPIECE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET This witty new absurdist comedy by playwright Duncombe helps laugh at our ultimately silly and illogical view of love, life, and death. Sarah A. Spitz – Santa Monica Daily Press SWEET If it can be a little sophomoric, the play betrays no discomfort with that whatever, capable of mocking its own preoccupations as much […]

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: 71% - BITTERSWEET

DISCONNECTION: 71% – BITTERSWEET

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): 86% - SWEET

COMPANY (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 86% – 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): 80% - SWEET

REBORNING (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 80% – SWEET

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): 82% - SWEET

ANNA CHRISTIE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

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 […]