RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "dany margolies"

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 88% - SWEET

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor, plays Teacher, a fractious bully whose semi-coherent verbal harangues are the source of his catastrophic charisma. Under the direction of Stephen Rothman, Kotsur uses ASL to transform Mamet’s words into a visual symphony and this challenging character into a poignant figure of isolation. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET […]

WASHER/DRYER: 75% - BITTERSWEET

WASHER/DRYER: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET That said, at its heart the piece is a sincere, well-intended contrivance that gets its laughs like clockwork but isn’t exactly unfamiliar. Audiences with an appetite for light comedy may well enjoy it, yet this “Washer/Dryer” could use more realistic starch and less synthetic fabric softener. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET Directed […]

ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ENTER LAUGHING – THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jokes and the witty numbers (“The Butler’s Song” brings down the house) don’t feel quite big or splashy enough to distract us from the low stakes. Choreography (by director Ross) is minimal, perhaps because the sleek set by Evan A. Bartoletti, while fitting nicely in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater, provides little elbow […]

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 78% - SWEET

THE NIGHT ALIVE (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 78% – 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 […]

FUGUE: 92% - SWEET

FUGUE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET The striking innovation here is in transposing the musical principles of fugue into narrative. Parallel elements of the three stories are underscored by impressively choreographed simultaneous delivery of words, phrases and, on occasion, orgasms. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET It is the movement, the timing and the brilliant staging of sex, suicide and […]

INTO THE WOODS (OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL/THE WALLIS): 92% - SWEET

INTO THE WOODS (OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL/THE WALLIS): 92% – SWEET

SWEET This OSF production at the Wallis may not have the star power of the screen version coming out on Christmas Day, but it has the buoyancy and complexity of feeling that have turned Sondheim and Lapine’s work into a modern classic. I can’t think of a better holiday treat than seeing this dark fantasy […]

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. […]

KING LEAR (BROAD STAGE): 60% - BITTERSWEET

KING LEAR (BROAD STAGE): 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The scene in Act 4 between the mad Lear and the blinded Gloucester doesn’t register the heartbreak of two men at the end of their lives searching for meaning in their abominable suffering. Like the production as a whole, it’s just an illustrative sketch of the original, catharsis not included. Charles McNulty – LA […]

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% - BITTERSWEET

MARJORIE PRIME: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A terrible play, and depressing as well, playwright Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime is set in a not-too-distant future and imagines a world where sophisticated robots have been fashioned as human companions. Harrison’s one-act drama doesn’t really have a plot — it’s more of a character study. We see a series of scenes within which […]

ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER (EAST WEST PLAYERS): 85% - SWEET

ANIMALS OUT OF PAPER (EAST WEST PLAYERS): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Joseph captures the highs and lows of this unique three-way love affair, its laughter and tears, its joys and sorrows. He’s greatly aided by the sure-handed direction of Jennifer Chang and by the skilled acting of C.S. Lee, Tess Lina and Kapil Talkwalker (a student at USC!). Willard Manus – Total Theater SWEET It’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

LEAR (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 95% - SWEET

LEAR (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Given that this take on the original’s rigidly patriarchal universe is fundamentally bonkers, it’s impressive how well co-adapter/directors Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall succeed in illuminating subtext and broadening the scope of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET We think it’s extraordinary and perfect for a cozy evening of high-brow stimulation. […]

LUIGI: 53% - BITTERSWEET

LUIGI: 53% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The Inkwell Theatre presents a talented cast in its world premiere of Louise Munson’s “Luigi,” a two-and-a-half-hour tale of a family’s (most likely last) get-together with their patriarch in the winter of his years. There seems to be no real story to be told here. (Warning: If not fluent in Italian, a percentage of […]

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES: 74% - BITTERSWEET

THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES: 74% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Still, “Savages” is a ribald, intelligent and promising new work. Adventurous playgoers and/or fans of premium cable fare will likely embrace it. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET All in all, this is a play that wants to tell us to “relax, it’s just sex,” but seems to have forgotten to tell most […]

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (BROAD STAGE): 82% - SWEET

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (BROAD STAGE): 82% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Still, the production, by War Horse director Tom Morris, is surprisingly uninvolving. The main quartet of lovers and their foibles feel too separate from the puppet business, a big reason that the puppets’ theatricality doesn’t translate into emotional heft. Zachary Pincus-Roth – LA Weekly SWEET Nonetheless, this inventive production will send you home with […]

SLOWGIRL (GEFFEN): 85% - SWEET

SLOWGIRL (GEFFEN): 85% – SWEET

SWEET But Pierce has caught the rhythms of teenage girl-speak, and Gray, a credentialed actress and University of Chicago student (no relation to this reviewer) revels in them. Her wonderfully gravelly voice and quirky delivery make Becky thoroughly entertaining. And the characters’ developing bond despite their differences is touching and persuasive. Margaret Gray – LA […]

WHITE (THE WALLIS): 100% - SWEET

WHITE (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The space, and its cute set, is entirely white. Audience members perch on low, white, wooden benches and there are little mats on the floor for kids to lounge on. The show is only 30 or so minutes long—perfect for short attention spans. The little ones who attended the show were completely enchanted by […]

A STEADY RAIN: 100% - SWEET

A STEADY RAIN: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Odyssey has done a terrific job with this production. Adam Flemming’s set, consisting simply of two chairs and three screens upon which evocative images are projected, places the focus on the intensity of the subject matter. It’s expertly directed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company co-founder Jeff Perry, and kudos must also go to the […]

VILLON: 70% - BITTERSWEET

VILLON: 70% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A play about a murderous French poet, told by a troupe of vaudevillian-style actors, seems it would be enough to spark some interest in an audience, but unfortunately Murray Mednick’s “Villon” falls seriously flat in its execution. Savannah L. Barker – Neon Tommy SWEET Like Villon’s troupe, these actors make sturdy, faithful companions to […]

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, […]

THE 39 STEPS (NORRIS CENTER): 100% - SWEET

THE 39 STEPS (NORRIS CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Tony award-winning Broadway stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film, THE 39 STEPS, is being presented as a slapstick romp through film noir at the Norris Center for the Performing Arts for nine performances, January 24 – February 9, directed with skillful comedic insight by Ken Parks. Combining a suspenseful spy thriller with […]

SE LLAMA CRISTINA: 78% - SWEET

SE LLAMA CRISTINA: 78% – SWEET

BITTER The performers submit to the emotional demands of Solis’ relentlessly boisterous 80-minute script, but the sound and fury are more exhausting than edifying. The experience is akin to having a front row seat at the presentation of a stranger’s nonsensical bad dream. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET We humans are a mess, often […]

PASSION PLAY (ODYSSEY/EVIDENCE ROOM): 79% - SWEET

PASSION PLAY (ODYSSEY/EVIDENCE ROOM): 79% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If, like me, you’re a fan of the Evidence Room, go to enjoy the familiar faces. Otherwise enjoy the small stuff and forgive the production for not tying everything up. Anthony Byrnes – KCRW BITTERSWEET Despite their many strengths, I found parts one and two curiously uninvolving. It wasn’t until Ruhl came closer to […]

BECKY'S NEW CAR (KENTWOOD PLAYERS): 100% - SWEET

BECKY’S NEW CAR (KENTWOOD PLAYERS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The repartee is scintillating but down to earth and the story keeps us guessing. Ingrid Wilmot – Will Call SWEET Written by Steven Dietz, this mid-life crisis adult comedy is sure to have you laughing during the two-hour performance. Nadine Wright – LifeInLA SWEET Having met the Staadeckers at Becky’s Los Angeles premiere a […]

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS AND COUNT LEO TOLSTOY: DISCORD (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE RE-MOUNT): 88% - SWEET

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS AND COUNT LEO TOLSTOY: DISCORD (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE RE-MOUNT): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Carefully compiled references and biographical details whiz by in Matt August’s finely tuned staging, with superb performances illuminating the clashing personalities that drive three discordant takes on Christianity. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Strong acting, design, and writing enliven NoHo Arts’ Center’s entertaining, thought-provoking world premiere production of The Gospel According to Thomas […]

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 100% - SWEET

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Visible Fictions obviously believes in trusting its youthful audience; it speaks up to kids, rather than down. Consequently, the sheer energy, intelligence and fun of Jason had all its onlookers responding with whoops of laughter and joy. Daniel Padden’s evocative musical score also helped set appropriate moods. Willard Manus – Total Theater SWEET Two […]

FOXFINDER: 85% - SWEET

FOXFINDER: 85% – SWEET

SWEET Picture the witch-hunting of “The Crucible” at the hands of a modern Orwellian state and you have the broad contours of Dawn King’s “Foxfinder,” which receives an atmospheric, take-no-prisoners co-production from Furious Theatre Company in association with Oregon-based Artists Repertory Theatre. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET Under Dámaso Rodriguez’s direction, when the inspector […]

WAIT UNTIL DARK (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 92% - SWEET

WAIT UNTIL DARK (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The dramatic premise, of a vulnerable woman discovering unexpected resources that allow her to turn the tables on her assailants, is still the main draw. The road to the goosepimply climax, even with Hatcher’s streamlining, is cumbersome, the dramaturgy as outdated as when the work was first written. But what a gripping finish. If […]