RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "neon tommy"

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 […]

THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% - SWEET

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS (AHMANSON THEATRE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET Diane Paulus’ direction of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” is mesmerizing. It features a cast of strong actors, abundant laughs amidst serious moments, and some of the most beautiful vocals this side of Broadway. Get a chance to see this show while it’s in town. Molly Quinlan – Neon Tommy SWEET Paulus’ creation, as […]

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 […]

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% - SWEET

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% – SWEET

SWEET The performances, particularly of the two leads, are confident, nuanced and memorable. And the rich sensory feast Kubzansky and her team have served up — which also includes lighting by Jeremy Pivnick, sound by John Zalewski and witty props by John Burton — is a powerful reminder of why beauty, heartless though it may […]

“Shipshod” Journalism Is Killing Los Angeles Theater Criticism - By Katie Buenneke

“Shipshod” Journalism Is Killing Los Angeles Theater Criticism – By Katie Buenneke

Neon Tommy theater editor and critic, Katie Buenneke, had a rather bizarre tussle with a miffed reader who didn’t see the show that Katie reviewed but felt personally offended by the quality of the review anyway. She thought the story had some resonance for the community at large. We agreed. Gonna have to sign this […]

IN THE HEIGHTS (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 94% - SWEET

IN THE HEIGHTS (CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production now playing at Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks, which is, for all intents and purposes, a regional replica of the Broadway show (the director and a large chunk of the cast were on the second national tour), doesn’t make “In the Heights” bad, but it doesn’t do its source material justice. […]

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% - SWEET

RECALL (VISCERAL COMPANY): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Clark is smart to envision a near-future, fear-based world that’s taken its cue from the chilling rash of school shootings that have occurred over the past decade or so—even if Quinn, the loner who befriends Lucy, is a little predictable in his black trench coat and military boots. The current-topicality of it engages. And […]

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 […]

5O SHADES! THE MUSICAL: 70% - BITTERSWEET

5O SHADES! THE MUSICAL: 70% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET While this musical parody may never reach the hilarious heights of the gold standard for this sort of japery, The Book of Mormon, confined as it is to a rather pedestrian target, this gleeful cataloguing of flavors of sex beyond plain vanilla hits the giggly bulls-eye with unerring consistency. Myron Meisel – The Hollywood […]

CLOSELY RELATED KEYS: 78% - SWEET

CLOSELY RELATED KEYS: 78% – SWEET

SWEET Wendy Graf brings the audience a complicated script that deals with a lot more than 9/11 and its catastrophe. Father and daughter relationships and disappointment are just as important to this strong drama. Rose Desena – The Los Angeles Post SWEET Shirley Jo Finney directs her well-chosen cast brilliantly. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre […]

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 […]

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 […]

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE: 84% - SWEET

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE: 84% – SWEET

SWEET The show, directed by David Hyde Pierce following Nicholas Martin’s Broadway staging, opened at the Mark Taper Forum on Sunday in tiptop shape. Indeed, you can mark this down as a shimmering example of an out-of-town production improving the touted original. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET An actor must deliver in the here […]

ABOVE THE FOLD: 67% - BITTERSWEET

ABOVE THE FOLD: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Henson wins us over with her likability. She provides glimpses of a conscience that Weinraub runs roughshod over, but unfortunately it’s not enough to keep us emotionally invested in this schematic play. In scoring points, the playwright forgets that in the theater the most compelling battles are the internal ones. Charles McNulty – LA […]

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 […]

AN ILIAD (BROAD STAGE): 100% - SWEET

AN ILIAD (BROAD STAGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET If you’re not already convinced that this is a show you miss at your own peril — Mr. O’Hare’s performance is an hour and 40 minute tour de force. Without giving away too much — he even makes sense out of Homer’s litanies — delivering the poignant reminder that what we’d like to think […]

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (AHMANSON): 77% - SWEET

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (AHMANSON): 77% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET If, in the first act, the wit varies so vertiginously that it flirts with the tiresome, then in a deliriously delicious opening musical number of the second act, the entire cast sings and dances in delectable drag as fish mutated by the pollution of the ocean with starstuff into cross-dressing mermaids. This sort of […]

LOVE ON SAN PEDRO: 88% - SWEET

LOVE ON SAN PEDRO: 88% – SWEET

SWEET The script’s tone ranges from hilariously funny, to deeply moving, to upsettingly tragic. The play’s emotions are heightened by the fact that the play is founded in reality, and that each of the storylines embodies the experiences of a Skid Row resident. Even as a work of pure fiction, the play would have been […]

THE BLACK SUITS: 54% - BITTERSWEET

THE BLACK SUITS: 54% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET This world premiere musical, now at Kirk Douglas Theatre, manages to get plenty of new wine into very old, if not downright dusty, bottles. The saga of the making of the eponymous garage band soars despite a paper-thin, clichéd plot; derivative character types; and QED themes of friendship and youthful dream-making. What gets it […]

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 […]

ENDGAME (A NOISE WITHIN): 78% - SWEET

ENDGAME (A NOISE WITHIN): 78% – SWEET

SWEET Both Rabb and Elliott do a great job of balancing the absurdist nature of Beckett’s dialogue with the fact that it is being presented in a real place on a real stage, going overboard when needed in their acting but still bringing the play back to the forefront of the audience’s mind. Angie Fiedler […]

THE HOMOSEXUALS: 83% - SWEET

THE HOMOSEXUALS: 83% – SWEET

SWEET Each of the six scenes is interesting and entertaining, but there’s little real action and the narrative arc is weak — a fact emphasized by the playing of the scenes in reverse order, à la Merrily We Roll Along. But the piece is largely redeemed by director Michael Matthews’ fine production and excellent performances […]

THE GUARDSMAN (A NOISE WITHIN): 85% - SWEET

THE GUARDSMAN (A NOISE WITHIN): 85% – SWEET

SWEET Toss in a seamless supporting ensemble and first-rate production values, and you couldn’t ask for a finer example of how captivating and downright fun live theater can be. Philip Brandes – LA Times BITTERSWEET Unfortunately, director Michael Michetti’s otherwise handsome revival (on Tom Buderwitz’s elegant set and under Adam Frank’s bravura lighting) can’t quite […]

LOVECRAFT: NIGHTMARE SUITE (VISCERAL COMPANY RE-MOUNT): 96% - SWEET

LOVECRAFT: NIGHTMARE SUITE (VISCERAL COMPANY RE-MOUNT): 96% – SWEET

SWEET Their unfathomable talent is only met by the masterful stagecraft. Omar Najam – LifeInLA SWEET Their “Lovecraft: Nightmare Suite,” a reinvention of a play the founders put on years ago in a small off-Off Broadway theatre brings the beautifully creepy stories of cosmic horror visionary H.P. Lovecraft to life in a way their previous […]

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 […]

HUMOR ABUSE: 98% - SWEET

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 […]

WHAT KIND OF GOD?: 63% - BITTERSWEET

WHAT KIND OF GOD?: 63% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER A show about corruption, homosexuality, and abuse within the Catholic Church sounds like it would be anything but dull, but unfortunately Steve Julian’s “What Kind of God?” falls painfully flat. It seems one would have to go out of their way to make such a racy subject boring, but the real issue is that […]

BARE: A ROCK MUSICAL (HAYWORTH THEATRE): 74% - BITTERSWEET

BARE: A ROCK MUSICAL (HAYWORTH THEATRE): 74% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s very possible that glory|struck productions and director Calvin Remsberg have staged a faithful, heartfelt version of ‘bare.’ Unfortunately, due to incredibly poor sound quality, it is impossible to discern what is going on half the time. Any song that features more than one vocalist and more than one instrumentalist (i.e. most of the […]

SISTER ACT (PANTAGES): 90% - SWEET

SISTER ACT (PANTAGES): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Not a scintillating musical by any means, “Sister Act” offers generic exuberance for a sultry summer night when a groove and a giggle are all that’s required to send audiences home smiling. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET From the moment the curtain goes up and our diva is belting out a song (in […]