RSSAll Entries in the "LemonMeter" Category

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 – […]

PRAY TO BALL: 94% - SWEET

PRAY TO BALL: 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Abdullah hasn’t penned a polished play. The mercifully short appearance of a faux comical dreadlocked character named Leafy Green (Peete) is an outlandish, unnecessary distraction; and the long -winded script needs more heft — given the subject matter — not to be confused with verbiage. Act 2 particularly would benefit from some judicious editing. […]

MAN IN A CASE (BROAD STAGE): 56% - BITTERSWEET

MAN IN A CASE (BROAD STAGE): 56% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Instead, Lazar and his cohorts have kicked Chekhov aside and substituted their own sensibilities for his. Subtle realism has been replaced by vaudeville shtick. In other words, the director has declared himself superior to the lonely Greek teacher in a small Russian town. Clad in a black suit and porkpie hat, Baryshnikov channels Buster […]

FIVE MILE LAKE (SOUTH COAST REP): 85% - SWEET

FIVE MILE LAKE (SOUTH COAST REP): 85% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Rachel Bonds’ new drama about small-town concerns is promising but needs fleshing out. Paul Hodgins – OC Register SWEET Regardless of the flaws, Bonds does prove that she is a match for her SCR contemporaries on the Argyros stage. Hopefully, she will create another draft that will result in Five Mile Lake fulfilling its […]

THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% - SWEET

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET Diane Paulus’ direction of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” is mesmerizing. It features a cast of strong actors, abundant laughs amidst serious moments, and some of the most beautiful vocals this side of Broadway. Get a chance to see this show while it’s in town. Molly Quinlan – Neon Tommy SWEET Paulus’ creation, as […]

THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 50% - BITTER

THE MINISTER’S BLACK VEIL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 50% – BITTER

SWEET This one hour play, adapted by Timothy Sprague, captures the complex essence of the original piece. Dialogue and song have been included which has enhanced the organic unfolding of this work. Dianne Williams – NoHoArtsDistrict BITTER But if Timothy Sprague’s current adaptation of Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” is any indication, unlike […]

THE HYPOCHONDRIAC (ZJU): 100% - SWEET

THE HYPOCHONDRIAC (ZJU): 100% – SWEET

SWEET A song, a dance, betrayal, and contagious laughs should be remedy enough to get the most paranoid germaphobe out of their sickbeds and into the ZJU funhouse. Christine Palau – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET With this witty writing and fanciful tale of health issues taken over the edge, “The Hypochondriac” is zesty with fun for everyone. […]

PREMEDITATION: 71% - BITTERSWEET

PREMEDITATION: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET “Premeditation” — as with several other plays developed by Fernandez and her director and husband Jose Luis Valenzuela (who happens to be a UCLA professor) — achieves a genuine comic brio, on the edge of satire, as it delves into the state of middle-aged marriage. Don Shirley – LA Observed SWEET With Premeditation, Fernández […]

THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST (MARK TAPER FORUM): 64% - BITTERSWEET

THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST (MARK TAPER FORUM): 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Daniel Beaty brings this story to the Mark Taper Forum in his solo show “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” a respectful and intelligent if dramatically disappointing recap of Robeson’s life. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET Whether or not you’ve heard of Paul Robeson, once you see the new play written by and […]

KNOCK ME A KISS (ROBEY THEATRE COMPANY): 76% - SWEET

KNOCK ME A KISS (ROBEY THEATRE COMPANY): 76% – SWEET

  BITTER Even though Moses’ nicely-vulnerable Yolande is the show’s lead, all characters orbit around Guillory’s blustery turn as Du Bois. It is unfortunate that Smith’s writing is unable to convey the man’s genius. Instead, he’s depicted as a boorish bully, harrumphing around the stage and browbeating his daughter into doing something she really doesn’t […]

ALTAR BOYZ (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

ALTAR BOYZ (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Christian boy band known as the Altar Boyz have returned to L.A. for the first time in five years in a no-frills production that proves that even without a fancy set, pricy costumes, and surround sound, entertainment value can remain high when performances sparkle under a director as imaginative as Kristin Towers-Rowles. Steven […]

FATHERS AT A GAME (MOVING ARTS): 60% - BITTERSWEET

FATHERS AT A GAME (MOVING ARTS): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER For a while, the piece is intriguing, and one struggles to discern some idea or purpose that would pull together the disparate elements and bring some sort of unity. But after a time, it begins to seem like deliberate mystification or obfuscation. Is Nichols unable to make his intentions clear, or is he willfully […]

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 71% - BITTERSWEET

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Sara Botsford elicits fine performances from her well-balanced cast. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Gracefully segueing from what initially seems like a breezy romantic comedy to a thoughtful and heart-wrenching portrait of grief, family dynamics, and life’s unpredictable twists and turns, Bekah Brunstetter’s 2011 Off-Off-Broadway play “Be a Good Little Widow” […]

DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN: 80% - SWEET

DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN: 80% – SWEET

BITTER Soon, even the murderous villain, Super-Nova (Jeff Alan-Lee), tosses in his similarly vague musings, the end result being a play that runs completely off of the rails after a thoroughly engaging start. A muddled, convenient ending delivers the coup de grace. Combining elements of noir and comic book fantasy is a clever idea, but […]

THE YELLOW BOAT: 100% - SWEET

THE YELLOW BOAT: 100% – SWEET

SWEET “The Yellow Boat” a play with music by David Saar is billed as based on a true story which makes it even more poignant and heart breaking. Patricia Foster Rye – Pat Rye Reviews SWEET By contrast, Yellow Boat director Joseph V. Calarco has wrought this shipshape show from the same deep toolchest out […]

RUTH DRAPER'S MONOLOGUES (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 92% - SWEET

RUTH DRAPER’S MONOLOGUES (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Perhaps the problem, aside from the material, is in Bening’s decision to direct herself. Aside from a vocal quality onstage that always seems a bit flat and somehow forced, Bening might have needed a second critical eye to help her better differentiate each of these four annoying women from one another. Directing oneself robs […]

MANICOMIO: 83% - SWEET

MANICOMIO: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Details aren’t really the point. And I don’t want to spoil the surprises in store for those interested in viewing the show. Let me instead simply point out the cast–including Jared Adams, Charlotte Bjornbak, Jahel Corban Caldera, Joachim De La Rua, Samm Hill, Tyler Koster, Leif La Duke, R. Benjamin Warren, Jessica Weiner, Ramona […]

TASTE: 87% - SWEET

TASTE: 87% – SWEET

SWEET It’s hard to imagine what would ever drive someone to the point where they would want to be consumed by another human being but Taste treats this bizarre scenario with an unflinching honesty and respect that you can’t help but admire. It would have been easy to either play up more of the horror […]

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% - SWEET

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% – SWEET

SWEET The performances, particularly of the two leads, are confident, nuanced and memorable. And the rich sensory feast Kubzansky and her team have served up — which also includes lighting by Jeremy Pivnick, sound by John Zalewski and witty props by John Burton — is a powerful reminder of why beauty, heartless though it may […]

THE SUIT (FREUD PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

THE SUIT (FREUD PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Three years ago, also with the help of Estienne and Krawczyk, Brook reduced Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” down to its ritualistic essences, removing the magic and retaining the humanity. In the “The Suit,” however, the horrors won’t go away. But by making theater, music and dance inseparably one, Brook’s art reaches that cleansing Bachian […]

THE VORTEX (MALIBU PLAYHOUSE): 73% - BITTERSWEET

THE VORTEX (MALIBU PLAYHOUSE): 73% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Judging by the pervasive silence during the performance, the rest of the audience apparently didn’t get what was being said, either. Whether it was the accents or the acoustics or the rushed, shrill delivery, the audience didn’t respond with much enthusiasm or amusement. But they gave the play a standing ovation at the end […]

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Performances from the strong 11-member company are first rate, and Sossi directs his cast to play the lengthy, absurdist drama for maximum laughs. Yet there is a dark and disturbing undercurrent flowing beneath the allegorical farce that only fully emerges in the play’s final, devastating moments. What’s missing throughout is a sense of rising […]

'S WONDERFUL: 75% - BITTERSWEET

‘S WONDERFUL: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jazz is delicious, many songs are delightful, but the entire show would have been better without the intrusive and distracting plots. John Farrell – Random Lengths SWEET S’WONDERFUL: The New Gershwin Musical is a song-and-dance delight. Greg Simay – MyBurbank SWEET Take forty classic George Gershwin tunes, round up five stellar triple-threats to […]

SOVEREIGN BODY: 81% - SWEET

SOVEREIGN BODY: 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Beck’s decision to make Anna’s affliction an anthropomorphic one – a handsome devilish specter (Jack Millard), visible only to her, is responsible for her pain – adds an interesting dimension, helping to lift the overwritten and somewhat contrived script out of the movie-of-the-week waters into which it frequently lapses. Ultimately, the burden of a […]

REST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% - SWEET

REST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% – SWEET

SWEET This prolific dramatist’s latest play, which is having its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in a finely acted production directed by Martin Benson, put me in mind of the American version of the dark British television comedy in which the old and frail are tended to by caregivers who could use some urgent […]