RSSAll Entries in the "Top Rated" Category

BUYER AND CELLAR: 100% - SWEET

BUYER AND CELLAR: 100% – 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): 96% - SWEET

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 96% – 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 […]

COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% - SWEET

COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (A NOISE WITHIN): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The ANW cast members inhabit their 1950 characters with stunning authenticity. G. Bruce Smith – Stage and Cinema SWEET Fortunately, the current revival of Inge’s 1950 drama “Come Back, Little Sheba” at A Noise Within largely steers clear of blatancy, thanks to the skillful co-direction of Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott. When the characters […]

IN THE HEIGHTS (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 94% - SWEET

IN THE HEIGHTS (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production now playing at Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks, which is, for all intents and purposes, a regional replica of the Broadway show (the director and a large chunk of the cast were on the second national tour), doesn’t make “In the Heights” bad, but it doesn’t do its source material justice. […]

B. FRANKLIN: 100% - SWEET

B. FRANKLIN: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, this is a literate and entertaining examination of a vital period in our history, told with wit, humor, and perspicacity, and acted with skill. And director Bjorn Johnson keeps things moving briskly and efficiently. Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s handsome set adds considerable detail to remind us of Franklin’s time, and of his broad-ranging interests. […]

FOR THE RECORD: TARANTINO (DBA HOLLYWOOD): 100% - SWEET

FOR THE RECORD: TARANTINO (DBA HOLLYWOOD): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This is the show to see in Los Angeles, and the continuing success of its cast and creators is well-deserved. Bravo Kevin P. Taft – Frontiers SWEET For The Record: Tarantino brings the movies of Quentin Tarantino to life through the soundtracks he meticulously integrated into each of his films. Add the live band, […]

FLOYD COLLINS (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 95% - SWEET

FLOYD COLLINS (LA MIRADA THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET From its striking opening tableau, to its full-cast musical prologue, “The Ballad Of Floyd Collins,” accompanied by teenaged balladeer Jewell Estes (Matt Magnusson) on guitar, to our first glimpse of Floyd crawling down and through narrow tunnels before reaching a rainbow-hued cave he hopes will bring the area fame and fortune, Guettel and Landeau’s […]

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (ILLYRIAN PLAYERS): 100% - SWEET

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (ILLYRIAN PLAYERS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Happily, director Carly Weckstein’s accomplished studio revival of the play (abetted by William Herder’s nicely emblematic scenic design) does come as a potent reminder of just what delectable and powerfully drawn roles the script offers for a committed ensemble. Bill Raden – Stage Raw SWEET Performed with no intermission, played out on Will Herder’s […]

RITE OF SEYMOUR (SON OF SEMELE): 100% - SWEET

RITE OF SEYMOUR (SON OF SEMELE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The look of the play was truly excellent. Paterno skillfully acted as de-evolved Seymour, which, combined with his monkey makeover, was pretty disturbing. Yet convincing! The audience is initially horrified at his appearance but then grows to find him endearing, as do the characters in the play. Casey O’Lear – ScreamFMLondon SWEET As farces […]

CRAZY FOR YOU (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% - SWEET

CRAZY FOR YOU (CANDLELIGHT PAVILION): 100% – SWEET

SWEET So hurry on down to Candlelight Pavilion for a true treat and enjoy a good meal and great show. Robert Machray – Stagehappenings SWEET The songs are all Gershwin, the dancing is virtually non-stop, and the entertainment value is sky-high in the Tony-winning Best Musical of 1992 Crazy For You, which Candlelight Pavilion Dinner […]

ORPHEUS (FOUR LARKS): 93% - SWEET

ORPHEUS (FOUR LARKS): 93% – SWEET

SWEET Throughout, the beige-clad and slight grubby (!) performers move, sway, declaim, sing and either perform percussion or play musical instruments—all in a deftly choreographed and pleasingly natural fashion, like the ebb and flow of a gentle tide. Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA BITTERSWEET Orpheus is lovely in so many ways, but makes a couple of […]

L.A. DELI: 93% - SWEET

L.A. DELI: 93% – SWEET

SWEET L.A. Deli is a therapeutic 12 Sketch Program for show business habitués trying to break the cycle of rejection and self-delusion. Industry predators and their preyed-upon square off across the tables of Jeffery P. Eisenmann’s detailed set. They include starry-eyed wannabes, jaded has-been, and every shade of shady character in between. Bobrick’s program note […]