RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

BRIGHT STAR (OLD GLOBE): 79% - SWEET

BRIGHT STAR (OLD GLOBE): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The drawbacks of this musical’s backward-glancing manner are most notable in Martin’s book, which is often floridly melodramatic. The action takes place just after the Second World War, with a soap opera-ish back story set 22 years earlier, but stylistically, the piece hearkens back to the 19th century before psychological realism started ruining everyone’s […]

SOMEWHERE: 63% - BITTERSWEET

SOMEWHERE: 63% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET “This is the void where you make sense of your life,” says Michael when he realizes that he is in a holding pattern. That statement could also be applied to the stages of bringing a new play to life. SOMEWHERE has already received developmental workshops in Manhattan, Sydney and London before coming to LA […]

MAPLE AND VINE (CHANCE THEATER): 92% - SWEET

MAPLE AND VINE (CHANCE THEATER): 92% – SWEET

SWEET The play ends with the most in-the-head character, Katha, still questioning the reality of her newfound faux world. And, in another masterful stroke by Harrison, backed by director Mark Ramont’s gentle hand at the helm, there is no easy answer provided. Is this world of close-knit neighbors and pigs in a blanket any different, […]

GOOD PEOPLE (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

GOOD PEOPLE (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The dilemmas facing the life-battered protagonist of “Good People” are perhaps strategically manipulated, but that doesn’t make them any less relevant, humorous or dramatically engrossing. In fact, David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2011 comedy-drama of socioeconomic dynamics in South Boston is in some ways his finest construct to date, as its rock-solid rendering at La Mirada Theatre […]

AFFLUENCE: 94% - SWEET

AFFLUENCE: 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The cast — Pedersen, Lord, Kulinska, Huff, Uhebe and Tepper — are all experienced actors and performed appropriately. I found Eisenberg’s direction to be slow, as if the audience might miss some significant step along the way. It also grew tiresome for the Kulinska and Huff characters to object, loudly and repeatedly, to their […]

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 95% - SWEET

THE CALL OF CTHULHU (VISCERAL COMPANY): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Sick of this accursed heatwave? Longing for the thrills and chills of the Halloween season to commence? No need to pray to the Great Old Ones, just slither on down to the little theater on the corner of Lexington and McCadden and be indoctrinated into H.P. Lovecraft’s weird and terrifying universe. I don’t usually […]

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, what makes this harrowing “Trip” endurable, even uplifting, is Carrie’s hard-won humor and wisdom, and the peace she is able to make with her own unhappiness before she is caught and marched back to Houston. “There are worse things,” she dryly retorts when the sheriff reflects on her childhood friend’s “lonely death alone […]

SCARY MUSICAL, THE MUSICAL: 94% - SWEET

SCARY MUSICAL, THE MUSICAL: 94% – SWEET

SWEET Hochberg’s musical is, strictly speaking, slighter than it needs to be, and the book’s choppy structure and internal contradictions come across as being sloppy and inadequately thought through. That said, it’s certainly a mistake to expect this show to be anything other than frothy, ghoulish fun – and director James J. Mellon’s staging is […]

BETTER: 83% - SWEET

BETTER: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Stephen Gifford’s beautifully executed set with subtle lighting by R. Christopher Stokes creates the perfect atmosphere for the story to unfold. Goldberg’s ability to bring these three dimensional characters to life: emerging through twenty months of workshopping by The Echo pays off. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles SWEET Fresh and funny and touching and wise, […]

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s hard to say why the play’s production at Theatre West doesn’t reach the level of comical lunacy that is so obviously required. Certainly, co-directors Pete Parkin and John Gallogly have assembled a cast of game and crisply well-prepared actors who go through their frenetic paces with nary a hitch. Perhaps it’s simply that […]

MELISSA ARCTIC (ROAD THEATRE): 79% - SWEET

MELISSA ARCTIC (ROAD THEATRE): 79% – SWEET

SWEET In place of verse, Wright threads the piece with poetic songs (with Danny Webber on keyboard) that seldom unduly tax a cast of primarily actors rather than singers. The resulting thematic tapestry of rebirth and the restorative power of art satisfies against all narrative probability. Hard to believe, but totally true. Philip Brandes – […]

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Through a magical, musical tour, with memorable song and dance numbers, sure to wow the audience, such as ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz,”and “Roll in the Hay,” the audience is sure to burst their seams and roll with laughter. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET This is an EYE-POPPINGLY riotous, beautifully produced, directed, and performed […]

LOW HANGING FRUIT: 60% - BITTERSWEET

LOW HANGING FRUIT: 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This play is a powerful, poetic testament to the brave, heroic martyrs, women who volunteered as soldiers, and lived to tell the tale, wounds and all… alas, only to find their reward a state of homelessness, rootlessness, strung out on one form of addiction or another. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET A worthy […]

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% - SWEET

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The charming musical-in-the-rough that was Bronies: The Musical at this past summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival has since been polished into the sparklingly rainbow-hued gem now getting its official World Premiere Production at the Third Street Theatre. Simply put, Bronies: The Musical is the feel-best show in town. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Under the […]

VOX LUMIERE - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 60% - BITTERSWEET

VOX LUMIERE – THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Lon Chaney rocks out as this incredibly inventive rock opera experience brings sound to his seminal silent film. Staci Layne Wilson – Dread Central SWEET Vox’s version of the Phantom’s narrative is as provocative as it is genius. A literal coming-together of the main artistic mediums made available through modern technology. It is a […]

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% - BITTERSWEET

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A terrible play, and depressing as well, playwright Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime is set in a not-too-distant future and imagines a world where sophisticated robots have been fashioned as human companions. Harrison’s one-act drama doesn’t really have a plot — it’s more of a character study. We see a series of scenes within which […]

TOSCA (PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT): 100% - SWEET

TOSCA (PACIFIC OPERA PROJECT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Opera newbies will find this production effective and thought-provoking, while veterans who think they’ve sat through one too many Toscas should come to see and hear Blackwell and Cheney from a few rows away. Christian Hertzog – LA Weekly SWEET Music Director Stephen Karr ably conducts a crack orchestra of about 15 players, and […]

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% - SWEET

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET “Let’s Make a Deal’s” Wayne Brady as the lead in a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate”: It almost sounds like an especially wacky draft in some fantasy stunt-casting league for theater directors. Sheldon Epps of the Pasadena Playhouse has not only made it happen, he has used it as the inspiration for an ingenious […]

THE WHY (BLANK THEATRE REVIVAL): 80% - SWEET

THE WHY (BLANK THEATRE REVIVAL): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Mixing what might be called tragic farce with psychological inquiry, this multi-pronged, rapid-fire investigation (performed with all-out sketch-comedy attack by Ben Crowley, Nicholas Cutro, Jen Landon and Jeff Witzke) is better at parodying the media than cracking the mind-set of a disaffected teenage killer. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET At the same time, […]

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

BITTER Tarell Alvin McCraney’s 2012 Choir Boy is a tantalizing, underdeveloped play-with-music not entirely improved by Trip Cullman’s direction, now at the Geffen a year after the production’s Manhattan Theater Club bow. Jason Michael Webb’s tasteful vocal arrangements sound terrific via Fitz Patton’s crisp sound design, but the very assurance and gravity of the “negro […]

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 95% - SWEET

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Every Los Angeles theatergoer should be so lucky as to see a show this ecstatic. Because all this work is in service of literature that evaluates the sexual morality, the emotional fidelity, the personal integrity we all would like to claim; and it asks of these things what they say about our natures. You […]

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 83% - SWEET

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET Josh (Kip Gilman) & Janet (Wendy Michaels), who come from seemingly different worlds, prove that the adage ‘opposites attract’ rings true. Each of these lost souls struggle to ultimately find the answer to the puzzle of their own life journey. Their chance meeting is rather a touch of fate, as they yearn to complete […]

ROAR: 67% - BITTERSWEET

ROAR: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Like Rockwell’s last cabaret-style show “The Album Project: Jagged Little Pill,” this tries to mix a profoundly emotional story with modern pop music. And while “Pill” seemed a more cohesive piece, “Roar” feels a bit disjointed and scattered. While the story of a lesbian couple’s fight with breast cancer was the most compelling, the […]

IT'S JUST SEX (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 75% - SWEET

IT’S JUST SEX (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 75% – SWEET

BITTER The production is somewhat elevated by the quality of the performances, but that’s not enough to salvage it. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET An exquisite top flight ensemble brings layers to these characters along with laugh out loud moments throughout. Dianne Williams – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET Short, swift, often side-splitting, and most importantly, […]

THE BEHAVIOR OF BROADUS: 100% - SWEET

THE BEHAVIOR OF BROADUS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET As delightfully self-assured as it is comically self-referential, made up of equal parts whimsy, wacky, profane and profound, this cracked experiment in satirical musical development is a wickedly entertaining watershed for Sacred Fools Theater Company, the Burglars of Hamm, Center Theatre Group and the general theatrical landscape. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET […]

HOLLYWOOD PARTY: 67% - BITTERSWEET

HOLLYWOOD PARTY: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET When one of LA’s top fashion designers writes and directs a play set at an elegant showbiz party, you know the costumes are going to be divine. But if only the number of laughs at Octavio Carlin’s 1920s set comedy had matched the gasps which greeted each of the leading lady’s stunning dresses, he […]

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% - SWEET

HAPPY DAYS (BOSTON COURT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This production, which features Broadway veteran and multiple Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, Adams’ real-life husband, in the role of Willie, Winnie’s there-but-not-there life partner, preserves the universality of Beckett’s vivid stage metaphor while making it seem right at home in Southern California. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET No other dramatist has ever been […]

SPRING AWAKENING (DEAF WEST): 100% - SWEET

SPRING AWAKENING (DEAF WEST): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The ensemble numbers are precisely choreographed by Director Michael Arden and Choreographer Spencer Liff; the signing never gets in the way, and each cast member is vitally utilized like in a giant, coordinated human body, each part giving life to the whole. The second act unfolds into the ultimate tragedy the piece becomes as […]

COCK: 95% - SWEET

COCK: 95% – SWEET

SWEET The ideal convergence of Mike Bartlett’s incredibly realistic script vividly emoted by the very talented four member cast, as tightly directed by Cameron Watson, make for a totally engrossing 90 minutes. Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld SWEET Only a highly talented group of actors could deliver the play’s potent message, and the cast at the […]

ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER (EAST WEST PLAYERS): 85% - SWEET

ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER (EAST WEST PLAYERS): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Joseph captures the highs and lows of this unique three-way love affair, its laughter and tears, its joys and sorrows. He’s greatly aided by the sure-handed direction of Jennifer Chang and by the skilled acting of C.S. Lee, Tess Lina and Kapil Talkwalker (a student at USC!). Willard Manus – Total Theater SWEET It’s […]