RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "ed rampell"

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 […]

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. […]

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% - SWEET

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% – SWEET

SWEET An evening under the stars at the Theatricum Botanicum rarely disappoints. No exception to that general rule, “Much Ado About Nothing,” playing in repertory in the theater’s sylvan Topanga setting, is light of heart and deft of foot. Although they occasionally overdo the slapstick, co-directors Ellen Geer and Willow Geer have undoubtedly crafted a […]

THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST (MARK TAPER FORUM): 64% - BITTERSWEET

THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST (MARK TAPER FORUM): 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Daniel Beaty brings this story to the Mark Taper Forum in his solo show “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” a respectful and intelligent if dramatically disappointing recap of Robeson’s life. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET Whether or not you’ve heard of Paul Robeson, once you see the new play written by and […]

HARMONY (AHMANSON): 78% - SWEET

HARMONY (AHMANSON): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Manilow’s’ ‘Harmony’ pleases despite a few sour notes. Paul Hodgins – OC Register SWEET Its leitmotif is nothing less than the true nature of harmony, which this disparate, diverse sextet found in the commingling of their voices and in their offstage unity — even as an antithetical ideology of divisiveness and conquest swept Germany, […]

OBAMA SPY DRAMA: 90% - SWEET

OBAMA SPY DRAMA: 90% – SWEET

SWEET With quick-witted writing and a high-octane cast, OSD is the perfect nighttime outing for Angelenos in need of a comic escape. P.P. – LATF SWEET With the Winter Olympics upon us, and recent attempts to reign in NSA spying, the time is ripe for a musical comedy with a Russian accent. And that’s what […]

LET'S MISBEHAVE (ICT): 98% - SWEET

LET’S MISBEHAVE (ICT): 98% – SWEET

SWEET We never learn why these three are so tight to begin with, but who cares if they express their current thoughts and feelings through more than 30 of Porter’s songs? Which they do, with admirable precision and grace. Todd Nielsen directed and choreorgraphed, with musical arrangements by co-conceiver Patrick Young and music supervision by […]

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 […]

PARFUMERIE (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 80% - SWEET

PARFUMERIE (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 80% – SWEET

SWEET That said, the crisply assured performances, and Brokaw’s clockwork pacing, give the text its best possible production, though we sometimes sense we’re seeing a show that doesn’t have much faith in the possibility of multi-dimensional psychology. Tony Frankel – Stage and Cinema SWEET Don’t get me wrong: “Parfumerie” is entertaining and a great choice […]

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 […]

THE LION IN WINTER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 88% - SWEET

THE LION IN WINTER (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET In the new production at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, the smaller stage emphasizes this sense of captivity, enhanced as it is by Gary Wissman’s versatile, representational set. There, director Michael Cooper has gathered a cast ranging from good to very good indeed, all of whom live the characters they wear. Frances Baum Nicholson – […]

THE SUNSHINE BOYS (AHMANSON): 64% - BITTERSWEET

THE SUNSHINE BOYS (AHMANSON): 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jokes land with clockwork regularity, but “The Sunshine Boys” is only intermittently successful as a dramatic comedy. The play, in revival at the Ahmanson Theatre, has the dated feel of a vintage sitcom — one that predates even “Taxi,” the series in which the production’s stars, Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch, last performed […]

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON (DEAF WEST): 80% - SWEET

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON (DEAF WEST): 80% – SWEET

SWEET Good theatre is rare to find, and exceptional theatre is even rarer. While the show’s darker moments are emotionally difficult to watch, it is theatre at it’s finest. It was stunning and heart-wrenching and beautiful. Like a maze, “Flowers for Algernon” is full of challenges and struggles. Deaf West Theatre’s production is worth the […]

AWAKE AND SING (GROUP REP): 100% - SWEET

AWAKE AND SING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now in a rare revival, under the clear and solid direction of Larry Eisenberg, Group rep presents one of its finest productions of the topical Awake and Sing! with a stellar cast and creative team. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET Larry Eisenberg directs a remarkable cast who do justice to Odet’s characters. Michelle Bernath […]

LOST GIRLS: 87% - SWEET

LOST GIRLS: 87% – SWEET

SWEET But it was Anna Theoni DiGiovanni and Jonathan Lipnicki (yes, the child star of “Jerry Maguire” fame has grown into a gifted actor) who broke my heart as young adults on the lam. Seeing the two bravely reach beyond their wounds toward an indelible moment of genuine intimacy more than makes up for the […]

RED (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

RED (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET In a season that has already included memorable stagings of Around The World In 80 Days, Master Class, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone, this very first made-for-L.A. production of John Logan’s Red once again places International City Theatre in the top tier of Los Angeles-area regional theaters. It is a production you will not […]

The Saturday Saying

The Saturday Saying

“But this is a mere quibble. Nickel and Dimed powerfully, poignantly demonstrates why the millions of unrepresented workers need to be unionized, and how this is arguably the cause of our time. (During the last Depression the unionization rate grew by 300%, and Ehrenreich founded and has been the president of United Professionals, a membership organization for […]

NICKEL AND DIMED (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 78% - SWEET

NICKEL AND DIMED (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET As social criticism, therefore, “Nickel and Dimed” has lost none of its importance or urgency. That being said, when considered on its theatrical merits there’s very little about the stage adaptation that can’t be found in the more complete and better written book. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET Joan Holden’s stage adaptation dramatizes […]

NINE (DOMA): 79% - SWEET

NINE (DOMA): 79% – SWEET

SWEET Known for some pretty terrific singing, DOMA accepts the challenges of Nine and with director Marco Gomez pulling out the stops and letting his skilled cast reach for the stars, this production works on many levels, will entertain you, and even make you muse from time to time. Don Grigware – Grigware Reviews SWEET […]

ALCESTIS (BOSTON COURT): 89% - SWEET

ALCESTIS (BOSTON COURT): 89% – SWEET

SWEET However, their festival-ready work doesn’t always mesh the piece’s narrative and thematic aims. The copious references, self-comment and abstractions hinder emotional connection as often as support it. Nonetheless, as theatrical exercises go, “Alcestis” is certainly impressive. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET The writing is frequently fascinating, and Ms. Keystone’s stage pictures are […]

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI...: 100% - SWEET

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Nonetheless, the vivid humor, ironic reversals and the larger implications hold us, right through to the bittersweet fade-out. Director Carl Cofield keeps things tautly entertaining on designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s excellent set, and his actors (with alternates), who express rather than mimic their real-life counterparts, are first-rate. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET […]

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% - SWEET

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This rip-roaring take on William Shakespeare’s ever-popular romantic comedy opens the 40th anniversary season at this incomparable outdoor venue with marvelous forward momentum. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET While this particular venue may be difficult to get to, it’s more than worth it. The location is beautiful, the people are friendly and […]

BRECHT ON BRECHT (ATWATER PLAYHOUSE): 100% - SWEET

BRECHT ON BRECHT (ATWATER PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET On the small, basically barren stage, featuring five mismatched chairs and one door frame attendees must walk through to enter, the sense of being in for a real treat is palpable—and this welcome new mounting of the 1961 Off-Broadway classic does not disappoint. Travis Michael Holder – ArtsInLA SWEET Directed with a keen vision […]

MASTER CLASS (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 95% - SWEET

MASTER CLASS (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET Though Berminghan’s interpretation of Callas is loaded with gravitas, credibility, and charisma, right down to her Arianna Huffington-like accent, McNally’s script may prove too pedantic for some and too profane for others. Actually based on Callas’ time as a teacher at the Julillard School, Master Class is, nonetheless, a learning experience for all. Ben […]

END OF THE RAINBOW: 79% - SWEET

END OF THE RAINBOW: 79% – SWEET

SWEET No real-life tragic heroine has ever gone into that good night quite as ungently as Garland does in “End of the Rainbow,” which manages to send you out wondering whether you’ve just seen a cautionary bummer or a high-on-life theatrical thrill-aganza. Better that we don’t have to decide and can just agree to mark […]

TOMORROW: 91% - SWEET

TOMORROW: 91% – SWEET

SWEET Though this outstanding show will speak particularly to theater people, audiences of every stripe are sure to be enthralled. Iris Mann – Backstage SWEET That the emphasis of the play was not clear (at least to this critic) doesn’t diminish the effective impact of his love of the theatre and why it counts. Dale […]

DREAMGIRLS (DOMA): 100% - SWEET

DREAMGIRLS (DOMA): 100% – SWEET

SWEET You’ll definitely enjoy the glitter and the spectacle. Serita Stevens – LASplash SWEET Armed with some impressive singers, this latest production of Dreamgirls does not disappoint. Darlene Donloe – Donloe’s Lowdown SWEET The latest offering “Dreamgirls” Directed by Marco Gomez is yet another glowing example of what musical theatre should be. As the cast […]

THE GRAPES OF WRATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 86% - SWEET

THE GRAPES OF WRATH (A NOISE WITHIN): 86% – SWEET

SWEET A Noise Within’s stellar production of Frank Galati’s 1990 Tony Award–winning stage adaptation honors the novel’s messages, bringing the work to the stage in a way that is sincere, memorable, and deeply relevant. Katherine Davis – Backstage SWEET A Noise Within’s production is agonizing but beautifully realized; it is an excellent example of how […]

OTHER DESERT CITIES (MARK TAPER): 76% - SWEET

OTHER DESERT CITIES (MARK TAPER): 76% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET What should be a perfect storm, alas, isn’t. Working with watchable and often affecting material, Egan and his cast of five feel like they’re trying to wrestle two or three disparate plays into a shapable entity. Despite a career-stretching performance by JoBeth Williams and strong work by the consistently reliable Robert Foxworth, “Other Desert […]