RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

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 [...]

Theatre Unleashed presents Phillip Kelly and Julia Plostnieks in "Tartuffe" at the Belfry Stage. Photo: Company.

TARTUFFE (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Under the focused direction of Jeff Soroka, the superb cast relishes the material without ridiculing it. The hijinks that follow are treated with a sharpness that the script demands. Christine Palau – NoHoArtsDistrict BITTERSWEET Helmer Jeff Soroka, working from the 2002 translation by British-born Ranjit Bolt, marshals a 10-member ensemble through the machinations of [...]

"Henry V" at Pacific Resident Theatre. Photo: Erika Boxler.

HENRY V (PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET I left the Pacific production in Venice with the feeling that I had just seen a rich and complex tale unfold before my eyes. Don Shirley – LA Observed BITTER In theory, it’s a fascinating concept. But among Henry V’s many virtues is the script’s tight construction. And the cost to the staging’s energy [...]

Joseph Fuqua and Rebekah Tripp in "A Moon for the Misbegotten" at the Rubicon Theatre. Photo:

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN (RUBICON): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Rubicon Theatre’s impassioned revival shows the mature O’Neill at the height of his powers — his arty experimental theater days behind him, masterfully employing classical fundamentals to wring hauntingly poetic truths about love and self-delusion from gritty everyday experience. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET A Moon for the Misbegotten was Eugene O’Neill’s grand [...]

Byron Arreola, Anne Yatco, Jaime Barcelon, Jennifer Hubilla, Kerry K. Carnahan, Ren Hanami, and Michael Hagiwara in "Cinnamon Girl" at the Greenway Court Theatre. Photo: Blake Boyd.

CINNAMON GIRL: 33% – BITTER

SWEET Velina Hasu Houston and Nathan Wang transport us to another time, another place, another world in their magical, mystical, marvelous new musical Cinnamon Girl, now playing at the Greenway Court Theatre. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA BITTER Cause and effect are rendered haphazardly or not at all. The characters all undergo astonishing changes of personality, [...]

Elijah Alexander, center, Amin El Gamal, Katie Pelensky, Jeremy Rabb and Thom Rivera in "Macbeth" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

MACBETH (A NOISE WITHIN): 78% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Elijah Alexander as Macbeth and Willcox do suggest a lot of sexual passion in their early scenes, but at least at the performance I saw, Alexander’s vocal delivery sounded lighter than expected, almost as if he were undecided about how far to pursue Macbeth’s indecision. Carpenter visually emphasizes that the Macbeths apparently lost their [...]

Tim Cummings, left, and Michael Gladis in South Coast Repertory's "Reunion." Photo: Debora Robinson.

REUNION (SOUTH COAST REP): 83% – SWEET

SWEET However, with South Coast Repertory’s Reunion, audiences will witness a powerful work which shows an incredible range of emotional complexity about revisiting one’s past, thanks to a trio of talented actors, the deft direction of Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and a script whose sharp dialogue and three dimensional characters seem to jump out beyond the page [...]

FLYIN’ WEST (ICT): 77% – SWEET

FLYIN’ WEST (ICT): 77% – SWEET

SWEET In her Opening Night remarks, International City Theatre artistic director desai referred to ICT’s ongoing efforts to reach out to a more ethnically diverse audience. Flyin’ West succeeds in doing just that, and wonderfully so, while at the same time being far more than a mere “niche-audience” production. Well worth being seen by playgoers [...]

BATTLEDRUM: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BATTLEDRUM: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET But the book and lyrics (by Doug Cooney) and the music (Lee Ahlin) lacked sophistication. The 75-minutes or so of the show had to cover too much terrain (emotional as well as physical) to remain intriguing and the use of women in the show (a mother of one of the boys, D.J. Harner, who [...]

William Peterson and Rae in "Slowgirl" at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo: Michale Brasilow (courtesy of Steppenwolf Theatre).

SLOWGIRL (GEFFEN): 85% – SWEET

SWEET But Pierce has caught the rhythms of teenage girl-speak, and Gray, a credentialed actress and University of Chicago student (no relation to this reviewer) revels in them. Her wonderfully gravelly voice and quirky delivery make Becky thoroughly entertaining. And the characters’ developing bond despite their differences is touching and persuasive. Margaret Gray – LA [...]

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% – SWEET

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Eventually there was a revelation on many levels making this one of the most unique theatrical experiences in my more than half century of theatrical experiences. Go and watch this show. You will experience fine acting, considerable wit and a deeply poignant story. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET English playwright Caryl Churchill examines [...]

The cast of "Harmony" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo:

HARMONY (AHMANSON): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Manilow’s’ ‘Harmony’ pleases despite a few sour notes. Paul Hodgins – OC Register SWEET Its leitmotif is nothing less than the true nature of harmony, which this disparate, diverse sextet found in the commingling of their voices and in their offstage unity — even as an antithetical ideology of divisiveness and conquest swept Germany, [...]

Jennie Mary Tai Liu, left, and Catherine Ventura in "Five Small Fires" at Bootleg Theater. Photo: Jesse Bonnell.

FIVE SMALL FIRES: 50% – BITTER

BITTER If all this is intended to suggest that we, the audience, are secondary to the performers’ self-absorption, point taken. Yet if Bonnell and his fellow bacchantes aim for a shared sacramental experience, they fall short of the mark. The group’s repetitive and aimless antics may transport the actors themselves to a state of meditative [...]

TALHOTBLOND: 25% – BITTER

TALHOTBLOND: 25% – BITTER

BITTER The underlying sadness and tragedy of how anyone may be so swept away by fantasy lacks essential power to bring the audience emotionally into the fray. Thomas’s feelings and commitment waffle back and forth time and again, even in the face of his being found out by his wife, Cheryl (Katleen O’Grady). Unlike Catfish [...]

Eagle Young and Kalani Queypo in "Stand-Off at Hwy #37" at the Autry. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

STAND-OFF AT HWY #37: 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Although director Jon Lawrence Rivera keeps the polished production — with an appealing set by Jeff McLaughlin, projections by Adam Flemming and sound by Cricket S. Myers — clipping along smoothly, the characters never really develop beyond interesting types. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Aunt Bev’s exposition as the curtain lifts and before [...]

Ian Cameron and Andy Manley in "White" at the Wallis Annenberg Center. Photo: Company.

WHITE (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The space, and its cute set, is entirely white. Audience members perch on low, white, wooden benches and there are little mats on the floor for kids to lounge on. The show is only 30 or so minutes long—perfect for short attention spans. The little ones who attended the show were completely enchanted by [...]

Sheila O'Connor, Tiffany Dissette, Alexis Field and (top) Eileen Patterson in "50 Shades! The Musical" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo: Davidson Choy.

5O SHADES! THE MUSICAL: 70% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET While this musical parody may never reach the hilarious heights of the gold standard for this sort of japery, The Book of Mormon, confined as it is to a rather pedestrian target, this gleeful cataloguing of flavors of sex beyond plain vanilla hits the giggly bulls-eye with unerring consistency. Myron Meisel – The Hollywood [...]

David Ghilardi, Nan Tepper, Brian Graves, Kelly Huddleston and Adam Simon Krist in "The Foreigner" at the Crown City Theatre. Photo: Company.

THE FOREIGNER (CROWN CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now onstage at Crown City Theatre in NoHo, a superb ensemble of actors bring off The Foreigner with tremendous skill and gusto. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET It is a treat from start to finish! Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times SWEET If you truly want to see when a wonderful script meets a talented [...]

"The Wrong Man" at the Skylight Theatre. Photo:

THE WRONG MAN: 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET At fourteen songs, and one act that’s slightly less than an hour, this is more a cabaret performance than a musical. It has a skeletal plot: In Las Vegas, Duran (Ross Golan) a simple man meets Mariana (Jennifer Brasuell) a sexy bad girl, with catastrophic results. After a one nightstand, he’s framed for her [...]

Michele Bernath and Patrick Burke in "Boeing Boeing" at the Lonny Chapman Theatre. Photo: Sherry Netherland.

BOEING BOEING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now in a new revival well paced by director Larry Eisenberg, Group rep’s actors don the international robes and dish out the divergent flavors with some style and flair. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET Yes, this play is funny, especially as it picks-up steam in the second and third acts. But there is more, [...]

Jake Silbermann, Malcolm Madera and Robert M. Foster in "Derby Day" at the Elephant Theatre. Photo: Alex Moy.

DERBY DAY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Silberman, Madera and Foster are to be commended for their ability to share these men first as suited and somewhat upstanding citizens and then take us with them as they sink into the depths of depravity in their souls. Each actor was fully engaged in their characters, even as the many items were thrown [...]

Anjul Nigam, Keshav Christian Durso and Naveen Andy Gala in "A Nice Indian Boy" at East West Players. Photo: Michael Lamont.

A NICE INDIAN BOY: 88% – SWEET

SWEET All in all, A Nice Indian Boy is a nice way to spend an evening.  G. Bruce Smith – Stage and Cinema SWEET Playwright Madhuri Shekar puts a fresh, multicultural, same-sex spin on the classic romantic comedy in her World Premiere dramedy A Nice Indian Boy, one of the best original plays I’ve seen [...]

CLOSELY RELATED KEYS: 78% – SWEET

CLOSELY RELATED KEYS: 78% – SWEET

SWEET Wendy Graf brings the audience a complicated script that deals with a lot more than 9/11 and its catastrophe. Father and daughter relationships and disappointment are just as important to this strong drama. Rose Desena – The Los Angeles Post SWEET Shirley Jo Finney directs her well-chosen cast brilliantly. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre [...]

EST/LA presents Robert Joy and Eve Gordon in "The Ugly One" at the Atwater Village Theatre. Photo by Kevin Riggin.

THE UGLY ONE (EST/LA): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The director works her excellent actors to technical precision in timing and physicality, and they more than meet her energy. They improve on an already thrilling script, which of course is why one hires actors. Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema SWEET Given a sharply engaging English translation by Maja Zade, this West Coast [...]

The Wooster Group presents "Cry, Trojans!" at REDCAT. Photo: Steven Gunther.

CRY, TROJANS! (TROILUS AND CRESSIDA): 55% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The result is an uncharacteristically tame production, one that left me time to ponder the awkward politics of an overwhelmingly white ensemble horsing around with cultural caricatures of race. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET Still and all, though the monotony of its stubborn deviations from conventional dramaturgy demands hard effort from the audience [...]

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, and Joel Polis in "My Name is Asher Lev" at the Fountain Theatre. Photo by Ed Krieger.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV: 94% – SWEET

SWEET The play isn’t an undiluted screed on behalf of unfettered art; it depicts the pain Asher’s parents undergo when they become the unwitting subjects of his masterpiece – and the conflicts this causes within the still-mostly-observant Asher. Don Shirley – LA Observed SWEET The story is not so surprising, but given the immediacy and [...]

Freddy Douglas and Carolyn Ratterey in "Tartuffe" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

TARTUFFE (A NOISE WITHIN): 76% – SWEET

SWEET Overall it’s a delightful revival. If the darker nuances at times threaten the cascading hilarity, that won’t prohibit the enjoyment of so swankly appointed, proficiently acted a classical bauble as this representative company melee. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Molière’s “Tartuffe,” which dates back to 1664, is not only a sire of [...]

Nan McNamara and Inger Tudor in "Going to St. Ives". Photo: Lindsay Schnebly.

GOING TO ST. IVES (ACTORS CO-OP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Having attended Actors Co-op productions regularly for over fifteen years now, I can declare without equivocation that there is no finer company of actors, directors, and designers in Los Angeles. Going To St. Ives gives L.A. theatergoers Actors Co-op at their very best. Need I say more? Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Although Blessing [...]