RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "bill raden"

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 81% - SWEET

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 81% – SWEET

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, […]

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 […]

BILL & JOAN: 83% - SWEET

BILL & JOAN: 83% – SWEET

SWEET This scorching drama is not for the faint of heart, but for those who prefer their live theater edgy, imaginative, and adventurous – a Sacred Fools house specialty. Ed Rampell – Peoples World SWEET Sacred Fools entertains the audience with a stellar production of Bill and Joan, a glimpse into the life of William […]

FIREMEN: 93% - SWEET

FIREMEN: 93% – SWEET

SWEET Director Chris Fields’ stylishly sleight-of-hand staging (eloquently accented by Matt Richter’s dynamic lights) and a disarmingly appealing ensemble (including Amanda Saunders and Zach Callison) strike just the right balance between uneasy laughter and unpalatable titillation to drive home Smith’s unsettling portrait of a society whose most endangered species may be the moral and emotional […]

THE MYSTERY PLAYS (VISCERAL COMPANY): 92% - SWEET

THE MYSTERY PLAYS (VISCERAL COMPANY): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Leave it to horror specialists the Visceral Company to concoct the perfect corrective to the season’s saccharine tide of Christmas stage fare with director Christopher Basile’s deftly mounted, minimalist revival (skillfully accented by Ric Zimmerman’s low-key lighting) of playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s arresting duet of haunting — and haunted — one-acts. Bill Raden – LA […]

TWELVE ANGRY MEN (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 81% - SWEET

TWELVE ANGRY MEN (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Artistically speaking, “12 Angry Men” is a relatively safe choice, guaranteed to appeal to theatergoers who appreciate comfortable familiarity and an edifying moral tone. Epps injects some risk by making his production about racial bias, but I wish he and his theater were more ambitious. The play is too blunt an instrument for a […]

THE BLACK SUITS: 54% - BITTERSWEET

THE BLACK SUITS: 54% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This world premiere musical, now at Kirk Douglas Theatre, manages to get plenty of new wine into very old, if not downright dusty, bottles. The saga of the making of the eponymous garage band soars despite a paper-thin, clichéd plot; derivative character types; and QED themes of friendship and youthful dream-making. What gets it […]

EXIT THE KING (NOHO ACTORS STUDIO): 80% - SWEET

EXIT THE KING (NOHO ACTORS STUDIO): 80% – SWEET

SWEET This production is outstanding. Director Pat Towne is keen on maximizing the talent of each of the actors. The pacing and performance exceed the script, which does at times embrace the absurd. A story that explores the boundaries of existentialism without divulging in didactics can be tricky. But they pull it off. Long live […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

There just aren’t many theater critics – if any – better than LA Weekly’s Bill Raden who can say so much in such a short amount of time. 160 words and I feel as if I know everything I need to know about this production. And he does it week in and week out. I […]

THE INTERVIEW: 75% - BITTERSWEET

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 […]

THE GUARDSMAN (A NOISE WITHIN): 85% - SWEET

THE GUARDSMAN (A NOISE WITHIN): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Toss in a seamless supporting ensemble and first-rate production values, and you couldn’t ask for a finer example of how captivating and downright fun live theater can be. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET Unfortunately, director Michael Michetti’s otherwise handsome revival (on Tom Buderwitz’s elegant set and under Adam Frank’s bravura lighting) can’t quite […]

THE LIGHT BULB: 60% - BITTERSWEET

THE LIGHT BULB: 60% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET The NoHo Arts Center Ensemble scores another hit with the world premiere of “The Light Bulb.” The talented cast gives full life to the smart, witty and cohesive dialogue written by Joshua Ravetch (previously seen last year at the NoHo Arts with his other hit and world premiere “One November Yankee”). Artistic Director James […]

MARILYN...MADNESS & ME: 80% - SWEET

MARILYN…MADNESS & ME: 80% – SWEET

SWEET A hypnotically unique evening of theater … I was mesmerized from start to finish! In a two character play … Marilyn Monroe and a man whose life she touched deeply, we are privy to a most personal and moving story. Pat Taylor – Tolucan Times SWEET Let your imagination take flight and visit the […]

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? (SACRED FOOLS): 67% - BITTERSWEET

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? (SACRED FOOLS): 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER As dull as its premise is exciting, Jaime Robledo’s production of Edward Einhorn’s 2010 play, adapted from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, could not be further divorced from its source. The novel is a philosophical visit to the defining boundaries of human nature, and (like most of Mr. Dick’s […]

THE POKEMUSICAL (THEATRE ASYLUM): 87% - SWEET

THE POKEMUSICAL (THEATRE ASYLUM): 87% – SWEET

SWEET While “The Pokemusical” takes plenty of artistic liberty with the Japanese franchise, twisting wholesome characters, like Ash’s mom, into a busty, chain-smoking boozehound, and Ash into a power hungry zealot, there’s a level of charming authenticity that remains constant through the performance. Shane Scott – EdgeLosAngeles BITTERSWEET I’ve sat through more than a few […]

A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY (COEURAGE THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER The friends are a motley crew, badly directed by Jeremy Lelliott, and none of them is a good enough actor to engender any empathy—or connection—with the audience. Cynthia Citron – Cynthia Citron SWEET Director Jeremy Lelliott works wonders with Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, turning a play that in other hands might […]