RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

MEET & GREET (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 79% - SWEET

MEET & GREET (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 79% – SWEET

SWEET Zimmerman’s direction is fast and furious, which ideal for a piece like this as the one-liners just keep flying. Most all of them hit their intended targets. No subject is safe — social media, Netflix series, reality television and the general vapidity of Hollywood are all skewered. There’s a twist near the end that […]

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What the script lacks in surprises, it makes up for in its nuanced, beautifully written portrait of Biddle, an inestimable gift to an actor, and one that the wonderful Abatemarco, under the skillful direction of John Henry Davis, exploits to the fullest. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Long Beach’s International City Theatre (ICT) […]

BULRUSHER: 75% - BITTERSWEET

BULRUSHER: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Despite its flaws, Bulrusher is a reminder that while more than half a century has passed, race relations have remained strained even six decades later. Bulrusher reads fortunes. If she were alive today, would she foretell black men still being brutalized, their blood still running in the streets, 60 years from now? Rebecca Haithcoat […]

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% - SWEET

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% – SWEET

SWEET I saw one of the most powerful, raw, awesome and tragically-moving performances in memory. Oh, my, it really shook me up. Jay Weston – Huffington Post SWEET The effect is an emotionally exhausting but humanizing depiction of the bebop jazz pioneer. Even though Parker passed away much too soon, at age 34, for 70 […]

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Randall Arney deftly captures every nuance in the relationships and their unfolding. He keeps the comedy flowing, the realizations only gradually emerging. And he has assembled a terrific cast, knowing and expert. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA BITTERSWEET It isn’t a bad play, by any means. The set design is detailed and nails the […]

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: 83% - SWEET

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: 83% – SWEET

SWEET It’s full of dynamic characters going through interesting changes, and they say funny and moving things all the time; the emotional flow is well-ordered and effective. Exciting images, such as a spiritually bereft agnostic using John Lennon as an understandable face of God, populate a lively story. This premiere production by David Bickford, Jenny […]

THE FACE IN THE REEDS: 92% - SWEET

THE FACE IN THE REEDS: 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET As the cast takes turns revealing their little secrets, and I must admit there are a few doozies, I said, “Self this is one screwed-up bunch” but in reality, nothing new or unexpected. There was just too much going on and by the time the story arched to the predictable climax I was more […]

MOON OVER BUFFALO (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 100% - SWEET

MOON OVER BUFFALO (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Ludwig’s play, like an old-fashioned steam locomotive, starts out slowly and a bit laboriously, but it soon builds up a head of comic steam, puffing along merrily and careening dizzily into the madcap finale. Director Kiff Scholl has assembled an expert cast, supplied them with a wonderful array of pratfalls, and pulled off a […]

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 96% - SWEET

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 96% – SWEET

SWEET That we follow the largely unedited text through its dark moments and plot convolutions to an earned happy conclusion testifies to the curiosity factor and the clarity of storytelling at play. “All’s Well” may not be a flawless work, but it nonetheless ends well here. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET If you […]

ECHO ONE ACTS 2014: 88% - SWEET

ECHO ONE ACTS 2014: 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I notice that I have used the pejorative “little” for some of these scripts, and not for others. There’s a reason. “As We Sleep” does not feel little, despite its short running time, because of its universal truths and earned laughs. The not-much-longer “General Sherman’s Hollow Body,” despite seeming unfinished, feels epic in its […]

ONE IN THE CHAMBER: 100% - SWEET

ONE IN THE CHAMBER: 100% – SWEET

SWEET For committed theatergoers, there’s no happier occasion than stumbling upon a mature, polished work of dramatic art where you never expected to find one. In the little hole-in-the-wall Lounge on Santa Monica Boulevard, 6140 Productions is putting up the world premiere of Marja-Lewis Ryan’s One in the Chamber, and you will not encounter a […]

WITHOUT ANNETTE: 78% - SWEET

WITHOUT ANNETTE: 78% – SWEET

SWEET Improvisation is the ability to perform without preparation, about being in a moment of truth and bringing the audience with you. This connection creates a spontaneous reaction between performer and audience, resulting in anything from uproarious laughter to anguished tears – or any emotion in between. Anyone wishing to experience this sensation should get […]

THE GAMESTER (THEATRE 40): 100% - SWEET

THE GAMESTER (THEATRE 40): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Gamester offers impulsive appetites, mistaken identity and course comeuppance — nothing new in comedy, but it does so with classic charm and contemporary wit, and couplets that will tickle both the bookish and illiterate. Jordan Riefe – The Hollywood Reporter SWEET To quote indomitable playwright, William Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well.” You […]

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S THE TEMPEST (T.U. STUDIOS): 72% - BITTERSWEET

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S THE TEMPEST (T.U. STUDIOS): 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET And with all the asides to the audience, along with more contemporary language, those less familiar with Shakespeare may find this production a good introduction to the Bard. However, please be forewarned this is a very LOUD presentation in a very small space. From the title music to the ear-piercing shrieks of characters confronting […]

WE WILL ROCK YOU (AHMANSON THEATRE): 45% - BITTER

WE WILL ROCK YOU (AHMANSON THEATRE): 45% – BITTER

BITTER But it’s not the lame plot that’s the problem here. (Nobody else knows what “Bohemian Rhapsody” is about either.) Rather, “We Will Rock You,” with a script by Ben Elton, feels like such an affront because it embodies so many of the qualities that Queen renounced. It’s shallow. It’s cynical. And it’s dumb, dumb, […]

LEAR (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 95% - SWEET

LEAR (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Given that this take on the original’s rigidly patriarchal universe is fundamentally bonkers, it’s impressive how well co-adapter/directors Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall succeed in illuminating subtext and broadening the scope of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET We think it’s extraordinary and perfect for a cozy evening of high-brow stimulation. […]

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This production of In a Dark Dark House is theatre at its best! Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld SWEET “Dark House”‘s gripping two hours at the Matrix benefits from clear visual realization and the all-pro cast’s confident navigation of the play’s language, ideas and emotions. Debra Levine – Arts Meme BITTERSWEET The play is way […]

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% - SWEET

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Director Jason Alexander, who originated the role of Stanley in the Broadway premiere, imparts his command of the material into an attentively drilled cast. Despite limited rehearsal time, the actors have become comfortable enough to dredge shaded subtext from their roles, which is impressive especially under the close scrutiny of an audience shoved smack […]

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% - SWEET

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% – SWEET

SWEET An evening under the stars at the Theatricum Botanicum rarely disappoints. No exception to that general rule, “Much Ado About Nothing,” playing in repertory in the theater’s sylvan Topanga setting, is light of heart and deft of foot. Although they occasionally overdo the slapstick, co-directors Ellen Geer and Willow Geer have undoubtedly crafted a […]

VISIONARY MAN: 73% - BITTERSWEET

VISIONARY MAN: 73% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET “Visionary Man” currently at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood’s Theatre Row is a powerful, brilliant yet warm and fun show depicting the amazing life of the fascinating materially poor but spiritually rich Georgia dirt farmer turned world renown painter J. B. Murray. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET Director Tom Coleman, who co-wrote the […]

TURNING THIRTY: 100% - SWEET

TURNING THIRTY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Veteran director/actor/playwright Chris DeCarlo directs this delightful cast in this very entertaining and humorous play. Carol Kaufman Segal – Stagehappenings SWEET This sweet froth, smoothly directed by Chris DeCarlo, contains performances that boast a nice amount of energy, sincerity, and warmth. And there’s certainly a place in the world for a cheerful, unassuming good-time […]

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (GROUP REP): 100% - SWEET

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now onstage at the group rep in NoHo, Streetcar may be a daring choice for this company, but under L. Flint Esquerra’s caring and detailed direction and with four actors perfectly cast in the lead roles, it is something to sing about. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET The current production of Tennessee Williams’s classic […]

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT: 78% - SWEET

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT: 78% – SWEET

SWEET There’s a lot to enjoy in this romantic comedy and it’s a show you might just fall in love with. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts BITTER It’s all been done before, and no amount of frantic running in and out of doors is going to bring this material back to life. Kurt Gardner – […]

SACRED ELEPHANT: 90% - SWEET

SACRED ELEPHANT: 90% – SWEET

SWEET The play, which is about the world’s largest mammal, is powerful, and boasts an unsettling performance. It’s an adaptation of Heathcote Williams’s 15-part long poem about the elephant species, and the perils it faces on account of incurable human ignorance. This powerful production brings to the Odyssey’s stage one of South Africa’s most celebrated […]

CAT FIGHT: 100% - SWEET

CAT FIGHT: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Cat Fight works, as only theatre can. It reaches into its subject, and into us, deeply. And it delivers so much of womanhood’s “infinite variety” that once you’ve seen it — whatever your sex or gender — I doubt you’ll ever see a woman, or be in the company of one, or encounter yourself […]

LUIGI: 53% - BITTERSWEET

LUIGI: 53% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The Inkwell Theatre presents a talented cast in its world premiere of Louise Munson’s “Luigi,” a two-and-a-half-hour tale of a family’s (most likely last) get-together with their patriarch in the winter of his years. There seems to be no real story to be told here. (Warning: If not fluent in Italian, a percentage of […]

ANDRONICUS (COEURAGE THEATRE): 81% - SWEET

ANDRONICUS (COEURAGE THEATRE): 81% – SWEET

SWEET Lelliott’s earnest interpretation has a fine continuity of theme. It could use a similar consistency of mood, or a greater investment in the occasional departures from tone. But ultimately it’s an exciting and worthwhile production. If opening night had a few swords falling nervously from scabbards, and even if a prop representing an amputated […]

IN THE HEIGHTS (CHANCE THEATER): 90% - SWEET

IN THE HEIGHTS (CHANCE THEATER): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Lively and electrified by its talented, winsome lead actors, the admirable production has just been extended for additional performances in its Anaheim Hills home through August 8—and deservedly so. Michael L. Quintos – BroadwayWorld SWEET Yet it’s the show’s singular, wholly original vision, and Chance Theater’s vibrant, heartfelt realization of that viewpoint, that stick […]

BUYER AND CELLAR: 98% - SWEET

BUYER AND CELLAR: 98% – SWEET

SWEET Wicked without being unnecessarily cruel, Buyer and Cellar takes jabs at the cult of celebrity while reminding us why we’re so fascinated by it in the first place. Streisand’s eccentric behavior is counterbalanced by nice moments of humanity — awkwardly comforting a distraught Alex or revealing a painful childhood secret. But then Barry makes […]

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES: 74% - BITTERSWEET

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES: 74% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Still, “Savages” is a ribald, intelligent and promising new work. Adventurous playgoers and/or fans of premium cable fare will likely embrace it. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET All in all, this is a play that wants to tell us to “relax, it’s just sex,” but seems to have forgotten to tell most […]