RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "kurt gardner"

MEET & GREET (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 79% - SWEET

MEET & GREET (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 79% – SWEET

SWEET Zimmerman’s direction is fast and furious, which ideal for a piece like this as the one-liners just keep flying. Most all of them hit their intended targets. No subject is safe — social media, Netflix series, reality television and the general vapidity of Hollywood are all skewered. There’s a twist near the end that […]

MOON OVER BUFFALO (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 100% - SWEET

MOON OVER BUFFALO (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Ludwig’s play, like an old-fashioned steam locomotive, starts out slowly and a bit laboriously, but it soon builds up a head of comic steam, puffing along merrily and careening dizzily into the madcap finale. Director Kiff Scholl has assembled an expert cast, supplied them with a wonderful array of pratfalls, and pulled off a […]

BUYER AND CELLAR: 98% - SWEET

BUYER AND CELLAR: 98% – SWEET

SWEET Wicked without being unnecessarily cruel, Buyer and Cellar takes jabs at the cult of celebrity while reminding us why we’re so fascinated by it in the first place. Streisand’s eccentric behavior is counterbalanced by nice moments of humanity — awkwardly comforting a distraught Alex or revealing a painful childhood secret. But then Barry makes […]

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% - SWEET

LINDEN ARDEN STOLE THE HIGHLIGHTS (HOLLYWOOD FRINGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET I’d never heard Van Morrison’s “Linden Arden Stole the Highlights” before I saw Colin Mitchell’s play of the same name. Frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Mitchell has taken the rather obscure lyrics of that 1974 song and created a fully fleshed-out character whose story makes for riveting theater. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET […]

DORIAN'S DESCENT (DOMA): 38% - BITTER

DORIAN’S DESCENT (DOMA): 38% – BITTER

BITTER A quartet of stellar performers, a gifted composer/musical director, and L.A.’s costume designer du jour at his most over-the-top fabulous can’t, unfortunately, save the Oscar Wilde-based World Premiere musical Dorian’s Descent from descending into three hours’ worth of clichéd dialog and lyrics, jarring tonal shifts, and good intentions gone disastrously bad. Steven Stanley – […]

TOP 8 ANNOYING THEATER SYNDROMES - By Kurt Gardner

TOP 8 ANNOYING THEATER SYNDROMES – By Kurt Gardner

Los Angeles Theater/Film/Music Critic Kurt Gardner responded to our call for new writers. I said, “What you got, Kurt?” He said, “I got this.” I said, “What you got is pretty funny, Kurt.” And he said, “Then what the fuck are you waiting for?” He didn’t actually say that, he’s very polite, but it was implied. Here’s […]

DOCTOR ANONYMOUS: 64% - BITTERSWEET

DOCTOR ANONYMOUS: 64% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Based on the true story of Dr. John Fryer, the Philadelphia psychiatrist who bravely came out at the Association’s Philadelphia conference in 1972, Doctor Anonymous is a well-intentioned piece that suffers from a too-episodic structure whose scenes don’t always fit together smoothly. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET This is a world-premiere production of […]

LEND ME A TENOR (ACTORS CO-OP): 92% - SWEET

LEND ME A TENOR (ACTORS CO-OP): 92% – SWEET

SWEET Moosie Drier directs with verve and a wealth of comic invention. Bell skillfully navigates the changes as Max is transformed from nebbish to newly confident faux-star. Ladd is a whirlwind of motion as the frantic producer, and Vanbuskirk is hilarious as the much put-upon Tito. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA SWEET Kimi Walker’s production is […]

DERBY DAY: 100% - SWEET

DERBY DAY: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Silberman, Madera and Foster are to be commended for their ability to share these men first as suited and somewhat upstanding citizens and then take us with them as they sink into the depths of depravity in their souls. Each actor was fully engaged in their characters, even as the many items were thrown […]

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 […]

INHERIT THE WIND (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 89% - SWEET

INHERIT THE WIND (GROVE THEATRE CENTER): 89% – SWEET

SWEET An outstanding production of Inherit the Wind is being presented by Wasatch Theatre Ventures, under the judicious direction of Kiff Scholl with an absolutely marvelous cast that gives realism to this magnetic showpiece. Carol Kaufman Segal – Reviewplays SWEET This production, presented by Wasatch Theatrical Ventures and Theatre Planners, is solidly mounted, with many […]

AN IDEAL HUSBAND (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 83% - SWEET

AN IDEAL HUSBAND (SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE): 83% – SWEET

SWEET It’s always a pleasant surprise to discover a gem in a most unlikely setting, and that’s what I experienced last Saturday night when I attended a performance of Oscar Wilde’s comedy An Ideal Husband at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. It was my first time at the venue, and I was delighted to discover an […]

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 […]

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 […]

MERRY F***IN' CHRISTMAS, Y'ALL: 100% - SWEET

MERRY F***IN’ CHRISTMAS, Y’ALL: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The play did certainly convey one very clear message across the board: Social and cultural diversity and acceptance of our differences can be a whole lot of fun, but can also be very stressful, and demands us to be the best of who we can be. Katharina Livia Harer – LASplash SWEET Overall, Merry […]

GALLERY SECRETS (CHALK REP): 100% - SWEET

GALLERY SECRETS (CHALK REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Overall, it’s a captivating evening of site-specific theater at one of the most intriguing sites in town. Kurt Gardner – Blog Critics SWEET The audience moves more frequently within each play than in most of last year’s plays — especially in Under the Glass and Prom Season. As someone who occasionally frets about how […]

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

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 […]

THE OLD SETTLER (PICO PLAYHOUSE): 100% - SWEET

THE OLD SETTLER (PICO PLAYHOUSE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What elevates this revival is the riveting interplay between Oliver and Hinds as the estranged siblings facing deep-seated conflicts with naked emotional honesty — there’s no plot safety net to coast on here. As icing on the cake, the songs threaded through the play showcase Hinds’ background as an opera singer — by the […]

THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (HUDSON BACKSTAGE): 85% - SWEET

THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT (HUDSON BACKSTAGE): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Behind the humor, the banter, the over emoting and the seemingly light hearted mood there is a very powerful story lurking here. Some actors had double and triple roles and even then we counted about seventeen actors. This is where director Josh T. Ryan displays his unparalleled genius, not just keeping chaos from taking […]

CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) (THEATRE 68): 92% - SWEET

CRUMBLE (LAY ME DOWN JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) (THEATRE 68): 92% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET ‘Twas a shame such a marvelous canvas wasn’t utilized by stronger performances. G.S. Morales – LA Theater Critic SWEET Strip the play of all its craziness and universal struggles emerges that everyone deals with: death and discovering what it means to love. At the end of the day, Crumble is a coming-of-age story about […]

THE MIRACLE WORKER (ACTOR'S CO-OP): 93% - SWEET

THE MIRACLE WORKER (ACTOR’S CO-OP): 93% – SWEET

SWEET These actors bring visceral intensity to the battle of wits and will that erupts when Sullivan attempts to civilize the wild child, culminating in the ferocious battle over the breakfast table. Neal Weaver – LA Weekly SWEET That aside, it’s an earnest production and worth attending for the performances of the two leads. Kurt […]

MARILYN - MY SECRET: 83% - SWEET

MARILYN – MY SECRET: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Like all great film actors, Marilyn radiated a magic all her own. This dramedy with songs fleetingly captures Marilyn – then she’s gone – but Kelly Mullis deserves applause for her delightful, loving impersonation. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre Spoken Here SWEET This is a scintillating, bawdy, and well performed production. A voyeuristic crowd […]

ONE NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN: 95% - SWEET

ONE NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN: 95% – SWEET

SWEET In a cosmic collusion of persona and perception, this electrifying concert musical resurrects the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll with the sort of seismically sensational results normally encountered at stadiums and pop festivals. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET What with Carten carrying half the show, “One Night” is hardly a re-creation of […]

TRAINSPOTTING (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 90% - SWEET

TRAINSPOTTING (ELEPHANT THEATRE): 90% – SWEET

SWEET “Trainspotting” is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. It is often as gag-inducing as it is thought-provoking, but with strong direction and performances the production finds the right balance between grim and funny. Katherine Davis – Backstage BITTER The play lives up to expectations – a waste of time. Serita Stevens […]

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS (THEATER ASYLUM): 83% - SWEET

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS (THEATER ASYLUM): 83% – SWEET

BITTER Overall this is not really a night of theater. It is a night of soap-boxing, and a poor one at that. Mickala Jauregui – A Little Night Musing SWEET In short, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is a wonderfully-orchestrated piece of theater that successfully walks the fine line between entertainment and […]

THE SNAKE CAN: 80% - SWEET

THE SNAKE CAN: 80% – SWEET

SWEET Yet Graf’s core instincts are sound, the quips and faceoffs suggesting actual human discourse, and Kaczmarek and Harrison form the tonal poles of a wonderful ensemble. See it with someone you love in spite of yourself. David C. Nichols – LA Times BITTERSWEET Director Steven Robman does the heavy lifting of keeping his talented […]

AVENUE Q (DOMA THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

AVENUE Q (DOMA THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET With its unique blend of humor and heart, complete with puppet sex, inappropriate language, Internet porn, partial puppet nudity, and a final message that reminds us that “Everything in life is only for now,” I guarantee you’ll leave with a smile on your face. Ellen Dostal – Musicals in LA SWEET DOMA Theatre Company […]

SILENCE! THE MUSICAL: 91% - SWEET

SILENCE! THE MUSICAL: 91% – SWEET

SWEET Musically, the show wants only to get a rise out of the audience. Silliness is the name of the game, and there’s a slapdash quality to the proceedings that, were it not so openly embraced, might seem amateurish. Instead, the buffoonery (although a tad prolonged) seems almost artful. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET […]

THE FANTASTICKS (THEATRE WEST): 66% - BITTERSWEET

THE FANTASTICKS (THEATRE WEST): 66% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Sorry to say that this production of the now classic The Fantasticks is a notch below what we’ve come to expect from Charlie Mount and the Chestnuts series at Theatre West. Don Grigware – Grigware Blogspot SWEET It’s hard to go wrong with a musical that audiences have already loved for more than 50 […]

TAKE ME OUT (RATMO): 67% - BITTERSWEET

TAKE ME OUT (RATMO): 67% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Great production mixed with America’s favorite past time makes this a wonderful show and a definite must see. Mary E. Montoro – LifeInLA BITTERSWEET Either because the material itself is now somewhat dated or the cast is too green to pull it off, Take Me Out ultimately lacks the impact that its playwright surely […]