RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "anthony byrnes"

Ivanno Jeremiah, left, and Nonhlanhla Kheswa in "The Suit" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Photo: Pascal Victor, ArtComArt.

THE SUIT (FREUD PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Three years ago, also with the help of Estienne and Krawczyk, Brook reduced Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” down to its ritualistic essences, removing the magic and retaining the humanity. In the “The Suit,” however, the horrors won’t go away. But by making theater, music and dance inseparably one, Brook’s art reaches that cleansing Bachian [...]

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Broad Stage. Photo: Simon Annand.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (BROAD STAGE): 80% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Still, the production, by War Horse director Tom Morris, is surprisingly uninvolving. The main quartet of lovers and their foibles feel too separate from the puppet business, a big reason that the puppets’ theatricality doesn’t translate into emotional heft. Zachary Pincus-Roth – LA Weekly SWEET Nonetheless, this inventive production will send you home with [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Wooster Group presents "Cry, Trojans!" at REDCAT. Photo: Steven Gunther.

CRY, TROJANS! (TROILUS AND CRESSIDA): 55% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The result is an uncharacteristically tame production, one that left me time to ponder the awkward politics of an overwhelmingly white ensemble horsing around with cultural caricatures of race. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET Still and all, though the monotony of its stubborn deviations from conventional dramaturgy demands hard effort from the audience [...]

Peggy Ann Blow, Kevin Weisman, Carl J. Johnson, and Alana Dietze in "Villon" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo by Miki Turner.

VILLON: 70% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A play about a murderous French poet, told by a troupe of vaudevillian-style actors, seems it would be enough to spark some interest in an audience, but unfortunately Murray Mednick’s “Villon” falls seriously flat in its execution. Savannah L. Barker – Neon Tommy SWEET Like Villon’s troupe, these actors make sturdy, faithful companions to [...]

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE: 84% – SWEET

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE: 84% – SWEET

SWEET The show, directed by David Hyde Pierce following Nicholas Martin’s Broadway staging, opened at the Mark Taper Forum on Sunday in tiptop shape. Indeed, you can mark this down as a shimmering example of an out-of-town production improving the touted original. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET An actor must deliver in the here [...]

The cast of "Passion Play" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo: Enci.

PASSION PLAY (ODYSSEY/EVIDENCE ROOM): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If, like me, you’re a fan of the Evidence Room, go to enjoy the familiar faces. Otherwise enjoy the small stuff and forgive the production for not tying everything up. Anthony Byrnes – KCRW BITTERSWEET Despite their many strengths, I found parts one and two curiously uninvolving. It wasn’t until Ruhl came closer to [...]

Denis O'Hare in "An Illiad" at the Broad Stage. Photo: Lawrence K. Ho.

AN ILIAD (BROAD STAGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET If you’re not already convinced that this is a show you miss at your own peril — Mr. O’Hare’s performance is an hour and 40 minute tour de force. Without giving away too much — he even makes sense out of Homer’s litanies — delivering the poignant reminder that what we’d like to think [...]

Barry McGovern in “I’ll Go On” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

I’LL GO ON (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This performance is as fine as any performance can be. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET McGovern has all the qualities of a superb Beckett interpreter. He relishes the comic brio even at its most scatological and possesses a voice that can draw out all the various hues of the verbal brilliance. Vehemence [...]

24th Street Theatre, Los Angeles

Anthony Byrnes on “Staying Local” to Los Angeles Theater

Though I found this to be an interesting offering from A-Burn over at his KCRW site  - and I’m pretty sure I know what he’s TRYING to say – I’m still not exactly sure he’s clearly made the point I THINK he was TRYING to make. How’s that for a labyrinthian opening? He’s pivoting off of [...]

Anthony Byrnes, KCRW Theater Critic

KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes’ Best of Los Angeles Theater 2013

The lists keep on rolling out! The latest is from the always insightful Anthony Byrnes of KCRW – or as I like to affectionately call him A-Burn – he’s taken a more abstract way, listing a mixture of trends, events and shows to form his final concoction. Definitely give it a read if you can [...]

The cast of "Peter and the Starcatcher" at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo: Terry Shapiro.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (AHMANSON): 77% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If, in the first act, the wit varies so vertiginously that it flirts with the tiresome, then in a deliriously delicious opening musical number of the second act, the entire cast sings and dances in delectable drag as fish mutated by the pollution of the ocean with starstuff into cross-dressing mermaids. This sort of [...]

The cast of "Parfumerie" at the Wallis Annenberg theater in Beverly Hills. Photo: Jim Cox.

PARFUMERIE (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 80% – SWEET

SWEET That said, the crisply assured performances, and Brokaw’s clockwork pacing, give the text its best possible production, though we sometimes sense we’re seeing a show that doesn’t have much faith in the possibility of multi-dimensional psychology. Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema SWEET Don’t get me wrong: “Parfumerie” is entertaining and a great choice [...]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

A-Burn goes against the grain with nuance and smarts and keeps the conversation going. PLAY DEAD Anthony Byrnes – KCRW It’s tempting to think that magic is about the trick. Whether it’s pulling a quarter out of your ear or a bunny out of a hat, it’s easy to think it’s about the quarter or [...]

Todd Robbins in "Play Dead" at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo: Michael Lamont.

PLAY DEAD: 97% – SWEET

SWEET The illusions themselves vary in impressiveness. Maybe not all will blow your mind. It won’t matter. The dark, the gore, the morbid anecdotes — and that eye-twinkle — will put you into a state of nervous excitement like nothing since pre-teen slumber parties. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET In “Play Dead,” there is [...]

The ensemble of "Titus Andronicus: A Vaudeville" at the Stella Adler Theatre Lab. Photo: Julio J. Vargas.

TITUS ANDRONICUS: A VAUDEVILLE (STELLA ADLER LAB THEATRE): 17% – BITTER

BITTER Very little about Shakespeare’s blood-soaked earliest tragedy lends itself to reimagining the play as an old-time variety show, and lacking the ingenuity to make the concept work Stella Adler Theatre Lab’s “Titus Andronicus: A Vaudeville” is an overreach so ill-advised it seems to have been guided by some planet in retrograde. Philip Brandes – [...]

GIDION’S KNOT: 100% – SWEET

GIDION’S KNOT: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nothing would work in this perilously tricky play without the utter commitment and attentive shading brought to the roles by these two contrastingly arresting performers. Cale Lisbe (five seasons as Joanie Hansen on Providence) and Martin (a founding member of The Furious) are riveting, supplying utmost conviction even when the character development may be [...]

Justin Davanzo, left, Kristin Drager and Jeffrey Gardner in "Moskva" at City Garage. Photo: Paul Rubenstein.

MOSKVA: 90% – SWEET

SWEET I have a suspicion that if I were more steeped in the original text and the Russia of the last several decades, I would be equally moved by the rest of the play. If you’ve got the keys to those kingdoms this play will speak to you. If you don’t, buckle up: it’s a [...]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

These are the types of reviews that sometimes transcend their own medium. When critics have the ability to see these types of connections between the art, the artists and the culture within which they work and then communicate that type of vision, they become artists themselves and should not only be applauded, but should be [...]

Another Saturday Saying

Another Saturday Saying

‘”Invisible Cities” stumbles upon an ironic and unfortunately apt metaphor for Los Angeles: here are the privileged elite wandering around a historic relic, oddly cut off from one another by technology, searching for the center of the invisible city that surrounds them.’ Anthony Byrnes – from his review of “Invisible Cites” at Union Station (KCRW)

"Invisible Cities" at Union Station. Photo: Dana Ross.

INVISIBLE CITIES: 100% – SWEET

SWEET It would not have, thus, been hard for Sharon’s herculean act of coordination and inventive production to overwhelm a delicate and beautiful opera. Importantly, it didn’t. Somehow, even the performance, conducted by Marc Lowenstein, remained sensitive in so intimidating a performance space. Mark Swed – LA Times SWEET The happening itself, however, is far [...]

Jacqueline King, left, Marshall McCabe and Melissa Sullivan in "The Interview" at Studio/Stage. Photo: Steven Gunther.

THE INTERVIEW: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Overall the smart drama entertains: Wyenn fosters an understated style that softens the spikier plot developments, and the performances, particularly Sullivan’s, engage even when they don’t entirely convince. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTER In breaking the unity of both time and place, Ms. Josephs inadvertently hijacks her own play. After the third or [...]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I liked this call to action review of Radar LA From Anthony. As usual there’s a clear voice in Anthony’s reviews – which probably has to do with the fact that they are written to be read out loud – and I think many critics can learn from this. Write it as if you were [...]

Anna Theoni DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki in Rogue Machine's production of "Lost Girls." Photo: John Flynn.

LOST GIRLS: 87% – SWEET

SWEET But it was Anna Theoni DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki (yes, the child star of “Jerry Maguire” fame has grown into a gifted actor) who broke my heart as young adults on the lam. Seeing the two bravely reach beyond their wounds toward an indelible moment of genuine intimacy more than makes up for the [...]

Ron Cephas Jones and Mirjana Jokovic in "Prometheus Bound" at the Getty Villa. Photo: Craig Schwartz, Getty Villa.

PROMETHIUS BOUND (GETTY VILLA): 94% – SWEET

SWEET The vision of director Travis Preston makes the most of this thought-provoking material and the environmental possibilities of the venue and the design. No thread of argument is scanted, yet the movement and diction of the players remains lucid and forceful: this is a deeply considered rendering, without obfuscation or vague passages, its gestures [...]

Amy Brenneman and Lee Tergessen in "Rapture, Blister, Burn" at the Geffen Playhouse. Photo:

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN: 84% – SWEET

SWEET The chorus of female voices, from the pre-feminist Alice to the post-post-feminist Avery, allows for a multigenerational examination of a subject that is too important to treat in a doctrinaire manner. And it is this freedom of expression, comically maximized by Kull (who steals every scene that she’s in) and crackingly delivered by Dixon, [...]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I dunno, Anthony just keeps catching my eye lately. Maybe it’s because his critiques are meant to be read and heard – kinda like poetry – they just jump off the page. This one especially has a nice flow to it and is this week’s COW. For good reasons. And one again it’s an interesting [...]

John Szura & Robert Paterno in "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at the Hudson Backstage. Photo courtesy of Breedlove Productions.

THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (HUDSON BACKSTAGE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Behind the humor, the banter, the over emoting and the seemingly light hearted mood there is a very powerful story lurking here. Some actors had double and triple roles and even then we counted about seventeen actors. This is where director Josh T. Ryan displays his unparalleled genius, not just keeping chaos from taking [...]

Kat Johnston in “Opheliamachine.” Photo by Paul M. Rubenstein.

Critique of the Week – Runner Up

Anthony once again attacks a challenging play from a unique perspective and creates an excellent critique. A great example for all critics to follow, find your way in and then run with it. OPHELIAMACHINE Anthony Byrnes – KCRW Remember the last time you learned another language? Think about everything that’s necessary to communicate in another’s [...]