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Christian Maltez (l.), Alex Miller and Kevin Ferris in "Wild Songs and Naked Souls" at the T.U. Studios. Photo: Mathew Caine @ Studio Digitrope.

WILD SONGS AND NAKED SOULS: 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Gloria Gifford, with a cast of over twenty artists allowed each performance to be distinctive. At no time was there a moment when the attention was not exactly where she intended, nor was the pace lagging. Entrance and exits were flawless. A visionary, Gloria has brought classic writers and poets to North Hollywood [...]

Frank Gangarossa andJack Kutcher in "The Petrified Forest" at Theatre West. Photo:  Charlie Mount.

THE PETRIFIED FOREST (THEATRE WEST): 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET It is a solid example of the Modernist movement in literature, and of high-stakes drama that is surprisingly still relevant and as wildly entertaining today as it must have been in 1935 when it was written. Patrick Hurley – LifeInLA SWEET Is there a chance for Gabby’s and Alan’s romance? Will Duke and his [...]

CLASSIC COUPLES COUNSELING: 57% – BITTERSWEET

CLASSIC COUPLES COUNSELING: 57% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET So…what if Lady MacBeth had been diagnosed with OCD, manifest through excessive hand washing? What if The Taming of the Shrew’s Petruchio was discovered to have been bipolar in his treatment, entreaties and then mistreatment towards Kate? What if Ophelia’s prime complaint towards her mate, was that she just thought Hamlet was “wishy washy” [...]

Michele Bernath and Patrick Burke in "Boeing Boeing" at the Lonny Chapman Theatre. Photo: Sherry Netherland.

BOEING BOEING (GROUP REP): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Now in a new revival well paced by director Larry Eisenberg, Group rep’s actors don the international robes and dish out the divergent flavors with some style and flair. Don Grigware – BroadwayWorld SWEET Yes, this play is funny, especially as it picks-up steam in the second and third acts. But there is more, [...]

Jake Silbermann, Malcolm Madera and Robert M. Foster in "Derby Day" at the Elephant Theatre. Photo: Alex Moy.

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 [...]

Kevin Brief, Meredith Thomas and Nick Stabile in "The Trip Back Down" at the Whitefire Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

THE TRIP BACK DOWN (WHITEFIRE THEATRE): 62% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET A full-throttle Whitefire Theatre revival revs “The Trip Back Down” up for a new spin, but unfortunately doesn’t restore John Bishop’s dated 1975 NASCAR-themed drama to street-legal status. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET Taking us into the world of competitive racecar drivers in 1975 … from the bawdy “rough ‘n tumble” lifestyle, to [...]

Thomas Vincent Kelly and Sal Viscuso in "A Steady Rain" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo by Enci.

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 [...]

Hannah Yelland and Jim Sturgeon in "Brief Encounter" at The Wallis. Photo: Jim Cox.

BRIEF ENCOUNTER (THE WALLIS): 90% – SWEET

SWEET It’s an absolutely beguiling production, psychologically simple but stylistically as rich as a tapestry. Steven Leigh Morris – LA Weekly SWEET If you love the movie (and what emotionally sentient human being doesn’t?), you’ll surely get a kick out of Kneehigh’s ingenious homage. Charles McNulty – LA Times SWEET While it’s all a bit [...]

"Obama Spy Drama" at Acme Comedy. Photo: Kate Hagerty.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Erin Pineda, Tom Fonss and Brendan Hunt in "Bunny Bunny – Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy" at the Falcon Theatre. Photo by Chelsea Sutton.

BUNNY BUNNY GILDA RADNER: A SORT OF ROMANTIC COMEDY: 82% – SWEET

SWEET Writer Alan Zweibel, who was one of Gilda’s closest friends – he created Roseanne Roseannadanna – from the beginning of her professional career to her death in 1989, penned Bunny Bunny to keep Gilda’s memory alive…how lucky for us as we witness a triple threat production now onstage at the Falcon Theatre: great writing, [...]

Maria Tomas, Vincent Guastaferro, David Fraioli and Jonathan Kells Phillips in “On The Money” at the Victory Theatre. Photo by Tim Sullens.

ON THE MONEY (VICTORY THEATRE): 95% – SWEET

SWEET It’s a barnburner. Don Shirley – LA Stage Watch SWEET It is a brilliant revelation of human emotion exquisitely executed by a truly stellar cast. This is live theatre at its very best. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET The Victory Theatre Center has done a remarkable job with this production. The set is [...]

Tim Settle and Neil Thomas in "Jason and the Argonauts" at the Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center. Photo: Company.

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Visible Fictions obviously believes in trusting its youthful audience; it speaks up to kids, rather than down. Consequently, the sheer energy, intelligence and fun of Jason had all its onlookers responding with whoops of laughter and joy. Daniel Padden’s evocative musical score also helped set appropriate moods. Willard Manus – Total Theater SWEET Two [...]

WALKIN’ IN A WINTER ONE-HIT WONDERLAND (FALCON THEATRE): 86% – SWEET

WALKIN’ IN A WINTER ONE-HIT WONDERLAND (FALCON THEATRE): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Unlike their previous year-end offerings, based either on popular children’s TV specials (The Little Drummer Bowie, A Charlie James Brown Christmas) or on beloved movie hits (It’s A Stevie Wonderful Life, A Christmas Westside Story), Walking In A Winter One-Hit-Wonderland dispenses with storyline, big-cast production numbers, and even its usual second act to simply [...]

Jude Evans, left, and Anthony Backman in "Christmas 2" at T.U. Studios. Photo: Chris Gregson.

CHRISTMAS 2: 58% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET It eventually becomes apparent that this overlong play, at nearly 2½ hours, is a bit too much of a good thing. Certain sprawling and discursive plot lines could be easily trimmed, an adjustment that could make this “Christmas” a perennial pleasure. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times BITTERSWEET The whole shebang, while often hilarious [...]

Katie Rubin in "Why I Died, A Comedy!" at the Hudson Theatre. Photo: Michael Lamont.

WHY I DIED, A COMEDY!: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Keyed up and wildly gesticulating, Rubin divulges her episode of deep depression, which prompts an investigation of Sufi mysticism. As an exasperated Stan laments toward the end of the show, his accent mysteriously absent, “I just don’t understand what you’re doing here.” Neither do we. Pauline Adamek – LA Weekly SWEET Tough but hilarious, [...]

Matthew Floyd Miller and Jamie Torcellini in ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ at the Falcon Theatre. Photo by Chelsea Sutton.

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP (FALCON THEATRE): 93% – SWEET

SWEET The Falcon Theatre wows with its current hour-and-45 of non-stop, sidesplitting hilarity: Charles Ludlam’s 1984 “The Mystery of Irma Vep.” Two very talented and versatile actors, Matthew Floyd Miller and Jamie Torcellini, inhabit multiple roles using the utmost of their physical comedy expertise and impeccable comedic timing to delight the audience with the high [...]

Heather Anne Prete, Jack Stehlin, and Burt Grinstead in "The Creditors" at the Odyssey Theatre. Photo by Ron Sossi.

CREDITORS (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Well written, well presented, and well worth your time. Cynthia Citron – Cynthia Citron SWEET Director David Trainer has crafted a masterful tableau that reaches into the souls of the three protagonists and rips out their secret anxieties, only to fling them at each other with the deadly venom of revenge. Jose Ruiz – [...]

Alex Smith and Laurie O'Brien star in "Lake Anne," at the Road Theatre on Magnolia. Photo: Deverill Weeks.

LAKE ANNE: 60% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER Awash with clumsy, filler-laden scripting and uneven performances, Marthe Rachel Gold’s play revolves around Anne (Laurie O’Brien), a former star dancer bitterly mourning a career shipwrecked by the birth of her son Will (Alex Smith), now 23 but mentally stuck in pre-adolescence. Philip Brandes – LA Times SWEET They are known for doing world [...]

Leigh Golden, Craig McEldowney, Natalie Hope MacMillan and Chris Cooke in "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" at Crown City Theatre. Photo: Company.

I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE (CROWN CITY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Truly a musical treat for eveyone! Lorenzo Marchessi – NoHoArtsDistrict SWEET As musical revues go, this show has a simple message of love and for the most part is enjoyable fare. The Crown production gets its umph and drive from its four standout performers. Don Grigware – Grigware Reviews SWEET Men may be from [...]

Reggie De Leon and Katie Kitani in "Ordinary Days" at the Victory Theatre. Photo: Company.

ORDINARY DAYS (VICTORY THEATRE): 93% – SWEET

SWEET Under these circumstances it’s a great relief not to endure these characters’ dialogue but rather instead to experience it through 18 songs, nearly all of which crackle with lively tunes and unhackneyed lyrics. Gwon has the craft to avoid forced rhymes and tired underscoring. He supplies sparkle to animate the charm of his four [...]

The ensemble of Impro Theatre in "Twilight Zone Unscripted" at the Falcon Theatre. Photo: Chelsea Sutton.

TWILIGHT ZONE UNSCRIPTED (FALCON THEATRE): 96% – SWEET

SWEET Submitted for your approval: Four random audience suggestions serve as the impetuses for four completely self-contained plotlines. Lights fade to black. Cue the iconic theme song. Sit back as this company’s remarkably adroit wizards of improvisation take you on a sidesplitting ride through The Twilight Zone. Dink O’Neal – ArtsInLA SWEET The troupe, known [...]

Ernest Harden, Jr. in “Beethoven and Misfortune Cookies” at the MET Theatre. Photo: Rob Flores.

BEETHOVEN AND MISFORTUNE COOKIES (ODYSSEY RE-MOUNT): 71% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Veteran actor Ernest Harden, Jr., best known for his extensive career in television and film including recurring characters on “The Jeffersons” and “Santa Barbara “ and roles in many films such as “White men Can’t Jump” and “J. Edgar,” ably portrays Thomas. Watching him act was the best part of the performance that was [...]

The Production Company presents Johanna Strap and Yael Berkovitch in "In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) at the Secret Rose Theatre. Photo: T.L. Kolman.

IN THE NEXT ROOM (OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY) (PRODUCTION COMPANY): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Directed by August Viverito, the play successfully extends well beyond burlesque, sporting shades of Ibsen while focusing on the struggles between the sexes, along with the loneliness, boredom and frustration of traditionally obedient women’s lives. Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly SWEET August Viverito’s direction respects all the play’s moods. This is his and Kolman’s [...]

Don Huston and Lee Meriwether in "A Short Stay at Carranor" at Theatre West. Photo: Thomas Mikulcz.

A SHORT STAY AT CARRANOR: 56% – BITTERSWEET

BITTER In a love story, the overly used device of having a character dying of a fatal disease has been done to death (no pun intended), and in order for any story to overcome such a barrier, it should include fresh, innovative, or at least satirical set of subplots to surround it. This play, however, [...]

Porters of Hellsgate present Kevin Stidham and Timothy Portnoy in "Sherlock Through the Looking Glass" at the Whitmore Theatre. Photo: Rob Cunliffe.

SHERLOCK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (ODYSSEY RE-MOUNT): 85% – SWEET

BITTER The mystery-driven first half moves at a fairly brisk pace, but a second-act plunge into Carroll’s Wonderland proves pretentious and interminable as 12 cast members in cheesy stylized masks chant and hop in unison through barely intelligible recitations from Carroll’s text. The minimalist black box set forgoes all opportunity for imaginative design. Philip Brandes [...]

John Marzilli, left, and David Ghilardi in "Greeks 6 - Trojans 5" at Whitefire Theatre. Photo: Joel Daavid.

GREEKS 6 – TROJANS 5: 40% – BITTER

BITTER The result is suspense — not for the audience, unfortunately, but for the characters, whom we must watch trotted in and out of cumbersome misunderstandings before, during and even after their quest, until we fear that we are subjects in a sociological experiment designed to test the limits of human civility. Margaret Gray – [...]

Valerie Rose Lohman and Nick Reilly in "The Diary of Anne Frank" at NoHo Arts Center. Photo: Ed Krieger.

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (NOHO ARTS CENTER): 79% – SWEET

SWEET Along with establishing a properly grim mood, the Wasatch Theatrical Ventures Production forces theatergoers to imagine how they would have behaved crammed with family and others into a small space for nearly two years. Tom Waldman – NoHoArtsDistict BITTER Kesselman’s adaptation, now at the Noho Arts Center, is a good-faith effort that fails to [...]

Diane Linder and Randy Vasquez in "Rebecca's Gamble" at TheatreCraft Playhouse. Photo: Rick Walters.

REBECCA’S GAMBLE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET Rick Walters’ dramatic direction gives theatrical life to the courtroom atmosphere; the set by Group Rep. designer Chris Winfield, makes great use of the small space, and the costumes by Emily Doyle well fit the subject. Morna Murphy Martell – Theatre Spoken Here SWEET The compelling thing about this thoughtfully written script is that [...]

Eve Gordon and Robert Cicchini in "Open House" at the Skylight Theatre. Photo: Ed Krieger.

OPEN HOUSE: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Yet Bitterman’s play, while intermittently brilliant, occasionally lapses into the prosaic — predictable plot segues that seem shopworn, especially considering Bitterman’s proven record for Pinteresque obliquity. But as a vehicle for two actors at the top of their game, the play never disappoints. F. Kathleen Foley – LA Times SWEET Zuckerman’s studied production remains [...]