RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

PENELOPE (ROGUE MACHINE): 82% - SWEET

PENELOPE (ROGUE MACHINE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET John Perrin Flynn and Brenda Davidson’s production of Penelope is so vivid that it’s hard for me to imagine the play in any other presentation – even though I’ve recently seen another that had its own strengths. Flynn’s direction is unequivocal, authoritative. He finds the excitement and narrative drive carefully laid underneath Enda Walsh’s […]

STUPID FUCKING BIRD: 96% - SWEET

STUPID FUCKING BIRD: 96% – SWEET

SWEET The reason you need to stop and buy tickets now – is it closes July 27th and the rest of this ensemble cast is remarkable. Throw in the fact that it’s beautifully designed and crisply directed – really please don’t miss this one – it’s worth the trip to Pasadena. Anthony Byrnes – KCRW […]

LAND LINE: 92% - SWEET

LAND LINE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET And yet I thoroughly enjoyed the mood I was in after the play. Dramatic issues aside, for at least one member of the demographic at whom the Rabbit Hole-esque drama seems to aim, it’s a very pleasant reverie on familiar traumas. It’s like going home at a comfortable remove, so much so that I […]

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% - SWEET

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET I’d never heard Van Morrison’s “Linden Arden Stole the Highlights” before I saw Colin Mitchell’s play of the same name. Frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Mitchell has taken the rather obscure lyrics of that 1974 song and created a fully fleshed-out character whose story makes for riveting theater. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET […]

ZOMBIES FROM THE BEYOND (VISCERAL COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

ZOMBIES FROM THE BEYOND (VISCERAL COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Part of what makes this show such a rollicking good time is this juxtaposition of good-natured silliness with the political commentary in Valcq’s clever lyrics. Executing ludicrous camp like this takes skill, and here the production delivers. Dan Spurgeon’s staging – his direction of a versatile ensemble in a tiny space – is admirably […]

BRIGHT LIGHT CITY: 75% - BITTERSWEET

BRIGHT LIGHT CITY: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET This play is full of surrogates, which has the potential to be fascinating. Where this play could grow is in the area of real. All the seedlings aren’t fully cultivated. All this fakery isn’t countered enough by dirty Earthly truth. Andrea Kittelson – LA Examiner SWEET This dark comedy is a bizarre concoction of […]

TARTUFFE (SOUTH COAST REP): 89% - SWEET

TARTUFFE (SOUTH COAST REP): 89% – SWEET

SWEET After Dominique Serrand’s jaw-droppingly juicy and insanely inventive production of Molière’s Tartuffe, a South Coast Rep patron was heard to say, “Well, I don’t know if I can honestly recommend it.” Then she looked around cautiously and leaned towards her companion with, “It’s unlike any Tartuffe I’ve ever seen.” Then a whisper. “It’s so […]

DORIAN'S DESCENT (DOMA): 38% - BITTER

DORIAN’S DESCENT (DOMA): 38% – BITTER

BITTER A quartet of stellar performers, a gifted composer/musical director, and L.A.’s costume designer du jour at his most over-the-top fabulous can’t, unfortunately, save the Oscar Wilde-based World Premiere musical Dorian’s Descent from descending into three hours’ worth of clichéd dialog and lyrics, jarring tonal shifts, and good intentions gone disastrously bad. Steven Stanley – […]

BACKYARD: 83% - SWEET

BACKYARD: 83% – SWEET

SWEET With the imaginative and skillful directorial hand of Larry Biederman and a marvelous ensemble cast, Birnbaum’s play represents one of the best theater events to grace Los Angeles stages in recent years. Hoyt Hilsman – Huffington Post SWEET Still, the ending Birnbaum gives us is a satisfying one, a just-right finale to one thrilling […]

HIT: 80% - SWEET

HIT: 80% – SWEET

BITTER The new play Hit by Alice Tuan, currently playing Los Angeles Theatre Center, unevenly shifts from hard-hitting drama to black comedy to avant-garde theater yet never makes clear its intentions. And though the actors are skilled professionals, they are not able to make the script’s unlikable characters relatable. Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania BITTERSWEET Still, […]

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% - SWEET

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% – SWEET

BITTER If you’re going to update a classic work, ask why. If its themes resonate with you, and remind you of contemporary issues, do you really need to rewrite the thing? Mightn’t that classic text still serve a really pointed, personal director’s vision? Even a literal one? You could teach McLaughlin’s Ajax in Iraq in […]

DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: 75% - BITTERSWEET

DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It is smart, suspenseful, surprising, downright sensational writing, and with DeLorenzo in the director’s chair and a superb cast giving it added layers and depth, it makes for a play and production I could easily see again and again. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Early on, the jokes and exposition feel a bit sitcom-y […]

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES: 76% - SWEET

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES: 76% – SWEET

SWEET In playing children, teenagers and young adults, both Fleischer and Willcox have authenticity and honesty cemented in their every glance, every wry gesture, every word that’s said and every word left unspoken. In the play’s microscopic study of the big theme of why people hurt themselves and others, the production is so funny and […]

THE GUARDSMAN (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 88% - SWEET

THE GUARDSMAN (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 88% – SWEET

SWEET But it is Molnar’s ability to turn larger-than-life circumstances and situations into everyday happenings that not only touch, but illuminate and inspire that makes this play the joy that it is. Radomir Vojtech Luza – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET This ninety minute show is, simply, a pleasure. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles SWEET The Guardsman, Ferenc Molnar’s […]

GAMES ON A BOMBED-OUT BEACH: 40% - BITTER

GAMES ON A BOMBED-OUT BEACH: 40% – BITTER

SWEET It is an insightful and soulful piece about three characters meshed together in the filmmaking business whose ideas of life and spiritual beliefs clash during their business stay on an ancient Greek island of temples and sunlit beauties. Nilofar Saraj – LifeInLA BITTER It’s difficult to tell from his rather muddled script just what […]

110 IN THE SHADE (ACTOR'S CO-OP): 100% - SWEET

110 IN THE SHADE (ACTOR’S CO-OP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET But it’s all so well done and fun that it wins the audience over and will send you toe tapping into the heat outside with a song in your heart and a smile on your face. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts SWEET As Los Angeles heats up to sizzling temperatures this week, there is […]

DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING: 75% - BITTERSWEET

DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET In the case of “different words,” the ghost finally learns, as part of the climax, exactly how she died. Unfortunately, this is the weakest moment of an otherwise fine-grained play, because the explanation introduces a complicated subplot — briefly sketched only in words, not in action — that doesn’t seem to have much relevance […]

PASSION PLAY (CHANCE THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

PASSION PLAY (CHANCE THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Trevor Biship’s Chance Theater staging, the show’s Orange County premiere, is up to the task, creating the kind of epic production that stuns upon first viewing and provokes thought and debate long afterward. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET With so much going on, it’s a testament to director Trevor Biship and his design […]

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 85% - SWEET

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET By embracing rather than avoiding the conventional contours of Richard Alfieri’s international hit two-hander about an imposing Florida retiree and a salty-tongued dance instructor, this elegant revival pulls the crowd-pleasing combination of sass and sentiment into surprisingly affecting bas-relief. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET While the ending is tinged with sadness, Alfieri […]

UNORGANIZED CRIME: 88% - SWEET

UNORGANIZED CRIME: 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The ending, though bold, is disappointing: There’s the sense that D’Aquila wasn’t quite sure what to do with his entertaining characters once he’d gotten them all onstage. His writing and performance make Gino, especially, a sympathetic and interesting antihero who may deserve a better story than he gets. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET […]

HOLDING THE MAN: 89% - SWEET

HOLDING THE MAN: 89% – SWEET

SWEET There were a number of Australians in the audience opening night and they were obviously, warmly familiar with Holding the Man as evidenced by their hearty laughter and proud ovations. It is by no means a play only for gay theatergoers. Despite this production’s perceived shortcomings, anyone who has experienced love and loss will […]

INTO THE WOODS (3-D THEATRICALS): 67% - BITTERSWEET

INTO THE WOODS (3-D THEATRICALS): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER But Sondheim’s tricky lyrics, many of them filled with significant exposition, do indeed fly by with the speed of a witch’s broom. So it’s a shame that outstanding conductor Julie Lamoureux and her Broadway-caliber orchestra consistently collided with Julie Ferrin’s atrociously botched sound design. This, combined with a few actors thinking that character voice […]

TARZAN, THE MUSICAL (EL PORTAL): 88% - SWEET

TARZAN, THE MUSICAL (EL PORTAL): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Fortunately, for those who can manage to control any W.C. Fields-worthy exasperation they might be feeling as Tarzan: The Musical reaches its dramatic, emotional climax, this Los Angeles premiere makes for a generally fine small-stage introduction to the many pleasures Disney’s Ape Man has to offer on the musical theater stage. Steven Stanley – […]

FALSE SOLUTION: 54% - BITTERSWEET

FALSE SOLUTION: 54% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Written and directed by Oren Safdie, the idea of a young neophyte attacking a successful architect in his studio, in the manner that the play took, seemed too out of the ordinary and unbelievable. As for the attraction to one another, I found that even more incongruous. The play is extremely verbose, and though […]

BEYOND SIGHT: 60% - BITTERSWEET

BEYOND SIGHT: 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER “Sight” has been largely inspired directly by the experiences of those CRE serves, and although the result is heartfelt, the heavy hand of committee design weighs down this well-meaning but inexpert production. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET If you go and see it, which I think you should, stay around afterwards, ask […]

WAKE: 100% - SWEET

WAKE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET A curiously fascinating examination of how we should live as opposed to the way we often do. Now onstage at the Fremont Centre Theatre in Pasadena, SeaGlass Theatre presents Wake through May 25 with meticulous direction from Matt Kirkwood and a truly loving cast. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET The funniest and most tender […]

A DELICATE BALANCE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 96% - SWEET

A DELICATE BALANCE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 96% – SWEET

SWEET In her emotionally astute staging, director Robin Larsen sets her dream cast loose upon Albee’s fascinating, frustrating material, which ranges from the boozily meandering to the brilliant. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Never bet against the Odyssey Theatre putting on a terrific show. Its current run of A Delicate Balance is among […]

THE LION IN WINTER (COLONY THEATRE): 78% - SWEET

THE LION IN WINTER (COLONY THEATRE): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Artistic Director Barbara Beckley has made a great choice in bringing The Lion in Winter to our community. This play is a must see, masterly mounted, and very well cast by Patricia Cullen. Brandon Scott – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET I have seen several fine productions of this play in the past. Vlahos has worked well […]

SJALUSI/JEALOUSY: 67% - BITTERSWEET

SJALUSI/JEALOUSY: 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Suffice it to say that Norway’s Teater Manu has created a successful way to share Norwegian theatre by and for the deaf in an artful and interesting way. The actors bring new perspective to what the creative presentation of a play is all about. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles BITTERSWEET There are some issues, though, […]

FAT PIG (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 93% - SWEET

FAT PIG (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 93% – SWEET

SWEET This unconventional love story about body image and peer pressure is sometimes harsh and brutal but often quite brilliant. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts SWEET Fat Pig’s fine cast and expert direction help make this production the success it is. Hazel Kuang’s cleverly designed set is a big plus, as well. Willard Manus – […]