RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "beverly cohn"

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 84% - SWEET

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 84% – SWEET

SWEET Indeed, the empathy, showmanship and craft on tap may just be the best match of historical figure and performing artist yet in this franchise, wholly attuned to a gratefully participating audience. Those who resist Felder or Berlin are advised to skip this one — it’ll just leave more tickets for the rest of us. […]

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 […]

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, what makes this harrowing “Trip” endurable, even uplifting, is Carrie’s hard-won humor and wisdom, and the peace she is able to make with her own unhappiness before she is caught and marched back to Houston. “There are worse things,” she dryly retorts when the sheriff reflects on her childhood friend’s “lonely death alone […]

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 […]

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

IN A DARK DARK HOUSE (MATRIX THEATRE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This production of In a Dark Dark House is theatre at its best! Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld SWEET “Dark House”‘s gripping two hours at the Matrix benefits from clear visual realization and the all-pro cast’s confident navigation of the play’s language, ideas and emotions. Debra Levine – Arts Meme BITTERSWEET The play is way […]

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% - SWEET

BROADWAY BOUND (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Director Jason Alexander, who originated the role of Stanley in the Broadway premiere, imparts his command of the material into an attentively drilled cast. Despite limited rehearsal time, the actors have become comfortable enough to dredge shaded subtext from their roles, which is impressive especially under the close scrutiny of an audience shoved smack […]

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 […]

THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% - SWEET

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET Diane Paulus’ direction of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” is mesmerizing. It features a cast of strong actors, abundant laughs amidst serious moments, and some of the most beautiful vocals this side of Broadway. Get a chance to see this show while it’s in town. Molly Quinlan – Neon Tommy SWEET Paulus’ creation, as […]

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 […]

THE MEMORANDUM (SANTA MONICA REP): 81% - SWEET

THE MEMORANDUM (SANTA MONICA REP): 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Staging this play was no easy task for Santa Monica Rep’s Director Jan Bloom, who has chosen to present it with the audience seated on either side, like at a tennis match (set by T. Cavelti). This presents multiple problems of visibility and audibility, when the actors’ faces are not in full view and […]

BRIEF ENCOUNTER (THE WALLIS): 90% - SWEET

BRIEF ENCOUNTER (THE WALLIS): 90% – SWEET

SWEET It’s an absolutely beguiling production, psychologically simple but stylistically as rich as a tapestry. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET If you love the movie (and what emotionally sentient human being doesn’t?), you’ll surely get a kick out of Kneehigh’s ingenious homage. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET While it’s all a bit […]

THE WHIPPING MAN (PICO PLAYHOUSE): 91% - SWEET

THE WHIPPING MAN (PICO PLAYHOUSE): 91% – SWEET

SWEET Buoyed by an excellent production design, particularly Bill Froggatt’s haunting sound, director Howard Teichman and a crackling cast render a near-optimum staging. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET This Matthew Lopez play would have made a fascinating two-hander. But the playwright added a third character and ratcheted up the intrigue, conflict, and shaping, […]

I'LL GO ON (KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

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 […]

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: TWIST YOUR DICKENS! (KIRK DOUGLAS): 86% - SWEET

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: TWIST YOUR DICKENS! (KIRK DOUGLAS): 86% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET As irresponsible as it may be to encourage drinking at this time of year, you are more likely to enjoy “A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens!” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre if you toss back a few Tiny Tim-tinis or Scroogedrivers at the lobby bar beforehand. And not because your “naughtiest misdeed” — which […]

TRACERS (ROGUE MACHINE/USVAA): 100% - SWEET

TRACERS (ROGUE MACHINE/USVAA): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Thirty years on, war is still hell — and DiFusco and a new ensemble, all veterans of more recent wars and military actions, have reprised the work in a powerful new production that’s every bit as harrowing as the original. Paul Birchall – LA Weekly SWEET Switching from the war to a period just […]

LOST GIRLS: 87% - SWEET

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 […]

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN: 84% - SWEET

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, […]

EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA (RUSKIN GROUP): 96% - SWEET

EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA (RUSKIN GROUP): 96% – SWEET

SWEET In past productions, “El Grande” ran a leisurely two acts – a daunting amount of time to sustain such silliness. The updated, one-act Ruskin production, which features a raft of new comic material, runs a breezy 75 minutes – and the comic momentum never flags. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET If you’re […]

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI...: 100% - SWEET

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nonetheless, the vivid humor, ironic reversals and the larger implications hold us, right through to the bittersweet fade-out. Director Carl Cofield keeps things tautly entertaining on designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s excellent set, and his actors (with alternates), who express rather than mimic their real-life counterparts, are first-rate. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET […]

I'M NOT RAPPAPORT (WEST COAST JEWISH THEATRE): 92% - SWEET

I’M NOT RAPPAPORT (WEST COAST JEWISH THEATRE): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The play, like its central characters, was showing its age. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET In a tribute both to Herb Gardner’s brilliant play which, through his comically sharp dialogue, explores a myriad of social issues, especially the challenge of aging and dodging adult children who think they have your best interests […]

THE GIFT: 55% - BITTERSWEET

THE GIFT: 55% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER An appealing and capable cast keeps the flicker of hope alive that Joanna Murray-Smith’s play “The Gift” will be worth our time despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. But by the end of this 90-minute comedy even the actors seem done in by the effort of sustaining the illusion that there’s something important […]

CONEY ISLAND CHRISTMAS: 79% - SWEET

CONEY ISLAND CHRISTMAS: 79% – SWEET

SWEET As with many gifts, the wrapping isn’t much to speak of, in this case a weak framing narrative taken from a Grace Paley short story. But what’s inside – not one but two kid pageants superbly staged by Bart DeLorenzo, and a pan-denominational message – is a jewel to be cherished. Bob Verini – […]

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK: 73% - BITTERSWEET

BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK: 73% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” would rather be antic than preachy. This is a reasonable if not an entirely necessary trade-off. But Lathan fills out the human dimension of a character Nottage clearly loves too much to weep over. Charles McNulty – LA Times BITTERSWEET The evening at the Geffen is overall something […]

COLLECTED STORIES (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 82% - SWEET

COLLECTED STORIES (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET The lives of writers are notoriously difficult to dramatize, but Margulies pulls it off persuasively, showing the two women at work, which leads to their growing intimacy. Director Terri Hanauer elicits fine performances from her cast and expertly calibrates the shifts in the women’s ever-changing relationship. Neal Weaver – Backstage SWEET Directed by Terri […]

SWEET THURSDAY (PACIFIC RESIDENT): 29% - BITTER

SWEET THURSDAY (PACIFIC RESIDENT): 29% – BITTER

BITTER What results is an attenuated hodge-podge with scene after scene — including several inadequately rendered musical numbers — that do little to further the action. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Robb Derringer and Matt McKenzie (who also directs) have beautifully adapted novelist John Steinbeck’s sequel to Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, into a […]

MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION: 70% - BITTERSWEET

MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION: 70% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The cast members are clearly enjoying themselves, but with a fair number of duds among the verbal warheads, hilarity is not always mutually assured. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET If a play is going to traffic in cartoons, as this one does, they really need to keep bouncing off the walls — so […]

THE IRISH CURSE: 85% - SWEET

THE IRISH CURSE: 85% – SWEET

SWEET “Curse” may be a play about insecurity, but director Andrew Barnicle’s staging has real confidence; tonally, it’s near faultless. The interplay among the men is fast and funny, with Pacheco quietly anchoring the outsized performances of his secular mates. Charlotte Stoudt – LA Times BITTERSWEET Casella’s an assured writer, and the piece gets a […]

SIDEWAYS: THE PLAY: 92% - SWEET

SIDEWAYS: THE PLAY: 92% – SWEET

SWEET Adapted by Rex Pickett from his novel (which also spawned the 2004 hit movie), their oenophilial odyssey makes an enjoyable if at times leisurely debut in its stage incarnation at Ruskin Group Theatre. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET In this intimate world premiere, we have a fun time swilling with the errant boys […]

THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE: 94% - SWEET

THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE: 94% – SWEET

SWEET That’s par for the course of the rarefied ability and captivating story that Golabek shares with us. It makes her unforgettable tribute an undiluted privilege to witness. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET The Pianist of Willesden Lane features world-class piano playing, a moving story, a performer who has mastered the art of […]

THE CONVERT: 89% - SWEET

THE CONVERT: 89% – SWEET

SWEET The devastating clash between Western culture and religion and African tradition and spirituality is at the heart of this masterful new work. Director Emily Mann has mounted a production that’s as compelling as it is gorgeous. Jennie Webb – Backstage SWEET Brought to life by Emily Mann’s subtle direction, a splendid set by Daniel […]