RSSAll Entries in the "Top Rated" Category

CINDERELLA (THEATRE WEST): 100% - SWEET

CINDERELLA (THEATRE WEST): 100% – SWEET

SWEET If you are looking for a wonderful afternoon of fun, laughter and sheer enjoyment – get yourself along to Theatre West, Cahuenga Boulevard West, Hollywood and see Storybook Theatre’s latest offering. I did and had a whale of a time. Accompanied by my two granddaughters (Stella and Cynthia) I was witness to a ‘Cinderella’ […]

MUD BLUE SKY: 94% - SWEET

MUD BLUE SKY: 94% – SWEET

SWEET This is what life is all about. Carol Kaufman Segal – Reviewplays BITTERSWEET Director Mary Lou Belli keeps the play moving but there is not much she can do with the inert writing. If jokes about pot smoking, cable porn, Bravo’s Top Chef, Sprite and cognac mixers, big boobs, plastic forks in dishwashers and […]

MINE EYES HATH SEEN (THEATRE BANSHEE): 100% - SWEET

MINE EYES HATH SEEN (THEATRE BANSHEE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This sort of piece doesn’t contain much surprise; its value is as a reminder of what we already understand – that is, the horror of war – but many of us choose not to think about if we can. Those with a skeletal knowledge of history may be taken aback by the contrast between […]

WITCH BALL (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

WITCH BALL (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Though its story line is linear, coherent, and accessible, Witch Ball nevertheless calls to mind absurdist theatre pieces such as Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart and other dada-esque works. Its use of over-the-top narration, histrionic declamation, occasional non sequiturs and anachronistic jokes, extensive individual and synchronized movement – including some actual dance routines – […]

RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD-THE MUSICAL: 95% - SWEET

RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD-THE MUSICAL: 95% – SWEET

SWEET Though not without new-show quirks, Matt Donnelly, Jamelle Dolphin and Andy Cooper’s fervent, thoughtful musical study of legendary record store Dolphin’s of Hollywood and its visionary founder is interesting, entertaining and frequently thrilling, perhaps the most promising new musical the 99-seat arena has produced since “The Behavior of Broadus,” if not “Louis and Keely: […]

NOT THAT JEWISH (JEWISH WOMEN'S THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

NOT THAT JEWISH (JEWISH WOMEN’S THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET By show’s end, we come to love and appreciate Monica Piper, and all she’s endured; when someone is able to dig deep into one’s own challenges, along the oft bumpy road of life, and creatively express the journey with humor, the result is phenomenal! Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET In her 80-minute brilliantly […]

BLOOD: 100% - SWEET

BLOOD: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Edwards’s script could use some snips here and there, but it’s an entertaining and humorous blend of light- and dark-heartedness. The performances are both resonant and convincing under Edwards’s direction. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET It simply works. Each drop of sweat and every articulated speech blasts the audience with the true […]

PRISON BOXING: 100% - SWEET

PRISON BOXING: 100% – SWEET

SWEET I recently attended a great new one woman show called Prison Boxing making it’s world premiere at The Skylight Theatre Skylab on Vermont. It’s a very good biographical show starring and written by the gifted and likable Leah Joki who started her professional career as an actress after her prestigious Juilliard training in New […]

JULIUS CAESAR (A NOISE WITHIN): 94% - SWEET

JULIUS CAESAR (A NOISE WITHIN): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Ultimately this lively but scattershot production, instead of bringing “Julius Caesar” back to life, buries the play deeper in the sands of time. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliot and Geoff Elliot have turned Shakespeare’s thought-provoking political drama into a powerful exposé on the less noble actions of men, anchored by […]

A DOG'S HOUSE: 92% - SWEET

A DOG’S HOUSE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET This is, overall, a great production. It’s astute, uproarious, heartbreaking, and above all honest. It dares to look at the nature of relationships as they are put to the test. The strain of human interaction sometimes wears on us to the point of breaking, and this play wants to show what that break looks […]

CLASS: 93% - SWEET

CLASS: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Directed by Dimitri Toscas “Class” is a splendid 95-minute study of two individuals whose lives intersect in a way that changes both their lives. Sarah (Callie Schuttera) has been referred to Elliott by her agent for lessons. Candyce Columbus – LA Examiner SWEET Director Dimitri Toscas’ decision to have the characters retire to off […]

CINDERELLA (AHMANSON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

CINDERELLA (AHMANSON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Mark Brokaw’s production, with its quick-assembly storybook set by Anna Louizos, hadn’t settled into the Ahmanson by Wednesday’s performance. Josh Rhodes’ choreography looked clumsy, and the actors seemed as though they were trying to figure out the dimensions of the house. But the story’s natural enchantment is greatly enhanced by the music of Richard […]

IF YOU CAN GET TO BUFFALO: 100% - SWEET

IF YOU CAN GET TO BUFFALO: 100% – SWEET

SWEET That long-ago teapot tempest, its perpetrator, his victims and both their risible naiveté and rude disillusionment are all faithfully resurrected as if freshly ripped from today’s headline in director Edgar Landa’s inventive and crisply staged production (on Meg Cunningham’s fittingly carnivalesque, text-projected set). Bill Raden – Stage Raw SWEET For all its swift satire […]

TAKING SIDES (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TAKING SIDES (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This wanders a bit from the play itself, although my intention has been to underscore that Little Fish and the fine actors appearing in “Taking Sides” have given us an engaging and thought-provoking work, one which ranks among the best I’ve seen in recent years. There are really no other words except these: Don’t […]

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% - SWEET

PUTTING IT TOGETHER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET The evening is entertaining, fun and will pluck at your nostalgic musical theater heart-strings — if you’ve got ‘em. Jessica Salans – Stage Raw BITTERSWEET Putting it Together currently at the Sierra Mare Playhouse is filled with fun and energy and joy as it tells the story of a most unique cocktail party with […]

CARRIE, THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 92% - SWEET

CARRIE, THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 92% – SWEET

SWEET However, “Carrie” is a better musical than before, but it’s still not a great one. Gore’s tunes are pleasant but, barring Carrie and Mom’s songs, not very individuated, Pitchford’s lyrics are prosaic, at times prolix, and Cohen’s book doesn’t explore its All Teens Are Alienated theme beyond surface considerations. That will scarcely matter to […]

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% - SWEET

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s presentation of Lifeboat, an extraordinary tale of survival and friendship, stars Ashley Smith as Beth and Hannah Donaldson as Bess. They are brilliant as the two English school girls during World War II who share their friendship and life-changing adventure in a narrative that is awash with emotions. And […]

FIGARO (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% - SWEET

FIGARO (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Joshua Wolf Coleman’s triple-role expertise and Natalie De Luna’s dizzy Fanchette complete an ensemble that knows just how far to push for laughs and gets them, resulting in a knee-slapping blast. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Some may find Michael Michetti’s direction and this often frenetically paced two-acter to be witty, with […]

NIAGARA FALLS: 100% - SWEET

NIAGARA FALLS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Smart, quirky and always engaging, this seriocomic tour de force explores mysteries of love, existence and human connection with the best precision staging a finely tuned, 12-member professional ensemble can deliver in an intimate space. It is a poster child for the kind of daring, thrilling, affordable experience that would not be possible without […]

TREVOR: 97% - SWEET

TREVOR: 97% – SWEET

SWEET From that opening, the play’s grim trajectory becomes inevitable. That it also proves such a deliciously laugh-packed ride can finally be attributed to the split-second precision of an inspired ensemble (which includes Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Malcolm Barrett, Brenda Strong, Jim Ortlieb and Bob Clendenin) and director Stella Powell-Jones’ flawless production. Bill Raden – LA […]

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 90% - SWEET

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 90% – SWEET

SWEET In a well-paced staging, director Marya Mazor boldly addresses the vagaries of her material. Kaitlyn Pietras’ striking projection design ably delineates the shifting milieus, as does Pablo Santiago’s lighting and John Zalewski’s sound. Schub and Wasserman are well-matched antagonists, but the standout among the cast is the marvelous Knowelden, whose Eileen is as amusing […]

THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT: 93% - SWEET

THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Sound designer John Zalewski is responsible for heightening this intimacy through the soundtrack, which is emitted through speakers hidden around the space. The effect is dizzying as it comes at you from all sides in a rush. Jessica Gelt – LA Times SWEET It’s haunting, magical and beautifully crafted, something that must be experienced […]

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% - SWEET

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Under Bruce Kimmel’s pizzazzy direction, Broadway and regional theater vets Sandy Bainum, Jill Marie Burke, Cynthia Ferrer, Stephanie Fredricks, Dana Meller, and Adrienne Visnic simply could not be more sensational as a sextet of modern women (of the ‘90s), nor Haverty’s book more delightfully witty and perceptive, nor Haverty and Russ’s songs more infectiously […]

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Adapted from an anthology of poetry by Edgar Lee Masters, writer and director Maureen Lucy O’Connell blends the poet’s words with traditional songs to create a show that will tug at your heartstrings as much as it will give you goosebumps. Michelle Sandoval – EdgeLosAngeles SWEET The songs, which are performed a capella, and […]

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET A tastefully elegant production of Maltby & Shire’s CLOSER THAN EVER brings the duo’s beautiful and thought-provoking songs to life in the intimate performance space at Hollywood Piano in Burbank. It’s a co-production between Good People Theater Company and Hollywood Piano; a partnership that means the audience gets the rare opportunity to hear the […]

THE OTHER PLACE: 93% - SWEET

THE OTHER PLACE: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Solid stagecraft, tautly quirky writing and crackerjack acting distinguish this compelling Los Angeles premiere of playwright Sharr White’s celebrated 2013 study of a neurologist who may be descending into dementia. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET In the end, “The Other Place,” the second show of the 2014-15 season, works because of a […]

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This show should not be missed. It is part of our collective history highlighting distinctive moments of a man who made us laugh and think. His incredibly fast and clever lyrics definitely beat the simple and angry language of any commercially successful rapper of today. What a lovely tribute by a talented daughter to […]

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY (FOUR LARKS): 100% - SWEET

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY (FOUR LARKS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Forgive them their voice-over. Give in to their Temptation and let the rest of text wash over you as you enjoy this immersive gem. And buy tickets now, this is one that’s sure to sell out. Anthony Byrnes – KCRW SWEET It is remarkable. Magnificent to watch. Abel Horwitz – Abel Horwitz SWEET A […]

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% - SWEET

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor, plays Teacher, a fractious bully whose semi-coherent verbal harangues are the source of his catastrophic charisma. Under the direction of Stephen Rothman, Kotsur uses ASL to transform Mamet’s words into a visual symphony and this challenging character into a poignant figure of isolation. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET […]

LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

LOCH NESS, A NEW MUSICAL (CHANCE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Unlike much new musical theater, “Loch Ness” is a charming, pleasingly quirky, wholly original concept. Its fine staging at Chance shows that theaters taking a chance on a new, unproduced play can strike it rich. Eric Marchese – OC Register SWEET Whether Loch Ness is the show that launches Pailet into non-fringe territory is […]