RSSAll Entries in the "Top Rated" Category

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): 100% - SWEET

CARRIE, THE MUSICAL (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 100% – 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 […]

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% - SWEET

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% – SWEET

SWEET The wonderful Theatre West Company of performers and artists did it again by presenting a very visceral drama with such artistry and passion, that you better pack some tissue paper with you when you run (and I mean run) to see this production! 30 years ago actor/playwright Jim Beaver wrote this wonderful piece called […]

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: 100% - SWEET

TREVOR: 100% – 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 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: 92% - SWEET

THE OTHER PLACE: 92% – 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 […]

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What gets served up is, of course, somewhat thinner than the symphonic orchestration we all grew up with on the original concept album, but it manages to evoke those classic sounds while rocking and buzzing on its own, more intimate terms. Bob Verini – ArtsInLA SWEET But to bring in it all together the […]

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% - SWEET

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Except for some mis-staged lighting to allow Mr. Cavett to walk freely as is his obvious nature is as a renowned talk-show host, this play was surprisingly funny and yet really smart with a view into how this one-time incident that happened on Mr. Cavett’s show might have eventually affected our first amendment. I […]

GHOSTS OF THE UNDERGROUND: 100% - SWEET

GHOSTS OF THE UNDERGROUND: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nevertheless, and in spite of the occasional sour note and shaky acting performance, Ghosts of the Underground racks up an impressive tally of theatrical coups, not the least of which is the sudden dawning that happens about three-quarters into the show of exactly which ancient tale Muñoz and Neubauer are so eloquently reinterpreting. To […]

PULP SHAKESPEARE (OR BARD FICTION) (THEATRE ASYLUM REVIVAL): 100% - SWEET

PULP SHAKESPEARE (OR BARD FICTION) (THEATRE ASYLUM REVIVAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The show is worth seeing, especially if you are fans of the original movie, “Pulp Fiction” Daniel Faigin – Observations Along the Road SWEET I saw this production last time it was in LA. It was good then, but I have to say this reincarnation blows it out of the water. Go buy tickets […]

TRISTAN & YSEULT (KNEEHIGH/SOUTH COAST REP): 94% - SWEET

TRISTAN & YSEULT (KNEEHIGH/SOUTH COAST REP): 94% – SWEET

SWEET This splendid cast and band run the gamut of comic and tragic emotions as well as delivering some exuberantly fun song and dance moments. Tristan & Yseult is a very unique theatrical experience that should not be missed. Rob Stevens – Haines His Way SWEET Cheeky, goofy and sassy, Tristan & Yseult at South […]

BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% - SWEET

BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Sometimes, it really is just about being entertained. Here, you will be. Frances Baum Nicholson – The Stage Struck Review SWEET February 3, 1959 may well have been, as Don McLean sang it, “the day the music died,” but the music of Buddy Holly lives on at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in the crowd-pleasing […]

CLEAN START: 71% - BITTERSWEET

CLEAN START: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Ultimately it’s a tale about setting boundaries and what it really means to be a friend. It’s the human factor that wonderfully tops all in this show. People are people in our many forms, sharing happiness, joy, jealousy and pain, most of all love, for each other and ourselves. All of these characters “clean […]

TIMEPIECE: 100% - SWEET

TIMEPIECE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET This witty new absurdist comedy by playwright Duncombe helps laugh at our ultimately silly and illogical view of love, life, and death. Sarah A. Spitz – Santa Monica Daily Press SWEET If it can be a little sophomoric, the play betrays no discomfort with that whatever, capable of mocking its own preoccupations as much […]

DAME EDNA'S GLORIOUS GOODBYE: THE FAREWELL TOUR (AHMANSON): 92% - SWEET

DAME EDNA’S GLORIOUS GOODBYE: THE FAREWELL TOUR (AHMANSON): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Almost the entire first half of the production, directed by Simon Phillips, is devoted to Edna’s exchanges with the audience. The spontaneity of Edna’s wit is dazzling — she can find levity in the humiliated mumbles of a theatergoer sinking lower and lower in her seat. But there is a law of diminishing returns. […]

EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS: A RECORD ALBUM INTERPRETATION (REDCAT/WOOSTER GROUP): 94% - SWEET

EARLY SHAKER SPIRITUALS: A RECORD ALBUM INTERPRETATION (REDCAT/WOOSTER GROUP): 94% – SWEET

SWEET With the addition of eerie harmonies and then, in the evening’s finale, reconstructed Shaker dances, Early Shaker Spirituals soars beyond a canny ethnomusicological evocation to become something more deeply poignant and wonderfully enchanting. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET What a difference! I’d never actually seen such. Just woodcuts and illustrations. Now, in this […]

50 HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATRE FESTIVAL 2015 (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

50 HOUR DRIVE-BY THEATRE FESTIVAL 2015 (ZOMBIE JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Overall, truly admired the creativity — this is a different type of theatre than what one sees when one goes for the known authors and known works, or even the new authors when their product is of the traditional style (90 minute-120 minutes, 1-2 acts). This is much more theatre on the edge, and […]

THE MEMORY OF WATER: 90% - SWEET

THE MEMORY OF WATER: 90% – SWEET

SWEET Winner of the “Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy,” this absorbingly entertaining play is full of dark humor and heart featuring three sisters – paranoid Mary, uptight Teresa, and strung out and bratty Catherine – who have returned home on the eve of their mother’s funeral after her battle with Alzheimer’s. Shari Barrett – […]

TIME STANDS STILL (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 92% - SWEET

TIME STANDS STILL (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Produced by lead performer Presciliana Esparolini and Christopher Amitrano in association with the Aquila Morong acting studio, the staging by Vicky Jenson successfully captures the script’s broad contours. Unfortunately, it underserves Margulies’ subtly interwoven personal and universal explorations of violence and its aftermath. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Donald Margulies’ script is both […]