RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "bill raden"

MORRISON CHRISTMAS (ZOMBIE JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 100% - SWEET

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

SWEET And if Morrison Christmas sets out to recapitulate the death-rebirth cycle in its theatrical arc, its more profound achievement is to progressively remove the ironic quotation marks from its source material in what emerges as a rather touching and surprisingly sincere reaffirmation by the company of its venerable artistic roots. Bill Raden – Stage […]

A SILVER LINING: 80% - SWEET

A SILVER LINING: 80% – SWEET

SWEET Writers Matt Soson and Vika Stubblebine’s witty, 90-minute intellectual thrill ride takes its 12-member audiences down a harrowing narrative rabbit hole. The show satirizes the conventional tropes of immersive theater even as it expertly uses the immersion experience, along with a purposefully hackneyed, Dr. Who–like sci-fi plot to dramatically embody the coercive aspects of […]

COMPLETENESS (VS THEATRE): 90% - SWEET

COMPLETENESS (VS THEATRE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Itamar Moses’s Completeness is chockfull of discourse about protein processes and algorithmic probabilities, and if, like myself, you’re not of a scientific bent, you could drift off amidst the disquisition and the theory. Chances are you won’t, however. As directed by Matt Pfeiffer, VS. Theatre’s current production is so smart and the ensemble so […]

THIS IS BANNED: 72% - BITTERSWEET

THIS IS BANNED: 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Though directors Price and JR Esposito prove far more self-assured with sci-fi than horror, their ungainly staging of the latter cannot fully obscure Macher’s thought-provoking meditation on the fragile denial that enables humankind’s most destructive of impulses. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Playwright Samantha Macher has a poetic command of language. Her use […]

VILLA THRILLA: 50% - BITTER

VILLA THRILLA: 50% – BITTER

BITTERSWEET It’s a great premise, wonderful set, excellent actors but there is something missing. Maybe it’s the timing, perhaps the situation is too convoluted or maybe the dialog is not quite as funny in performance as it was thought to be at the table read. Jose Ruiz – Reviewplays BITTERSWEET This is a valiant effort […]

THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% - SWEET

THE DANCE OF DEATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 93% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The problem with his acting — and this pertains also to Angelo’s — is that it strives for a relaxed naturalness that often seems artificial. Instead of rising to meet Strindberg’s tragi-comic style, he opts to make his character appealingly relatable for contemporary theatergoers. Johnson is more successful at locating the playwright’s bracingly mercurial […]

FOREVER: 67% - BITTERSWEET

FOREVER: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET From a theatrical perspective, unmodulated rage works best in small doses; too much of it stuns the senses. Subtler moments, as when she confesses her dreams of marrying the Irish cop who was kind to her after her rape, can be more effective. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Forever concludes with the death […]

BANSHEE (THEATRE OF NOTE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

BANSHEE (THEATRE OF NOTE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The result – a blend of an old-fashioned ghost story and a kitchen sink family drama – has moments of real sweetness, intervals of flagrant family dysfunction and a minute or two of genuinely gut-wrenching horror. However, the missed opportunities in Petti’s play render its sum less than its parts. F. Kathleen Foley – […]

VOX LUMIERE - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 64% - BITTERSWEET

VOX LUMIERE – THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (LATC): 64% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Lon Chaney rocks out as this incredibly inventive rock opera experience brings sound to his seminal silent film. Staci Layne Wilson – Dread Central SWEET Vox’s version of the Phantom’s narrative is as provocative as it is genius. A literal coming-together of the main artistic mediums made available through modern technology. It is a […]

EQUIVOCATION (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 89% - SWEET

EQUIVOCATION (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 89% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET And while Peebler and his muscular ensemble prove expert at seductively selling Cain’s quasi-historical premise, his audience-flattering allusions and lively turns of phrase, it does not take long for the troubling hollowness masked by such glibness to make itself felt. Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the entire enterprise is Cain’s primary suspense device […]

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 […]

PSYCHE: A MODERN ROCK OPERA: 62% - BITTERSWEET

PSYCHE: A MODERN ROCK OPERA: 62% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Creator Cindy Shapiro has fashioned a vibrant and exciting rock-opera from this richly romantic source material, investing her book, music and lyrics with a magical blend of timeless antiquity combined with the contemporary. Pounding drums and haunting electric guitar riffs are underscored by mournful cello and sweet strains of violins. What the songs may […]

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Randall Arney deftly captures every nuance in the relationships and their unfolding. He keeps the comedy flowing, the realizations only gradually emerging. And he has assembled a terrific cast, knowing and expert. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA BITTERSWEET It isn’t a bad play, by any means. The set design is detailed and nails the […]

ECHO ONE ACTS 2014: 88% - SWEET

ECHO ONE ACTS 2014: 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I notice that I have used the pejorative “little” for some of these scripts, and not for others. There’s a reason. “As We Sleep” does not feel little, despite its short running time, because of its universal truths and earned laughs. The not-much-longer “General Sherman’s Hollow Body,” despite seeming unfinished, feels epic in its […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

I missed this gem from the incomparable Bill Raden from a while back cuz I was out of town. Well it’s still good. There are few writers who can say so much so well in such a short amount of time as Bill Raden. This is an example. WE WILL ROCK YOU Bill Raden – […]

WE WILL ROCK YOU (AHMANSON THEATRE): 45% - BITTER

WE WILL ROCK YOU (AHMANSON THEATRE): 45% – BITTER

BITTER But it’s not the lame plot that’s the problem here. (Nobody else knows what “Bohemian Rhapsody” is about either.) Rather, “We Will Rock You,” with a script by Ben Elton, feels like such an affront because it embodies so many of the qualities that Queen renounced. It’s shallow. It’s cynical. And it’s dumb, dumb, […]

PENELOPE (ROGUE MACHINE): 82% - SWEET

PENELOPE (ROGUE MACHINE): 82% – SWEET

SWEET John Perrin Flynn and Brenda Davidson’s production of Penelope is so vivid that it’s hard for me to imagine the play in any other presentation – even though I’ve recently seen another that had its own strengths. Flynn’s direction is unequivocal, authoritative. He finds the excitement and narrative drive carefully laid underneath Enda Walsh’s […]

LAND LINE: 92% - SWEET

LAND LINE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET And yet I thoroughly enjoyed the mood I was in after the play. Dramatic issues aside, for at least one member of the demographic at whom the Rabbit Hole-esque drama seems to aim, it’s a very pleasant reverie on familiar traumas. It’s like going home at a comfortable remove, so much so that I […]

Everyone's a Critic

Everyone’s a Critic

  The web site for which I am a critic, Stage and Cinema, has enjoyed a boom recently from which I am grateful to benefit. Not that I get paid; there are people who know how to work the internet for money, but we are not among them. There are a few advertising dollars but Tony […]

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 […]

SJALUSI/JEALOUSY: 67% - BITTERSWEET

SJALUSI/JEALOUSY: 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Suffice it to say that Norway’s Teater Manu has created a successful way to share Norwegian theatre by and for the deaf in an artful and interesting way. The actors bring new perspective to what the creative presentation of a play is all about. Michael Sheehan – OnStageLosAngeles BITTERSWEET There are some issues, though, […]

THE VORTEX (MATRIX RE-MOUNT): 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE VORTEX (MATRIX RE-MOUNT): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Judging by the pervasive silence during the performance, the rest of the audience apparently didn’t get what was being said, either. Whether it was the accents or the acoustics or the rushed, shrill delivery, the audience didn’t respond with much enthusiasm or amusement. But they gave the play a standing ovation at the end […]

Getting "Ritchie" has not Been the Antidote for LA Theater's Dire Circumstances

Getting “Ritchie” has not Been the Antidote for LA Theater’s Dire Circumstances

This according to the Elvis of LA Theater, Bill Raden, working it out over there at Stage Rows ala Stage Raw. Check out this forward thrust: Here in Los Angeles, for example, where there is consensus only that things couldn’t be more dire, the powers at CTG apparently decided that L.A. theater’s most alarming symptoms […]

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% - SWEET

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Clark is smart to envision a near-future, fear-based world that’s taken its cue from the chilling rash of school shootings that have occurred over the past decade or so—even if Quinn, the loner who befriends Lucy, is a little predictable in his black trench coat and military boots. The current-topicality of it engages. And […]

On the "Impressive Carving of Second Nether Orifices": A Response to Bill Raden of Stage Rows

On the “Impressive Carving of Second Nether Orifices”: A Response to Bill Raden of Stage Rows

Firstly, thanks for the mention Bill! At least I know you’re paying attention… The always astute though sometimes mis-guided Elvis Presley of LA Theater, Bill Raden, somehow comes to the following conclusion about a recent online debate here at the Lemon: And while it sounds to us as if Colin may be eying a spot […]

TARTUFFE (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 67% - BITTERSWEET

TARTUFFE (THEATRE UNLEASHED): 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Under the focused direction of Jeff Soroka, the superb cast relishes the material without ridiculing it. The hijinks that follow are treated with a sharpness that the script demands. Christine Palau – NoHoArtsDistrict BITTERSWEET Helmer Jeff Soroka, working from the 2002 translation by British-born Ranjit Bolt, marshals a 10-member ensemble through the machinations of […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“Rather than 3½ weeks, Five Small Fires has been in gestation for three full years. In terms of its process and artistic ambition, the distance from the Bootleg to the Mark Taper Forum on this day is not one of miles but light-years.” Bill Raden – LA Weekly

CARMILLA (ZOMBIES JOE'S UNDERGROUND): 90% - SWEET

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 […]

HENRY V (PORTERS OF HELLSGATE): 83% - SWEET

HENRY V (PORTERS OF HELLSGATE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET At worst, Shakespeare can bore a roomful of kids to disruption, texting and gossiping and running in the aisles. But the Porters held a predominantly female, under-18 audience in the palm of its hand for two and a half hours at its Henry V opening on Saturday. This, not in the seasoned second week […]