RSSAll Entries in the "Top Rated" Category

Chris L. McKenna and Donal Thoms-Cappello in "Taste" at Sacred Fools Theater. Photo:

TASTE: 100% – 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 [...]

The cast of "Everything You Touch" at Boston Court. Photo: Ed Krieger.

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 90% – 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 [...]

Hal Landon Jr. and Lynn Milgrim in "Rest" at South Coast Repertory. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

REST (SOUTH COAST REP): 92% – 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 [...]

Deborah Strang and Geoff Elliott in "Come Back, Little Sheba" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

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" at the Cabrillo Music Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

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. [...]

Robert Lesko in "B. Franklin" at SFS Theatre. Photo: Michael Lamont.

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" at DBA. Photo by Rony Alwin.

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, [...]

Mark Whitten and Kim Hubert at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Photo: Michael Lamont.

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 [...]

Thaddeus Shafer and Elitia Daniels in "How I Learned to Drive" at Theater Asylum. Photo: Company.

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 [...]

Jeremy Kinser, Bilal Mir and Deborah Jensen in ‘Rite of Seymour’ at the Son of Semele Theater. Photo courtesy of Drive Theatre Company.

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 [...]

The cast of "Crazy For You" at the Candelight Pavilion. Photo: Company.

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 [...]

Four Larks presents "Orpheus" playing at a secret downtown LA location. Photo by Eugene Lee.

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" at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

L.A. DELI: 92% – 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 [...]

"Is There Sex After Marriage?" at the Two Roads Theatre. Photo: Company.

IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE?: 90% – SWEET

SWEET Riotously written, and maniacally directed by Jeff Gould … this x-rated adult comedy is outrageously funny! Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times SWEET This play is the third in a series of relationship comedies written by Gould. These include “Troubled Waters”. “It’s Just Sex,” and “Is There Sex After Marriage?” The two prior plays were [...]

Michael Hanson and Bill Wolski) in Little Fish Theatre's "The Melville Boys." Photo: Company.

THE MELVILLE BOYS (LITTLE FISH THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The show’s perfectly paced. It begins frat kegger funny and then, almost in a whisper, becomes sad as hell. It ends neither maudlin nor tragic. Instead, to Vander Roest’s credit, it glows with a gentle humanity: all four characters must (and do) come to terms with the one thing that no one who’s ever [...]

Bruce Davison and Sharon Lawrence in "A Song at Twilight" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Photo: Michael Lamont.

A SONG AT TWILIGHT (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET This production of “A Song at Twilight” is a reminder that there’s more to Coward than Champagne bubbles and intoxicating quips. What could very easily have turned into a vintage case study of a closeted homosexual writer becomes a probing exposé of the concealments and deceptions that keep our most intimate relationships — with [...]

Stephen Van Dorn, Bruce Ladd, Nathan Bell, Deborah Marlowe, and Tannis Hanson in "Lend Me A Tenor" at the Davis Theatre. Photo by Lindsay Schnebly.

LEND ME A TENOR (ACTORS CO-OP): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Moosie Drier directs with verve and a wealth of comic invention. Bell skillfully navigates the changes as Max is transformed from nebbish to newly confident faux-star. Ladd is a whirlwind of motion as the frantic producer, and Vanbuskirk is hilarious as the much put-upon Tito. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA SWEET Kimi Walker’s production is [...]

Joseph Fuqua and Rebekah Tripp in "A Moon for the Misbegotten" at the Rubicon Theatre. Photo:

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN (RUBICON): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Rubicon Theatre’s impassioned revival shows the mature O’Neill at the height of his powers — his arty experimental theater days behind him, masterfully employing classical fundamentals to wring hauntingly poetic truths about love and self-delusion from gritty everyday experience. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET A Moon for the Misbegotten was Eugene O’Neill’s grand [...]

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% – SWEET

TOP GIRLS (ANTAEUS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Eventually there was a revelation on many levels making this one of the most unique theatrical experiences in my more than half century of theatrical experiences. Go and watch this show. You will experience fine acting, considerable wit and a deeply poignant story. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET English playwright Caryl Churchill examines [...]

Ian Cameron and Andy Manley in "White" at the Wallis Annenberg Center. Photo: Company.

WHITE (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The space, and its cute set, is entirely white. Audience members perch on low, white, wooden benches and there are little mats on the floor for kids to lounge on. The show is only 30 or so minutes long—perfect for short attention spans. The little ones who attended the show were completely enchanted by [...]

David Ghilardi, Nan Tepper, Brian Graves, Kelly Huddleston and Adam Simon Krist in "The Foreigner" at the Crown City Theatre. Photo: Company.

THE FOREIGNER (CROWN CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now onstage at Crown City Theatre in NoHo, a superb ensemble of actors bring off The Foreigner with tremendous skill and gusto. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET It is a treat from start to finish! Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times SWEET If you truly want to see when a wonderful script meets a talented [...]

"The Wrong Man" at the Skylight Theatre. Photo:

THE WRONG MAN: 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET At fourteen songs, and one act that’s slightly less than an hour, this is more a cabaret performance than a musical. It has a skeletal plot: In Las Vegas, Duran (Ross Golan) a simple man meets Mariana (Jennifer Brasuell) a sexy bad girl, with catastrophic results. After a one nightstand, he’s framed for her [...]

Michele Bernath and Patrick Burke in "Boeing Boeing" at the Lonny Chapman Theatre. Photo: Sherry Netherland.

BOEING BOEING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now in a new revival well paced by director Larry Eisenberg, Group rep’s actors don the international robes and dish out the divergent flavors with some style and flair. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET Yes, this play is funny, especially as it picks-up steam in the second and third acts. But there is more, [...]

Jake Silbermann, Malcolm Madera and Robert M. Foster in "Derby Day" at the Elephant Theatre. Photo: Alex Moy.

DERBY DAY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Silberman, Madera and Foster are to be commended for their ability to share these men first as suited and somewhat upstanding citizens and then take us with them as they sink into the depths of depravity in their souls. Each actor was fully engaged in their characters, even as the many items were thrown [...]

EST/LA presents Robert Joy and Eve Gordon in "The Ugly One" at the Atwater Village Theatre. Photo by Kevin Riggin.

THE UGLY ONE (EST/LA): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The director works her excellent actors to technical precision in timing and physicality, and they more than meet her energy. They improve on an already thrilling script, which of course is why one hires actors. Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema SWEET Given a sharply engaging English translation by Maja Zade, this West Coast [...]

Jason Karasev, Anna Khaja, and Joel Polis in "My Name is Asher Lev" at the Fountain Theatre. Photo by Ed Krieger.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV: 94% – SWEET

SWEET The play isn’t an undiluted screed on behalf of unfettered art; it depicts the pain Asher’s parents undergo when they become the unwitting subjects of his masterpiece – and the conflicts this causes within the still-mostly-observant Asher. Don Shirley – LA Observed SWEET The story is not so surprising, but given the immediacy and [...]

Nan McNamara and Inger Tudor in "Going to St. Ives". Photo: Lindsay Schnebly.

GOING TO ST. IVES (ACTORS CO-OP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Having attended Actors Co-op productions regularly for over fifteen years now, I can declare without equivocation that there is no finer company of actors, directors, and designers in Los Angeles. Going To St. Ives gives L.A. theatergoers Actors Co-op at their very best. Need I say more? Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Although Blessing [...]

"Carmilla" at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre. Photo: Richard M. Johnson.

CARMILLA (ZOMBIES JOE’S UNDERGROUND): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Carmilla is a deliciously seductive fare, one that will give you nocturnal visions, perhaps even a nightmare… Spencer Cotter – The_Detective SWEET While I myself felt that a bit more blood and a couple of tit flashes would have nailed it, the hour long experience is akin to a staged performance of Dark Shadows [...]

The cast of "Disassembly" at Theatre of NOTE. Photo: Eric Neil Gutierrez.

DISASSEMBLY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET That said, Beyer’s crisply assured staging hits its marks with precision and skillful comic timing. The production is full of enjoyable, if disturbing surprises, mainly having to do with unexpected revelations and reversals. Paul Birchall – Stage and Cinema SWEET Credit director Tom Beyer and this talented ensemble (in this L.A. premiere at Theatre [...]

Thomas Vincent Kelly and Sal Viscuso in "A Steady Rain" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo by Enci.

A STEADY RAIN: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Odyssey has done a terrific job with this production. Adam Flemming’s set, consisting simply of two chairs and three screens upon which evocative images are projected, places the focus on the intensity of the subject matter. It’s expertly directed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company co-founder Jeff Perry, and kudos must also go to the [...]