RSSAll Entries in the "Top Rated" Category

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 91% - SWEET

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 91% – 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

I'M NOT JUST A COMIC GENIUS: 100% - SWEET

I’M NOT JUST A COMIC GENIUS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The show is worth seeing if you are in the mood for a light comedy. Daniel Faigin – Observations Along the Road SWEET It is hilarious, disturbing, superbly written and immediately engaging. Corina Roberts – La Canada Flintridge Patch SWEET Riotous comedy sequences, nice wordplay, and fine acting make I’m Not Just a Comic […]

THE CURSE OF OEDIPUS (ANTAEUS): 93% - SWEET

THE CURSE OF OEDIPUS (ANTAEUS): 93% – SWEET

SWEET This is a show that deals squarely with many of the darkest human issues as well as the unique qualities of the ancient Greek Gods. It is absolutely not a musical nor a comedy, it is a rich and deep dramatic presentation bolstered by a superb cast; well actually two casts but I only […]

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET The battle over Oshoosi’s fate plays out with thrilling immediacy in this staging by Shirley Jo Finney, who also directed “In the Red and Brown Water” at the Fountain. She is ably assisted by Hana S. Kim’s evocative, abstract set, Ameenah Kaplan’s powerful choreography, Peter Bayne’s original music arranged by Brenda Lee Eager, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]