RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "david c. nichols"

Mindy Sterling and Usman Ally in "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison" at the Falcon Theatre. Photo: Michael Lamont.

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 [...]

Elijah Alexander, center, Amin El Gamal, Katie Pelensky, Jeremy Rabb and Thom Rivera in "Macbeth" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

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 [...]

Anjul Nigam, Keshav Christian Durso and Naveen Andy Gala in "A Nice Indian Boy" at East West Players. Photo: Michael Lamont.

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 [...]

Freddy Douglas and Carolyn Ratterey in "Tartuffe" at A Noise Within. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

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 [...]

George Regout in "Nocturne" at The Other Space at the Actors Company. Photo: Ute Ville.

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 [...]

"Different Shades of Gray" at the Road Theatre. Photo: Road Theatre Company.

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 [...]

Danton Stone, Brighid Fleming & Tim Meinelschmidt in "Day Trader" at the Bootleg Theater. Photos by Ed Krieger.

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 [...]

Jonathan Goldstein and Nikki McCauley in "The Twilight of Schlomo" at the Elephant Space. Photo: Company.

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)

Megan Rippey, left, Sol Mason, Paul Sand and Shay Astar in "Kurt Weill at the Cuttlefish Hotel" at the West End Theatre. Photo: Agi Magyeri.

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" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Photo: Clarence Alford.

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 [...]

William Spangler, left; Pickle the dog, Marsha Waterbury and Ciaran McCarthy in "A Christmas Memory" at the Laguna Playhouse. Photo: Ed Krieger.

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 [...]

The cast of "In the Heights" at Casa 0101. Photo: Ed Krieger.

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 [...]

Karen Anzoategui in "Ser!" at Los Angeles Theatre Center. Photo: Ed Krieger.

¡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 [...]

Michael Marinaccio, left, Kip Gilman and Todd Cattell in "Aspirin & Elephants" at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Photo: Cydne Moore.

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 [...]

Daniel J. Roberts and Bruce Ladd in "A Perfect Likeness" at the Fremont Center Theatre. Photo: Will Hastings.

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 – [...]

Caroline Bowman and Sean MacLaughlin in "Evita" at the Pantages Theatre. Photo: Richard Termine.

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 [...]

Justin Davanzo, left, Kristin Drager and Jeffrey Gardner in "Moskva" at City Garage. Photo: Paul Rubenstein.

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 [...]

Cirque Du Soleil's "Totem" at Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Photo: OSA Images.

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 [...]

Melissa Collins, left, and Elizabeth Lande appear in "Kin" at Theatre 40. Photo: Ed Krieger.

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 [...]

Lorenzo Pisoni in "Humor Abuse" at the Mark Taper Forum. Photo: Craig Schwartz.

HUMOR ABUSE: 98% – SWEET

SWEET By keeping its knee-slapping, gasp-inducing and heart-tugging elements in quietly accelerating balance, this Obie-winning solo piece about growing up with the Pickle Family Circus lands an uproarious, astounding and affecting tour de force. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Pisoni’s movements are fluid and effortlessly precise and his prodigious skills are a joy [...]

Che Landon and Paul Haitkin in "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later" at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Photo courtesy of Win Win Imaging.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER (LA GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” receives a stunning Los Angeles premiere at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre. Gil Kaan – Culture Spot LA SWEET Sawyer respects the original Tectonic intent in evoking real but never overdone emotions. His ingenious production concept—placing the cast in the midst of the theater-in-the-round audience—wisely [...]

Lauren Patten, Daniel David Stewart and Adam Dingeman in "The Burnt Part Boys" at the Third Street Theatre. Credit: Elizabeth Mercer.

THE BURNT PART BOYS (THIRD STREET THEATRE): 69% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Within the heavy-handed framework, the cast acquits itself sincerely and honorably, though Patten seems to have been glued to Annie Get Your Gun while Pete was over at The Alamo. In her relish at waving her rifle around and singing about the joys of roasting squirrels and gophers, she can make one nostalgic for [...]

Nicole Parker, center, in "Funny Girl," with Jean Kauffman, Carol Kline, Jill Van Velzer and Helen Geller at Plummer Auditorium. Phot: Isaac Jacobs.

FUNNY GIRL (3D THEATRICALS): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Well, Nicole Parker is living proof that a contemporary actress does indeed have the chops to play Fanny Brice. What a lovely treat this performance doles out from a gal that can really sing and who is unbelievably, seemingly spontaneously funny, in all aspects of the word. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET A star [...]

LynnMarie Rink and her band in "Wrap Your Heart Around It" at the Falcon Theatre.  Photo: Chelsea Sutton.

WRAP YOUR HEART AROUND IT: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The deeply affecting odyssey of self-discovery ends movingly with projected video and photographs of Rink’s son and family, and with this talented and courageous artist’s knockout performance — after a quick costume change — of her song based on the show’s redemptive title. Lynne Heffley – Burbank Leader SWEET Michael Kearns’ direction and Paul [...]

Patrick Quinlan, Kathleen M. Darcy and Amir Abdulla in "Brendan" at Theatre Banshee. Photo: Company.

BRENDAN: 86% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Unfortunately, Quinlan’s one-note performance gives little hint of any blossoming to come. Quinlan’s Brendan is so hapless and angst-ridden that he appears downright pathological. A jarring lack of chemistry with the rest of the cast makes it scarcely credible that attractive Maria, Daisy and Rose would be attracted to such a misfit, much less [...]

HUNGRY WOMAN: 67% – BITTERSWEET

HUNGRY WOMAN: 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Not every explicated motive, cinematic pause, poetic repetition or cultural signpost is necessary. The script could lose 20 minutes, Act 1 in particular. Yet on its own idiomatic terms, “Hungry Woman” offers a wickedly funny, emotionally acute and spiritually nourishing repast. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET Told in different vignettes and narrated [...]

Davis Gaines and Vicki Lewis in "I Do! I Do!" at Laguna Playhouse. Photo: Ed Krieger.

I DO! I DO! (LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE): 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER This is a shaky musical to begin with, and needs more than cute, so even though this production was slathered in professionalism, I was happy to say “Adieu, adieu” to I Do! I Do! Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema BITTERSWEET The stars of the Laguna production do their best to keep it animated. [...]

Ben Belack, Zippy Allen and Marco Naggar in "Revelation" at the Lillian Theatre. Photo: Joel Daavid.

REVELATION: 89% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I am tempted to attend another performance of Revelation once the “friends and family” laugh track has died down and the actors have settled in to playing the situation and not the joke. Mr. Williams appears to be on to something here but the overbearing opening night chuckle-fest I sat through made it impossible [...]

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

Critique of the Week – Runner Runner Up

I dunno, it’s probably just me – it usually is – but I’ve noticed that LA Times reviewer David C. Nichols seems to be offering a lot of “glossing over” and “easy passes” to productions these days. It’s subtle, because he’s a good writer, but it’s almost like his compliments are back-handed and he simply [...]