David MacDowell Blue has been reviewing Los Angeles theatre via his blog "Night Tinted Glasses" since 2012. He has a degree in Theatre Arts and graduated from New York's National Shakespeare Conservatory. At different times, he has acted, directed, written plays and designed things from sets to lights to costumes. Born in San Francisco, he ended up raised in Florida (where he lived through twelve--yes TWELVE--hurricanes) then eventually landed in Los Angeles.

EXTREMITIES review

100%

Who are you, really? The question, at the very heart of William Mastrosimone's play Extremities, has no simple answer. How could it? In the end, after all, there are no simple people, only different nuances of complexity and layers. As per the title, only at certain moments--often extreme ones--do all our social masks slip, revealing something at our very heart.

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A WALK IN THE WOODS review

100%

Like many a work about an apocalypse, even a looming one, this play softens the horror with humor. Good thing, too. In many ways this becomes Honeyman's story of bitter disillusionment, of her holding on all the same. The interplay of these opponents gradually grows into precisely what she said it must never be--a friendship. As that happens, the issues behind and (horrifically) above those of the dangers involved emerge. We should leave the theatre depressed. Interestingly, we don't, but we hopefully avoid complacence.

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POPALYPT1C review

100%

Writer/director Shayne Eastin ...takes her story more in the direction of a strange epic quest, fueled by Satan's inexplicable desire for this female Mother, his efforts to torture one of her children into becoming her Judas, and the strange, fractured wisdom with which she greets this trap. Her weird world-building seems coherent in a drug-induced sort of way, not merely in terms of tone but with specific characters and even character arcs.

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THE CHINESE WALL review

50%

Something of a mixed bag, to be honest. For one thing, its style is dreamlike, with figures from history meeting out of sync with one another. One of the central characters is simply known as The Contemporary (Patrick Skelton), a visitor from our time trying to...I'm not sure. Persuade figures from history to change their ways? Try and understand them? Such a lack of linear story need not wreck a theatrical experience. Many wonderful such remain equally "dreamlike" with all the weird logic inherent in dreams. But to make it work, just as in any production of Alice in Wonderland, the cast and director need laser-like focus. Sadly, only a handful of this quite large cast show such. Fortunately those handful have pretty much the major roles, but the rest of the cast create a muddle, often a series of jokes that aren't funny.

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FREUD'S LAST SESSION review

50%

Publicity made much of the fact Freud was a devout atheist and was challenging the relatively new Christian convert, which to be fair is a running thread throughout the play. But it really never becomes more. If (as frankly I was) you come expecting to hear something insightful on the subject then you will probably feel some disappointment. Likewise if you desired to learn something really important about these two you might not have simply by watching a documentary or two about these two fascinating characters--again, you will not find that here. The play simply lacks anything approaching that power.

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ASTROGLYDE 2017 review

100%

This year's selection consists of eight tiny plays, ranging from the quite good to pretty spectacular, poignant to funny, dark to pretty light, startling to comfortable.

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KING JOHN review

100%

But at its heart we feel the tragedy of King John himself, not so much that he was an evil man, but that he was not worthy of wearing a crown. Kreiger bears most of the weight of this play on his shoulders, doing it with skill. We see into this man, most especially his vanity (the bright red uniform helps) and his lack of resolve.

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BLED FOR THE HOUSEHOLD TRUTH review

100%

Watching it made me laugh out loud, squirm in fascinated horror, almost weep, certainly look away (but always look back), catch my throat in moments of intense deja vu. That last seems especially important because in most ways my life resembles theirs even less than do each others'. In terms of detail, anyway.

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RICHARD THE SECOND review

100%

Every word and deed in Richard II costs somebody something, and this production never lets you forget it! Nobody and everybody is to blame. Everybody and nobody is a hero. Just like real life.

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WAKE review

100%

This then proves the exploration, the odyssey of this work -- not a revelation of plot or world-building, but of human courage in the face of tremendous loss. All in all, Wake does an astounding almost Haiku-esque job of giving us the heart, the soul of the story and very nearly nothing else.

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