RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "amy lyons"

"Cymbeline" at A Noise Within. Credit: Craig Schwartz.

CYMBELINE (A NOISE WITHIN): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If you are a lover of Shakespeare and you have been dying to see “Cymbeline” onstage, see this production. The acting is engaging, the company is clearly working with a comfortable budget, and the production makes a decent effort with a troublesome script. But if you’ve never heard of “Cymbeline” and you don’t always [...]

Jann Karam in "Reclining Nude on La Cienega" at the Elephant Stages. Credit:

RECLINING NUDE ON LA CIENEGA: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET By Karam’s own admission, her life’s a work in progress. So too is this production. It merits your patronage, but just barely. James Scarborough – Huffington Post BITTER But this one-woman show is the wrong vehicle for Karam: Her talent gets buried under an ineffective experiment that finds her literally painting her way through [...]

Danielle Soibelman, Matt Walton and Hal Linden in "Under My Skin" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit: Jim Cox.

UNDER MY SKIN: 57% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER The cast is certainly lively — Yvette Cason’s snappy, streetwise Angel and Megan Sikora as Melody’s party-hearty sidekick practically do cartwheels for laughs. But nothing can prevent this dead-on-arrival show from being shipped straight to the comedy morgue. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTER As helmed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the hijinks consistently push [...]

The cast of "Real Drunk Housewives of the San Fernando Valley" at the Complex Theatre. Credit: David P.

THE REAL DRUNK HOUSEWIVES OF THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY (RE-MOUNT): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET At times surreal and never not funny, Kelly Holden-Bashar and Bill Haller’s new musicalette, The Real Drunk Housewives of the San Fernando Valley, is a raucous and entertaining diversion, perfect for a “gals’ night out.” Andrew Moore – MadTheatrics BITTER This reality-show musical parody starts off with a halfway decent dose of comic writing [...]

"MIssing Dick" at the Mirror Theatre. Credit: Gordon Bressack.

MISSING DICK: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER It’s hard to care what happens to a cast of characters who don’t resemble actual humans, with problems that exist only as transparent setups to disappointing punch lines. The comedy is broad, the ensemble’s acting hamfisted across the board. Amy Lyons – LA Weekly BITTERSWEET Writer-director Bressack pitches his script at TV-sitcom level and [...]

The cast of "Hamlet" at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre. Credit: Zombie Joe.

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

SWEET It’s usually more than a bit eerie and grisly, but this time it’s also more elevated: a barebones telling of “Hamlet,” Shakespeare’s murderous tale of revenge, that is powerful and affecting, thanks to the always game company and Rafael Goldstein’s marvelous Hamlet. Jennie Webb – Backstage SWEET Something is rotten in the state of [...]

"Jackie Loeb in Something to Celebrate" part of Best of Fringe at Theatre Asylum. Credit: Company.

JACKIE LOEB IN SO MUCH TO CELEBRATE! (BEST OF FRINGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET All of that’s downplayed when she really gets going, because her performance, dubbed So Much to Celebrate, is an earnest and, yes, hilarious bout of both self-deprecation and celebration of her flaws. Vickie Toro – Comediva SWEET Musical talents aside, Loeb’s knack for self-scrutiny sans sappy confessional narrative is the source of the show’s [...]

Susan Angelo, left, and Ellen Geer in "The Women of Lockerbie" at Theatricum Botanicum. Credit: Ian Flanders.

THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Melora Marshall’s production uses traditional Scottish music and instruments to atmospheric effect. But there’s not much the director can do about the playwright’s ham-fisted storytelling. Instead of trusting her subject matter to speak for itself, Brevroot can’t resist sanctimonious commentary. (“Grief needs to talk” “Grief is a guest who stays too long”). Charlotte Stoudt [...]

The cast of "Very Still & Hard to See" at the Lex Theatre. Credit:

VERY STILL & HARD TO SEE: 83% – SWEET

BITTER Even with some wonderful dialogue, the playwright’s self-indulgent construction eschews an overarching story, which renders it impenetrable and not worth recommending, but if you want to witness the wickedly inventive Story Theatre-like staging of Michael Matthews, consistently the best director in Los Angeles, then by all means go to Hell. Tony Frankel – Stage [...]

Nick Ullett and Barbara Bain in "Love Struck" at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Credit:

LOVE STRUCK: 68% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET As StageSceneLA readers may have noticed, this reviewer rarely attends one-acts, preferring full-length plays in the same way I invariably opt for novels over short stories. Still, there are times when I make exceptions, and in the case of Love Struck, I’m quite glad I did. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA BITTER Maggie Grant’s direction [...]

A CHILD LEFT BEHIND (RUSKIN GROUP REMOUNT): 100% – SWEET

A CHILD LEFT BEHIND (RUSKIN GROUP REMOUNT): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The script balances social and personal commentary successfully, and Aymie’s energetic charm allows us easy access to his outrage. Amy Lyons – LA Weekly SWEET “Excellence” is the one word I would use to describe Alan Aymie’s highly energetic and dynamic one-man show. Audrey Linden – LA Examiner SWEET This is a play that [...]

Caitlin Gallogly, left, and Patricia Canale in "No Time to Weep" at the Matrix Theatre. Credit: Steven Beitler.

NO TIME TO WEEP (MATRIX THEATRE): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Not since Mel Brooks’ outrageous “Springtime for Hitler” has there been a Holocaust musical as ill-conceived and badly performed as No Time to Weep, now onstage at L.A.’s Matrix Theater. Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner SWEET Standing ovations at the Matrix Theatre greeted the actors of Lucy Deutsch’s Holocaust life story, No Time To [...]

The cast of "Two Gentlemen of Chicago" at the FalconTheatre. Credit: Chelsea Sutton.

TWO GENTLEMEN OF CHICAGO (FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Two Gentlemen Of Chicago looks a sure thing to sell out performance after performance, and rightly so. Troubies’ fans are legion, and certain to be tickled pink by this latest inspired tribute to two of the world’s greatest. Shakespeare plus Chicago equals Magic. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Troubie standards are always up there, [...]

Thought-bubble-crossed lovers Kerry (Redetha Deason) and Jordan (Jonathan Brett) explore Comic-Con together in “Geeks! The Musical!” Credit: Anne Mesa.

GEEKS! THE MUSICAL: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET To successfully bring this theme into the world of live musical theater, it must be done with true artistic genius. Misuraca, along with director Bennett Cohon, producer Anne Mesa, music by Ruth Judkowitz, and the support of the Write Act Repertory, accomplish this mission impeccably. Bonnie Priever – Tolucan Times BITTER In the end, [...]

Anteaeus presents the Samovar cast of "The Seagull" at Deaf West Theatre. Credit: Alexandra Goodman.

THE SEAGULL (ANTAEUS): 82% – SWEET

SWEET I’ll admit it. When I hear the name Chekhov, the first words that pop into my head are dull, somber, and talky. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to report that the Antaeus Company’s revival of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull not only held my attention virtually throughout, it actually had me laughing more times [...]

in "Twentieth Century" at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Credit: Lia Peterson.

TWENTIETH CENTURY (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

BITTER Though director Michael Lorre and his solid cast manage more than a few shining moments, the story feels stale and the ham-fisted comedy never hits its requisite screwball stride. Amy Lyons – LA Weekly SWEET Twentieth Century gives the venerable Sierra Madre Playhouse one of its best productions ever, and if you’ve never visited [...]

ELEMENO PEA: 91% – SWEET

ELEMENO PEA: 91% – SWEET

SWEET Elemeno Pea is indeed a laugh-out-loud comedy lasting just a little longer than 90 minutes, and its realistic set and real-time structure make it look a little like something you might see in a TV comedy. But when you’re in a large group that’s laughing out loud together, and you add the flame of [...]

Rick Marcus and Heather Chesley in "Yours, Isabel". Credit: Lindsay Schnebly.

YOURS, ISABEL: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Still, with its nostalgic Greatest Generation setting, “Yours, Isabel” offers an affectionate look at an age when overcoming absence required more than mere email. Charlotte Stoudt – LA Times SWEET Playwright Christy Hall reinvents the epistolary play (one based on an exchange of letters) with her zesty, captivating World War II romance Yours, Isabel, [...]

The cast of "The Water's Edge" at the Road Theatre Company. Credit: Criss Goss.

THE WATER’S EDGE: 88% – SWEET

SWEET The Water’s Edge is definitely a play you don’t want to miss! It’s the kind of play that everyone stands outside and talks about after it’s over. And how many plays like that do you get in any given year? Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner SWEET A man’s return visit to the wife and [...]

The Production Company presents Ferrell Marshall, left, and Judy Nazemetz in "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at The Lex. Credit: T.L. Kolman.

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE (PRODUCTION COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Accordingly, the narrative twists unfold as though in a Hitchcock film, with ordinary objects — a poker, a sexy black dress, an unopened letter — accruing gasp-inducing weight. “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” may not be groundbreaking theater, and it could stand more restraint in so small a space, but the play still manages [...]

Gus Krieger in "Troilus and Cressida". Credit: Rob Cunliffe.

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA (PORTERS OF HELLSGATE): 87% – SWEET

BITTER Alas, real frottage might have been more interesting to watch than this straightforward staging, handicapped by an ensemble largely incapable of expressing the language. Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema SWEET The play has an abrupt ending, some unanswered questions and characters with whom it is difficult to sympathize. Yet The Porters have handled [...]

Shelby Kocee, Lia Sargent, and Gloria Stroock in "The Color of Rose" at Theatre 40. Credits:  Ed Krieger.

THE COLOR OF ROSE (THEATRE 40): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Kathrine Bates, who directed this production as well as scripting it, has done an extraordinary job bringing Rose to life, and set designer Jeff G. Rack has dressed the stage with elegant chairs and accoutrements, but the evening truly belongs to Gloria Stroock, who, at 87, is an absolute wonder to behold! Cynthia Citron [...]

Actor's Co-op presents "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Crossley Terrace Theatre. Credit: Lindsay Schnebly.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (ACTOR’S CO-OP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Director Gary Lee Reed, who also designed the lovely set, keeps the essential tug-of-war between Scout and Atticus at the forefront of the drama, while carefully crafting the courtroom scene as a painfully unwinnable plea for justice that results in a naiveté-shattering growth spurt for Scout. Amy Lyons – LA Weekly SWEET This production [...]

Juliet Landau and Matthew J. Williamson in "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" at Crown City Theatre. Credit: Deverill Weekes.

DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (CROWN CITY THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Given the scenery-chewing options that Shanley presents, the nuance they achieve and bathos they avoid is endearing and impressive. It elevates the text, and designates “Danny” as a company watershed. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Technically Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is more drama than comedy, but because there are plenty [...]

Company of Angeles and "Blu" at the Alexandria Hotel. Credit: Graham Kolbeins.

BLU: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET With a sure hand, playwright Virginia Grise creates a highly theatrical present-day barrio that houses the characters of one story but uses explosive language and poetic movement to reach beyond and tell us so much more. Hers is a knowing, provocative, and lyrical work that is as gorgeous as it is powerful. Jennie Webb [...]

Anne Archer and Terrence Beasor in "Jane Fonda in the Court of Public Opinion" at the Edgemar Center for the Arts. Credit: Ed Krieger

JANE FONDA IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: 66% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Be ready to shred a few tears near the end of this effective, makes-you-think hour-and-45-minute show. Gil Kaan – Culture Spot LA BITTERSWEET This is why the topic of Jastrow’s play, co-directed by Michelle Danner, is so hypnotic — more so than the play itself, or this production of it. Steven Leigh Morris – [...]

Rude Mechs present Michael Mergen and Liz Cass in "I've Never Been So Happy" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Credit: Center Group Theater.

I’VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY (KIRK DOUGLAS): 47% – BITTER

SWEET But in an age when musicals are patched together from Hollywood trifles and jukebox castoffs, it seems pointless to criticize “I’ve Never Been So Happy” for lacking substance. It’s no sillier than most Broadway blockbusters, but it sure is a whole lot more original. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTER Rude Mechs executes a [...]

Ted Ryan, Sheila Oaks, and Bert Hinchman in “Pulling Leather” at the Actors Forum Theatre. Credit: Actors Forum Theatre.

PULLING LEATHER: 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET In its present stage, Pulling Leather is an engrossing work with a lot of high, compelling moments. It has intriguing characters, good realistic dialogue and a strong sense of what love ought to be. Considering that it’s Ryan’s first full length play, it is quite good and definitely worthy of your time. Don Grigware [...]

Brenda Banda, Sam Golari, Esperanza America Ibarra, Vicki Syal, and Aaron Garcia in "The Vault: (Unlocked)" at Los Angeles Theatre Center. Credit: Hector Cruz Salvador.

THE VAULT: UNLOCKED: 100% – SWEET

SWEET This show is full of music and laughs, but be warned that it’s also full of adult language and sexual content. So leave the kids at home, grab yourself a double chai latte and go. If you’re a hipster, you’ll laugh with them; if you’re not, you’ll laugh at them. But you will definitely [...]

dward Kiniry-Ostro, Terence Leclere, Johnny Dinan, and Ben Kurland in "Guided Consideration of a Lamentable Deed" at Club Fais Do Do. Credit: Need Theater).

GUIDED CONSIDERATION OF A LAMENTABLE DEED: 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Serving as an adventurous ensemble piece for Needtheater members, director Dylan Southard’s direction achieves galvanizing moments of sardonic humor. Yet the diffuse script ultimately seems nearly as dysfunctional as the main character’s psyche. Les Spindle – Backstage BITTERSWEET College graduation eve is a promising setup for a dark night of the soul, yet “Guided [...]