RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "david c. nichols"

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% - SWEET

BIRD LIVES! (CHROMOLUME THEATRE): 81% – SWEET

SWEET I saw one of the most powerful, raw, awesome and tragically-moving performances in memory. Oh, my, it really shook me up. Jay Weston – Huffington Post SWEET The effect is an emotionally exhausting but humanizing depiction of the bebop jazz pioneer. Even though Parker passed away much too soon, at age 34, for 70 […]

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: 80% - SWEET

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: 80% – SWEET

SWEET It’s full of dynamic characters going through interesting changes, and they say funny and moving things all the time; the emotional flow is well-ordered and effective. Exciting images, such as a spiritually bereft agnostic using John Lennon as an understandable face of God, populate a lively story. This premiere production by David Bickford, Jenny […]

Critique of the Week

Critique of the Week

What the hell is a “representative outing”? What does that mean? What am I supposed to glean from that phrase? Maybe you can sort it out, LemonHeads, but for me, this is yet again a “representative outing” from the Duke of Diplomacy, David St. Nichols, over at the LA Times, who seems to endlessly obfuscate […]

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 96% - SWEET

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 96% – SWEET

SWEET That we follow the largely unedited text through its dark moments and plot convolutions to an earned happy conclusion testifies to the curiosity factor and the clarity of storytelling at play. “All’s Well” may not be a flawless work, but it nonetheless ends well here. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET If you […]

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 […]

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 […]

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% - SWEET

AJAX IN IRAQ (MILES MEMORIAL PLAYHOUSE): 82% – SWEET

BITTER If you’re going to update a classic work, ask why. If its themes resonate with you, and remind you of contemporary issues, do you really need to rewrite the thing? Mightn’t that classic text still serve a really pointed, personal director’s vision? Even a literal one? You could teach McLaughlin’s Ajax in Iraq in […]

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 85% - SWEET

SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET By embracing rather than avoiding the conventional contours of Richard Alfieri’s international hit two-hander about an imposing Florida retiree and a salty-tongued dance instructor, this elegant revival pulls the crowd-pleasing combination of sass and sentiment into surprisingly affecting bas-relief. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET While the ending is tinged with sadness, Alfieri […]

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 […]

PRAY TO BALL: 94% - SWEET

PRAY TO BALL: 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Abdullah hasn’t penned a polished play. The mercifully short appearance of a faux comical dreadlocked character named Leafy Green (Peete) is an outlandish, unnecessary distraction; and the long -winded script needs more heft — given the subject matter — not to be confused with verbiage. Act 2 particularly would benefit from some judicious editing. […]

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 […]

MACBETH (A NOISE WITHIN): 78% - BITTERSWEET

MACBETH (A NOISE WITHIN): 78% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Elijah Alexander as Macbeth and Willcox do suggest a lot of sexual passion in their early scenes, but at least at the performance I saw, Alexander’s vocal delivery sounded lighter than expected, almost as if he were undecided about how far to pursue Macbeth’s indecision. Carpenter visually emphasizes that the Macbeths apparently lost their […]

A NICE INDIAN BOY: 88% - SWEET

A NICE INDIAN BOY: 88% – SWEET

SWEET All in all, A Nice Indian Boy is a nice way to spend an evening.  G. Bruce Smith – Stage and Cinema SWEET Playwright Madhuri Shekar puts a fresh, multicultural, same-sex spin on the classic romantic comedy in her World Premiere dramedy A Nice Indian Boy, one of the best original plays I’ve seen […]

TARTUFFE (A NOISE WITHIN): 76% - SWEET

TARTUFFE (A NOISE WITHIN): 76% – SWEET

SWEET Overall it’s a delightful revival. If the darker nuances at times threaten the cascading hilarity, that won’t prohibit the enjoyment of so swankly appointed, proficiently acted a classical bauble as this representative company melee. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Molière’s “Tartuffe,” which dates back to 1664, is not only a sire of […]

NOCTURNE (ACTORS COMPANY): 83% - SWEET

NOCTURNE (ACTORS COMPANY): 83% – SWEET

SWEET Adam Rapp’s hypnotic, intricately written elegy for the fallout from an unimaginable family tragedy receives a resolute production, in which noted Belgian actor George Regout makes an impressive North American stage debut as a 32-year-old former piano prodigy struggling to transcend the event that decimated his family and upended his life. David C. Nichols […]

THE DIFFERENT SHADES OF HUGH: 76% - SWEET

THE DIFFERENT SHADES OF HUGH: 76% – SWEET

SWEET This generic premise becomes far more intriguing after the artist stops taking his medication. Suddenly, phantoms of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh (Tom Musgrave and Zachary Mooren, doing a lovely vaudeville duo) crash into the garret to help our artist create memorable portraits and landscapes, born of self-destructive hallucinations. With good reason, his […]

DAY TRADER: 71% - BITTERSWEET

DAY TRADER: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET In addition to being exceedingly well-written, Day Trader is skillfully directed and superbly acted. Ed Rampell – Hollywood Progressive SWEET Directed with shrewd subtlety by Steven Williford, Day Trader draws the audience in while winding its way through plot twists and seemingly random moments that won’t come together until the revelatory closing beats…though if […]

THE TWILIGHT OF SCHLOMO: 94% - SWEET

THE TWILIGHT OF SCHLOMO: 94% – SWEET

SWEET The climactic turn of Richard and Lydia could be slightly better foreshadowed in the direction and the writing, and this story screams for a synoptic stand-up epilogue. These are quibbles, because “The Twilight of Schlomo” is decidedly remarkable. Industry scouts and adventurous audiences should book tickets immediately. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“Focused performances limit undue dwelling on what exactly the foxes are intended to represent. Director Dámaso Rodriguez effectively balances King’s fanciful, open-ended allegory with visceral realism and mounting tension, despite the story’s predictable outcome.” Philip Brandes – from his review of “Foxfinder” (LA Times)

KURT WEILL AT THE CUTTLEFISH HOTEL (WEST END THEATRE): 90% - SWEET

KURT WEILL AT THE CUTTLEFISH HOTEL (WEST END THEATRE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET Still, fans of the material may well find this sui generis item rewarding. It’s certainly a promising initial attraction, unlike anything else afloat on Southland stages. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET As director and musical director, Paul Sand and Michael Roth complement each other in creating evocative stage moments within each of […]

ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 90% - SWEET

ALADDIN AND HIS WINTER WISH (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 90% – SWEET

BITTER As if to provide a counterpoint to the Troubies’ general excellence, Pasadena Playhouse is now hosting Aladdin and His Winter Wish, a shiny jukebox panto from the family that classed up our culture with television behemoths American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. But with a hundred times the Troubadour budget, affording […]

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 86% - SWEET

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Director Nick DeGruccio finds the sweetness and pain in each of the characters without over-sentimentalizing their unrealized dreams and longings. His light touch allows Poole’s words, Carol Hall’s lyrics, and Larry Grossman’s beautiful music to do its work, and facilitates the actors’ ability to create characters the audience can understand and champion, rather than […]

IN THE HEIGHTS (CASA 0101): 100% - SWEET

IN THE HEIGHTS (CASA 0101): 100% – SWEET

SWEET “In the Heights” is currently irradiating Casa 0101, where it fits as felicitously as cinnamon in café con leche. This galvanic chamber edition of the 2008 Tony winner about the denizens of a Washington Heights barrio has enough heartfelt energy to alleviate a citywide power outage. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET The […]

¡SER!: 94% - SWEET

¡SER!: 94% – SWEET

SWEET These reservations notwithstanding, “¡Ser!” is singularly original and thoughtful, not to mention a lot of fun. With a few tweaks, like the endearing artist at midfield, it could easily kick its way into the world performance arena. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Under Marcos Najera’s direction, Anzoategui’s performance avoids every pitfall of […]

ASPIRIN & ELEPHANTS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 83% - SWEET

ASPIRIN & ELEPHANTS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET Despite some formulaic aspects, playwright Jerry Mayer’s boulevard comedy about intergenerational marital issues on a cruise ship is a surefire date show, a high-end sitcom with flashes of emotional heft. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET There is misunderstanding between the daughters and parents, but through amusing dialogue, humor, warmth, and understanding, all […]

A PERFECT LIKENESS: 95% - SWEET

A PERFECT LIKENESS: 95% – SWEET

SWEET Charles Dickens meets Lewis Carroll, literally, in “A Perfect Likeness” at Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. This beautifully appointed two-hander about the authors of “Great Expectations” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” isn’t exactly deep-dish, but it should appeal to those seeking a pleasantly literate 90 minutes in the theater. David C. Nichols – […]

EVITA (PANTAGES): 85% - SWEET

EVITA (PANTAGES): 85% – SWEET

SWEET True, the show’s liabilities — protractedly archetypal characters, recounted rather than dramatized events, undistinguished lyrics, incessant reprises of main tunes — have not vanished. Yet what Grandage and Ashford achieve, along with an imposing design scheme and a formidable triple-threat ensemble, largely minimizes those flaws. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET You might […]

MOSKVA: 90% - SWEET

MOSKVA: 90% – SWEET

SWEET I have a suspicion that if I were more steeped in the original text and the Russia of the last several decades, I would be equally moved by the rest of the play. If you’ve got the keys to those kingdoms this play will speak to you. If you don’t, buckle up: it’s a […]

TOTEM (CIRQUE DU SOLEIL): 100% - SWEET

TOTEM (CIRQUE DU SOLEIL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Carl Fillion’s versatile set and Pedro Pires’ projections integrate beautifully, evoking landscapes both terrestrial and celestial. Occasionally we take a break from the action to observe a Darwinian doppelganger pondering earth’s mysteries. Creationists might grumble but this production bursts with wonder at mankind’s feats. Jenny Lower – LA Weekly SWEET The magnificent event may […]

KIN: 76% - SWEET

KIN: 76% – SWEET

BITTER Unfortunately the characters in this production seem to be a hodgepodge of stereotypes not fully realized by the author and the jumping around within the last seven years in both America and Ireland was oftentimes confusing. Shari Barrett – BroadwayWorld SWEET The outcome doesn’t really take us anywhere we haven’t been, yet it certainly […]