RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "anthony byrnes"

NEVER GIVIN' UP: 83% - SWEET

NEVER GIVIN’ UP: 83% – SWEET

SWEET “Never Givin’ Up” gathers us into a civic body to contemplate these subjects from a human-centered point of view. This is what the theater, even in an artistically relaxed mode, can uniquely offer. King, citing theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, cautioned that “groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.” But audiences look to the stage […]

THE BREAK OF NOON (CITY GARAGE): 58% - BITTERSWEET

THE BREAK OF NOON (CITY GARAGE): 58% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The challenge with The Break of Noon is that after nearly two and half hours, I wasn’t sure what all that button pushing added up to. This being a City Garage production, the aesthetic is clean and for the most part uncluttered. The text is clear, the acting solid, and there’s a lot to […]

KCRW's Anthony Byrnes on the Importance of the Stage Raw Awards Last Night: "There is a tantalizing sense that through adversity, this community might finally be finding it's collective voice."

KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes on the Importance of the Stage Raw Awards Last Night: “There is a tantalizing sense that through adversity, this community might finally be finding it’s collective voice.”

Good stuff from A-Burn. Shit I’ve been saying this since the whole damn thing began. Ultimately, the landscape will be changed, but the Los Angeles Theater Community will be stronger, more unified, more organized and will, hopefully, finally, embrace its own identity as a force in American Theater, enmasse. Hey, adolescence is hard, but if […]

TREVOR: 97% - SWEET

TREVOR: 97% – 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 […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

Some more good stuff from A-Burn, including some deserved criticism for a company still coming into its own, as well as some well-deserved praise for a company on the cusp of greatness. THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY Anthony Byrnes – KCRW When’s the last time you were excited to go to the theater? When the […]

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 […]

CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

CALIFORNIA, THE TEMPEST (CORNERSTONE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET While the community members themselves probably appreciate these efforts, these dutiful digressions hardly enhance the overall experience for the general audience member. I’ve seen previous “bridge” shows in which Cornerstone integrated the disparate elements much more smoothly, but perhaps the fact that these particular components come from 10 locales within such a large state […]

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 […]

DISCONNECTION: 71% - BITTERSWEET

DISCONNECTION: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET In a riveting two-hour performance, the devastating effects of cult and thought-control groups is brought to life in Allen Barton’s production, “Disconnection.” Based on true events, and performed by a cast of six remarkable, convincing actors, the production is a powerful indictment of the dark side of dedication to a Church, its doctrines and […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

A-Burn has always said he wants his critiques to be “conversation starters not conversation enders.” Case in point, this week’s COW. A wonderful treat of provocative questions and subtle insights. THE WHIPPING MAN Anthony Bynres – KCRW The Whipping Man, Matthew Lopez’s new play, depends on a big historical conceit. It’s a bit like a […]

VIRAL: 92% - SWEET

VIRAL: 92% – SWEET

SWEET What’s more shocking than the setup is that Viral largely pulls it off. Playwright Mac Rogers has an ear for the worlds he’s trafficking in and as bizarre as the premise seems you’re willing to go along for the ride. The world we find ourselves in isn’t that distant – especially in LA. The […]

Anthony Byrnes' Favorites of Los Angeles Theater 2014

Anthony Byrnes’ Favorites of Los Angeles Theater 2014

A-Burn lays down the highlights for him in 2014. Here are the productions he really dug: An Illiad (The Broad) Reasons to Be Pretty (Geffen) Choir Boy (Geffen) Orpheus (Four Larks) Five Small Fires (Poor Dog Group) Henry V (PRT) Wedding Band: A Love-Hate Story in Black and White (Antaeus) Better (Echo Theatre Backyard (Echo […]

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 82% - SWEET

BLITHE SPIRIT (AHMANSON THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET Coward’s work enables virtuosos who possess technique that’s as polished as it is effortless to reach new heights. Lansbury might as well be flying across the Ahmanson stage. Seeing her in “Blithe Spirit” is as joyful as staring at a Christmas tree being decorated by birds and elves. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

LUNA GALE (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

LUNA GALE (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET But just as the critic Eric Bentley cautioned us when approaching Henrik Ibsen’s plays to “look for the ideas behind the ideas,” it’s important with Gilman to examine the deeper investigation lurking behind the more topical concerns of her dramas. This is especially the case with her latest work “Luna Gale,” which is currently […]

A-Burn asks CTG's Ritchie: "Why do this play in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum in 2014?"

A-Burn asks CTG’s Ritchie: “Why do this play in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum in 2014?”

What exactly am I talking about? The current production of Joe Orton’s seminal What the Butler Saw currently playing at the Mark Taper Forum. Anthony Byrnes at KCRW wants to know “Why this show and why now?” I have a pretty simple answer for Anthony: It’s a tried and true commodity and a “my bad” gift […]

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% - SWEET

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (MARK TAPER): 82% – SWEET

SWEET “What the Butler Saw” represents Orton at his most sophisticatedly silly. It’s a play bursting with references to other plays, including even one of the greatest tragedies ever written, Euripides’ “The Bacchae.” Sad as it is to reflect on what this author might have gone on to accomplish had he not been cut down […]

Can Homegrown LA Theater Learn from those "Presenting" Houses Around Town?

Can Homegrown LA Theater Learn from those “Presenting” Houses Around Town?

Anthony Byrnes thinks so. This, from his somewhat disorienting diatribe this week at KCRW: So what can LA theaters and audiences learn from the rise of the imports and the slow transformation of LA into a ‘presenting town?’ In a nutshell, consistency matters. Counterintuitively, these presenters have been committing to artists in ways that our […]

KCRW's Anthony Byrnes Tries to Distill the 99 Seat Plan Debate Down to a Scam...and Fails

KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes Tries to Distill the 99 Seat Plan Debate Down to a Scam…and Fails

I’m a big A-Burn fan. He’s great at mining metaphors from the theater he sees and clearly he’s a very savvy and experienced critic when it comes to LA Theater. His conversation starters are usually excellent fodder for discussion and debate. Usually. Don’t always agree with his tastes in theater, but then again, who DOES agree with […]

WEDDING BAND: A LOVE/HATE STORY IN BLACK & WHITE (ANTAEUS): 92% - SWEET

WEDDING BAND: A LOVE/HATE STORY IN BLACK & WHITE (ANTAEUS): 92% – SWEET

SWEET This rarely produced revival delivers a blistering indictment of the South’s anti-miscegenation laws against the backdrop of a deeply moving portrait of urban black life in the early 20th century. Directed by Gregg T. Daniel, the double-cast production now playing at the Antaeus Company offers some of the finest ensemble acting currently onstage (the […]

BETTER: 83% - SWEET

BETTER: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Stephen Gifford’s beautifully executed set with subtle lighting by R. Christopher Stokes creates the perfect atmosphere for the story to unfold. Goldberg’s ability to bring these three dimensional characters to life: emerging through twenty months of workshopping by The Echo pays off. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles SWEET Fresh and funny and touching and wise, […]

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

CHOIR BOY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

BITTER Tarell Alvin McCraney’s 2012 Choir Boy is a tantalizing, underdeveloped play-with-music not entirely improved by Trip Cullman’s direction, now at the Geffen a year after the production’s Manhattan Theater Club bow. Jason Michael Webb’s tasteful vocal arrangements sound terrific via Fitz Patton’s crisp sound design, but the very assurance and gravity of the “negro […]

THE BEHAVIOR OF BROADUS: 100% - SWEET

THE BEHAVIOR OF BROADUS: 100% – SWEET

SWEET As delightfully self-assured as it is comically self-referential, made up of equal parts whimsy, wacky, profane and profound, this cracked experiment in satirical musical development is a wickedly entertaining watershed for Sacred Fools Theater Company, the Burglars of Hamm, Center Theatre Group and the general theatrical landscape. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET […]

THE TEMPEST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% - SWEET

THE TEMPEST (SOUTH COAST REP): 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I wish I could report that the acting was equal to the scenic imagination. This still strikes me as a production that doesn’t have all that much faith in Shakespeare’s ability to captivate a modern audience. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET To avoid being the one person in your circle not to have […]

PERSIANS (GETTY VILLA): 78% - SWEET

PERSIANS (GETTY VILLA): 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Twice or three times in ninety minutes, arresting images are allowed to loiter unto dissipation. There is less of permanence in this production than of stasis. Perhaps its primary historical draw is the chance to experience what theater was like in Brooklyn in 1994. Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema BITTERSWEET In general, the […]

KCRW's Anthony Byrnes on the Economic Realities of LA's 99 Seat Plan

KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes on the Economic Realities of LA’s 99 Seat Plan

More Sturm und Drang on that old 99 Seat Plan, this time from T-Burn over at KCRW. Here’s the meat of his matter: What’s missing from this dialogue is the broader point and economic reality – all non-profit theater is subsidized. There isn’t a non-profit theater in Los Angeles, from the largest to the smallest, where […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

A-Burn at his best. An authentically “Los Angeles” voice no doubt. Not many can draw out the metaphors between stage and city better than this dude. HIT Anthony Byrnes – KCRW Okay – there’s Zankou Chicken falling from the ceiling, there’s sex after a car crash, there’s Cafe Tropical, continual comparisons to New York, and […]

HIT: 80% - SWEET

HIT: 80% – SWEET

BITTER The new play Hit by Alice Tuan, currently playing Los Angeles Theatre Center, unevenly shifts from hard-hitting drama to black comedy to avant-garde theater yet never makes clear its intentions. And though the actors are skilled professionals, they are not able to make the script’s unlikable characters relatable. Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania BITTERSWEET Still, […]

DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: 75% - BITTERSWEET

DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It is smart, suspenseful, surprising, downright sensational writing, and with DeLorenzo in the director’s chair and a superb cast giving it added layers and depth, it makes for a play and production I could easily see again and again. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Early on, the jokes and exposition feel a bit sitcom-y […]

DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING: 75% - BITTERSWEET

DIFFERENT WORDS FOR THE SAME THING: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET In the case of “different words,” the ghost finally learns, as part of the climax, exactly how she died. Unfortunately, this is the weakest moment of an otherwise fine-grained play, because the explanation introduces a complicated subplot — briefly sketched only in words, not in action — that doesn’t seem to have much relevance […]

MAN IN A CASE (BROAD STAGE): 56% - BITTERSWEET

MAN IN A CASE (BROAD STAGE): 56% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Instead, Lazar and his cohorts have kicked Chekhov aside and substituted their own sensibilities for his. Subtle realism has been replaced by vaudeville shtick. In other words, the director has declared himself superior to the lonely Greek teacher in a small Russian town. Clad in a black suit and porkpie hat, Baryshnikov channels Buster […]