RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "tolucan times"

CLUTCH: 75% - BITTERSWEET

CLUTCH: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s a fascinating premise, despite a basic predictability and some credibility problems. It’s hard to believe that, if Gordon was that intent on giving his brain to science, he wouldn’t have created a legally binding document, or that as a responsible scientist, Dr. Moss would not have insisted on getting one — or that […]

THIEVES: 67% - BITTERSWEET

THIEVES: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Despite acting up a gale-force storm, the ensemble is finally unable to lift Miller’s language and situations from the earthbound and mundane into something more satisfyingly mythic. Director Daniel Talbott contributes some entertaining flourishes, but his penchant for chewed scenery proves a disservice to all. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Family relationships don’t […]

THE AMERICAN DREAM (GROUP REP): 75% - BITTERSWEET

THE AMERICAN DREAM (GROUP REP): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Director Alyson York creates a superb foundation; the pacing is light and quick. The cast demonstrates their thespian skills admirably. The play is charming and funny. The only weak link is the script. It seems labored and forced. If this is to be a dark comedy, then so be it. But I think Albee […]

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% - SWEET

LIFEBOAT (THE WALLIS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET The Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s presentation of Lifeboat, an extraordinary tale of survival and friendship, stars Ashley Smith as Beth and Hannah Donaldson as Bess. They are brilliant as the two English school girls during World War II who share their friendship and life-changing adventure in a narrative that is awash with emotions. And […]

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% - SWEET

VERDIGRIS (THEATRE WEST): 85% – SWEET

SWEET The wonderful Theatre West Company of performers and artists did it again by presenting a very visceral drama with such artistry and passion, that you better pack some tissue paper with you when you run (and I mean run) to see this production! 30 years ago actor/playwright Jim Beaver wrote this wonderful piece called […]

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 88% - SWEET

THE ENGLISH BRIDE: 88% – SWEET

SWEET In a well-paced staging, director Marya Mazor boldly addresses the vagaries of her material. Kaitlyn Pietras’ striking projection design ably delineates the shifting milieus, as does Pablo Santiago’s lighting and John Zalewski’s sound. Schub and Wasserman are well-matched antagonists, but the standout among the cast is the marvelous Knowelden, whose Eileen is as amusing […]

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 69% - BITTERSWEET

TIGER BY THE TAIL (GROUP REP): 69% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Director Jules Aaron does a workmanlike job trying to give the story some form and structure and interest. He is defeated by the bulk of the amateurish cast who just can’t do much more that play the stereotypes they are given. Dave Buzzotta does a nice job as the real Maynard. But this Tiger […]

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% - SWEET

INSIDE OUT (GROVE THEATRE CENTER REVIVAL): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Under Bruce Kimmel’s pizzazzy direction, Broadway and regional theater vets Sandy Bainum, Jill Marie Burke, Cynthia Ferrer, Stephanie Fredricks, Dana Meller, and Adrienne Visnic simply could not be more sensational as a sextet of modern women (of the ‘90s), nor Haverty’s book more delightfully witty and perceptive, nor Haverty and Russ’s songs more infectiously […]

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

SPOON RIVER: THE CEMETERY ON THE HILL (ECLECTIC COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Adapted from an anthology of poetry by Edgar Lee Masters, writer and director Maureen Lucy O’Connell blends the poet’s words with traditional songs to create a show that will tug at your heartstrings as much as it will give you goosebumps. Michelle Sandoval – EdgeLosAngeles SWEET The songs, which are performed a capella, and […]

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% - SWEET

CLOSER THAN EVER (GOOD PEOPLE THEATER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET A tastefully elegant production of Maltby & Shire’s CLOSER THAN EVER brings the duo’s beautiful and thought-provoking songs to life in the intimate performance space at Hollywood Piano in Burbank. It’s a co-production between Good People Theater Company and Hollywood Piano; a partnership that means the audience gets the rare opportunity to hear the […]

THE OTHER PLACE: 92% - SWEET

THE OTHER PLACE: 92% – SWEET

SWEET Solid stagecraft, tautly quirky writing and crackerjack acting distinguish this compelling Los Angeles premiere of playwright Sharr White’s celebrated 2013 study of a neurologist who may be descending into dementia. David C. Nichols – LA Times SWEET In the end, “The Other Place,” the second show of the 2014-15 season, works because of a […]

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION (FALCON THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET This show should not be missed. It is part of our collective history highlighting distinctive moments of a man who made us laugh and think. His incredibly fast and clever lyrics definitely beat the simple and angry language of any commercially successful rapper of today. What a lovely tribute by a talented daughter to […]

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% - SWEET

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (DOMA THEATRE COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What gets served up is, of course, somewhat thinner than the symphonic orchestration we all grew up with on the original concept album, but it manages to evoke those classic sounds while rocking and buzzing on its own, more intimate terms. Bob Verini – ArtsInLA SWEET But to bring in it all together the […]

CLEAN START: 71% - BITTERSWEET

CLEAN START: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Ultimately it’s a tale about setting boundaries and what it really means to be a friend. It’s the human factor that wonderfully tops all in this show. People are people in our many forms, sharing happiness, joy, jealousy and pain, most of all love, for each other and ourselves. All of these characters “clean […]

MUTANT OLIVE (LOUNGE THEATRE): 88% - SWEET

MUTANT OLIVE (LOUNGE THEATRE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET The overall show is seductive, rich in character and more than just worthy. It is further enhanced by having the multi-talented award winning Terri Hanauer on board as Director, Caitlin Rucker as Stage Manager, Brad Bentz as Technical Director and Matt Richter for sound design. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET Ultimately the show […]

RANSOM, TEXAS: 67% - BITTERSWEET

RANSOM, TEXAS: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Ransom, Texas is the second production in the past year that the Virago Theatre Company of northern California has brought down for a run at the Asylum on Hollywood’s Theater Row. Bay Area-based director Jon Tracy resolutely maintains the intensity of Bivens’s father-son showdown as Vern unspools a skein of revelations that redefine Bruce’s […]

DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER (GROUP REP): 75% - BITTERSWEET

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (GROUP REP): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET This is a French farce and requires perfection every minute to keep up the comedy, and director Drina Durazo does a good but less-than-perfect job of keeping everything in order. There are problems with props (a phone cord that is way too long, a suitcase that block doors) and then there is the timing: […]

HELLCAB (ELEPHANT STAGES): 90% - SWEET

HELLCAB (ELEPHANT STAGES): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Fofi’s production would be much better if Lopes’s predominately muted, one-dimensional interaction with his colorful amalgam of riders was instilled with more emotion and greater subtlety. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET The last scene is one the most poignant and fitting for a closure and the whole show whizzes by in a […]

I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED (T.U. STUDIOS): 100% - SWEET

I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED (T.U. STUDIOS): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Some of these stories – such as depictions of anorexia-bulimia, tumultuous pregnancies, abandonment and misogynistic violence – have been explored many times in television, movies and the media. Oates’ effort to get into the heads of these suffering women and allow the audience to feel what they feel is refreshing. It opens the door […]

THIS IS BANNED: 72% - BITTERSWEET

THIS IS BANNED: 72% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Though directors Price and JR Esposito prove far more self-assured with sci-fi than horror, their ungainly staging of the latter cannot fully obscure Macher’s thought-provoking meditation on the fragile denial that enables humankind’s most destructive of impulses. Bill Raden – LA Weekly SWEET Playwright Samantha Macher has a poetic command of language. Her use […]

A OR B?: 85% - SWEET

A OR B?: 85% – SWEET

SWEET With Troubies shows, revivals, and West Coast stagings of East Coast hits making up the bulk of its seasons, a Falcon Theatre World Premiere comedy achieves event status in our L.A. theater scene. As with last year’s Billy & Ray, 2010’s The Psychic, and 2009’s Everybody Say Cheese, the Falcon has come up with […]

1969: 75% - BITTERSWEET

1969: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The basics of a good story and good drama are here, but Morgan doesn’t provide adequate, convincing heft to these characters, or to the structure of her plot. Oddly, she saves her most effective, incisive writing for a final scene between Ajamu and Butler’s love-smitten wife Grace (Megan Weaver), at which point we learn […]

DON'T HUG ME, WE'RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 94% - SWEET

DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED (GROUP REP): 94% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The production’s silliness (in high-octane overdrive) really starts to wear thin by Act 2, though the music and dance routines are a kick, courtesy of Paul Olson’s score, Phil Olson’s off-the-wall lyrics, and Stan Mazin’s snappy choreography. Doug Engalla directs. Lovell Estell III – Stage Raw SWEET DON’T HUG ME, WE’RE MARRIED is the […]

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% - BITTERSWEET

ON THE RAZZLE (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It’s hard to say why the play’s production at Theatre West doesn’t reach the level of comical lunacy that is so obviously required. Certainly, co-directors Pete Parkin and John Gallogly have assembled a cast of game and crisply well-prepared actors who go through their frenetic paces with nary a hitch. Perhaps it’s simply that […]

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (DOMA THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Through a magical, musical tour, with memorable song and dance numbers, sure to wow the audience, such as ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz,”and “Roll in the Hay,” the audience is sure to burst their seams and roll with laughter. Bonnie Priever – LA Examiner SWEET This is an EYE-POPPINGLY riotous, beautifully produced, directed, and performed […]

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 91% - SWEET

THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (L.A. GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER): 91% – SWEET

SWEET Every Los Angeles theatergoer should be so lucky as to see a show this ecstatic. Because all this work is in service of literature that evaluates the sexual morality, the emotional fidelity, the personal integrity we all would like to claim; and it asks of these things what they say about our natures. You […]

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 88% - SWEET

2 ACROSS (SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE): 88% – SWEET

SWEET Josh (Kip Gilman) & Janet (Wendy Michaels), who come from seemingly different worlds, prove that the adage ‘opposites attract’ rings true. Each of these lost souls struggle to ultimately find the answer to the puzzle of their own life journey. Their chance meeting is rather a touch of fate, as they yearn to complete […]

BURIED CHILD (WHITEFIRE THEATRE): 80% - SWEET

BURIED CHILD (WHITEFIRE THEATRE): 80% – SWEET

SWEET In the end, this “Buried Child,” then, produced 35 years after the play won Shepard his only Pulitzer Prize, is the prolific playwright at his very best: naked, robust, and oh, so true. The Whitefire production is an ode to Shepard, ghosts and all, and a warning against sloth, envy and greed as only […]

THE WESTERN UNSCRIPTED (FALCON THEATRE): 95% - SWEET

THE WESTERN UNSCRIPTED (FALCON THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET It’s such a confident company that there are very few showboats. Long-form improvisation allows the inspiration of the moment – requires it – to drive the story; a couple months back I saw Fredrickson run wild upon a Sondheim UnScripted show with a series of intelligent, perceptive writing decisions and wildly successful character choices. […]

WITHOUT ANNETTE: 78% - SWEET

WITHOUT ANNETTE: 78% – SWEET

SWEET Improvisation is the ability to perform without preparation, about being in a moment of truth and bringing the audience with you. This connection creates a spontaneous reaction between performer and audience, resulting in anything from uproarious laughter to anguished tears – or any emotion in between. Anyone wishing to experience this sensation should get […]