RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "carol kaufman segal"

THIEVES: 67% - BITTERSWEET

THIEVES: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Despite acting up a gale-force storm, the ensemble is finally unable to lift Miller’s language and situations from the earthbound and mundane into something more satisfyingly mythic. Director Daniel Talbott contributes some entertaining flourishes, but his penchant for chewed scenery proves a disservice to all. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Family relationships don’t […]

HENRY IV, PART ONE (ANTAEUS): 85% - SWEET

HENRY IV, PART ONE (ANTAEUS): 85% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET More problematic (especially for purists) is a sometimes loose directorial rein on the scansion; allowing actors to emote through shifting emphasis may further character insight, but it comes at a cost. Though following the meter seems a curse, the pauses in mid-verse are surely worse. ’Tis clearer — and less likely to offend — […]

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% - SWEET

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% – SWEET

SWEET The wonderful Theatre West Company of performers and artists did it again by presenting a very visceral drama with such artistry and passion, that you better pack some tissue paper with you when you run (and I mean run) to see this production! 30 years ago actor/playwright Jim Beaver wrote this wonderful piece called […]

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 82% - SWEET

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 82% – SWEET

BITTER Director Jules Aaron does a workmanlike job trying to give the story some form and structure and interest. He is defeated by the bulk of the amateurish cast who just can’t do much more that play the stereotypes they are given. Dave Buzzotta does a nice job as the real Maynard. But this Tiger […]

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 79% - SWEET

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET When I saw the play, under McPherson’s direction, at London’s Donmar Warehouse, a quality of undefined menace was unmistakably part of the drama. That same edge isn’t quite there at the Geffen, and as a result the transitions between quotidian moments and harrowing ones can feel somewhat artificial. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% - SWEET

HELLMAN V. MCCARTHY (THEATRE 40): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Except for some mis-staged lighting to allow Mr. Cavett to walk freely as is his obvious nature is as a renowned talk-show host, this play was surprisingly funny and yet really smart with a view into how this one-time incident that happened on Mr. Cavett’s show might have eventually affected our first amendment. I […]

BLONDE POISON: 95% - SWEET

BLONDE POISON: 95% – SWEET

SWEET Playwright Gail Louw’s masterpiece drama “Blonde Poison” has its American premiere at Beverly Hills Theatre 40. I was held captive for the entire ninety minutes. The story, based on the true story of Stella Goldschlag during the Holocaust, stars Salome Jens, who gives a brilliant performance under the superb direction of renowned director, Jules […]

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. […]

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 78% - SWEET

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The script could stand a vigorous pruning, several performances are still wobbly and the set changes are noticeably time-consuming — yet this production, directed by Gary Imhoff, has promise. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET The most challenging performance is Frederick’s, whose abrupt shifts between Katia’s ugly outbursts of anti-Semitic bigotry and the more […]

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE/SEGERSTROM CENTER): 86% - SWEET

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE/SEGERSTROM CENTER): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Although I tend to be skeptical about the power of any garment to effect lasting spiritual change, all those stilettos evidently tenderized me to a pulp: I drove home beaming, filled with affection for the characters and all but convinced that wearing thigh-high red leather boots is the manliest thing a guy can do. […]

HANDLE WITH CARE: 100% - SWEET

HANDLE WITH CARE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET In short: this piece is well performed and directed. Daniel Faigin – Observations Along the Road SWEET Through playwright Jason Odell Williams’ focus on comedy and director Karen Carpenter’s attention to high energy acting, “Handle With Care” is a wonderful piece of theater. Rachel Mathieu and Julia Stier – Neon Tommy SWEET Despite these […]

A OR B?: 85% - SWEET

A OR B?: 85% – SWEET

SWEET With Troubies shows, revivals, and West Coast stagings of East Coast hits making up the bulk of its seasons, a Falcon Theatre World Premiere comedy achieves event status in our L.A. theater scene. As with last year’s Billy & Ray, 2010’s The Psychic, and 2009’s Everybody Say Cheese, the Falcon has come up with […]

DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 94% - SWEET

DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production’s silliness (in high-octane overdrive) really starts to wear thin by Act 2, though the music and dance routines are a kick, courtesy of Paul Olson’s score, Phil Olson’s off-the-wall lyrics, and Stan Mazin’s snappy choreography. Doug Engalla directs. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED is the […]

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s hard to say why the play’s production at Theatre West doesn’t reach the level of comical lunacy that is so obviously required. Certainly, co-directors Pete Parkin and John Gallogly have assembled a cast of game and crisply well-prepared actors who go through their frenetic paces with nary a hitch. Perhaps it’s simply that […]

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% - SWEET

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET “Let’s Make a Deal’s” Wayne Brady as the lead in a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate”: It almost sounds like an especially wacky draft in some fantasy stunt-casting league for theater directors. Sheldon Epps of the Pasadena Playhouse has not only made it happen, he has used it as the inspiration for an ingenious […]

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 […]

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 88% - SWEET

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Josh (Kip Gilman) & Janet (Wendy Michaels), who come from seemingly different worlds, prove that the adage ‘opposites attract’ rings true. Each of these lost souls struggle to ultimately find the answer to the puzzle of their own life journey. Their chance meeting is rather a touch of fate, as they yearn to complete […]

IT'S JUST SEX (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 75% - SWEET

IT’S JUST SEX (SECRET ROSE THEATRE): 75% – SWEET

BITTER The production is somewhat elevated by the quality of the performances, but that’s not enough to salvage it. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET An exquisite top flight ensemble brings layers to these characters along with laugh out loud moments throughout. Dianne Williams – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET Short, swift, often side-splitting, and most importantly, […]

WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS: 74% - BITTERSWEET

WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS: 74% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It’s enjoyable enough, dominated by the vibrant presence of L. Scott Caldwell as the ex-wife who has returned from transformational adventures in California to become Atlanta’s hostess with the mostest in Atlanta’s interracial post-election future. It’s fascinating to see how Cleage, who is black, downplays the role of race in her play – as […]

TURNING THIRTY: 100% - SWEET

TURNING THIRTY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Veteran director/actor/playwright Chris DeCarlo directs this delightful cast in this very entertaining and humorous play. Carol Kaufman Segal – Stagehappenings SWEET This sweet froth, smoothly directed by Chris DeCarlo, contains performances that boast a nice amount of energy, sincerity, and warmth. And there’s certainly a place in the world for a cheerful, unassuming good-time […]

FLOWER DUET: 63% - BITTERSWEET

FLOWER DUET: 63% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Undemanding playgoers may well find the proficient performances ample reason to go, but this “Duet” doesn’t exactly sing. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Watching Flower Duet is like watching a well orchestrated dance, it draws you into a world that is foreign, yet so familiar. NoHo is fortunate to have this play […]

THE CURSE OF OEDIPUS (ANTAEUS): 93% - SWEET

THE CURSE OF OEDIPUS (ANTAEUS): 93% – SWEET

SWEET This is a show that deals squarely with many of the darkest human issues as well as the unique qualities of the ancient Greek Gods. It is absolutely not a musical nor a comedy, it is a rich and deep dramatic presentation bolstered by a superb cast; well actually two casts but I only […]

FALSE SOLUTION: 54% - BITTERSWEET

FALSE SOLUTION: 54% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Written and directed by Oren Safdie, the idea of a young neophyte attacking a successful architect in his studio, in the manner that the play took, seemed too out of the ordinary and unbelievable. As for the attraction to one another, I found that even more incongruous. The play is extremely verbose, and though […]

THE LION IN WINTER (COLONY THEATRE): 78% - SWEET

THE LION IN WINTER (COLONY THEATRE): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Artistic Director Barbara Beckley has made a great choice in bringing The Lion in Winter to our community. This play is a must see, masterly mounted, and very well cast by Patricia Cullen. Brandon Scott – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET I have seen several fine productions of this play in the past. Vlahos has worked well […]

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 71% - BITTERSWEET

BE A GOOD LITTLE WIDOW (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Sara Botsford elicits fine performances from her well-balanced cast. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Gracefully segueing from what initially seems like a breezy romantic comedy to a thoughtful and heart-wrenching portrait of grief, family dynamics, and life’s unpredictable twists and turns, Bekah Brunstetter’s 2011 Off-Off-Broadway play “Be a Good Little Widow” […]

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 SUIT (FREUD PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

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 […]

SOVEREIGN BODY: 81% - SWEET

SOVEREIGN BODY: 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Beck’s decision to make Anna’s affliction an anthropomorphic one – a handsome devilish specter (Jack Millard), visible only to her, is responsible for her pain – adds an interesting dimension, helping to lift the overwritten and somewhat contrived script out of the movie-of-the-week waters into which it frequently lapses. Ultimately, the burden of a […]

THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON: 75% - BITTERSWEET

THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Indeed, this delicately potent West Coast premiere, a co-production between the Falcon and Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company, often seems to be composing itself before our eyes in a blend of magic realism and transparent emotion. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Productions like The Grönholm Method, Billy & Ray, and February’s Bunny […]

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (THEATRE WEST): 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It is a solid example of the Modernist movement in literature, and of high-stakes drama that is surprisingly still relevant and as wildly entertaining today as it must have been in 1935 when it was written. Patrick Hurley – LifeInLA SWEET Is there a chance for Gabby’s and Alan’s romance? Will Duke and his […]