Deborah Klugman is a freelance arts journalist living in Los Angeles. She has been writing about L.A. theater since 1986.

HEISENBERG

By design, Heisenberg is a talky piece, which makes it all the more important for its characters to be engaging enough to watch and to listen to. Arndt makes the most of what the playwright has given him, and his taciturn Alex deepens and enriches as we get to know him.

..read full review...

Love is a Dirty Word

There are so many fine elements in Giovanni Adams’ autobiographical solo show, Love Is a Dirty Word, that it’s hard to decide which to mention first: the cadenced flow of his beautifully detailed, 80-minute spoken-word poem, the open and disarming manner of his delivery, or the production’s flawless pacing under Becca Wolff’s accomplished direction. GO!

..read full review...

Welcome to Your Alternative Reality

All told, it’s an entertaining evening, with the promise of diversion from the twisted lunacy of today’s headlines amply fulfilled, although more sketches with pointed political commentary would have been welcome.

..read full review...

THANKSGIVING

Holiday gatherings frequently serve as framework for plays about dysfunctional families, and Thanksgiving, written by Tiffany Cascio and directed by Kitty Lindsay, is one of them. Although not nearly as clever as it tries to be, it features several choice roles for women, a few good laugh lines and, in the case of this Hollywood Fringe premiere production, one outstanding performance.

DOGFIGHT

Dogfight the musical (music and lyrics by La La Land creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Peter Duchan) is one of those period pieces that make the good old days appear not so good after all — kind of like the musical itself.

..read full review...

Archipelago

Director Barbara Kallir oversees an attractive and imaginative staging, but the vagueness of the play’s dramatic events and the absence of detail in the characters’ accounts of themselves make for an enervating narrative.

..read full review...

Species Native to California

....Fortenberry’s attempt to meld these ideas into a persuasive narrative comes off as more contrived than organic, and missteps in the direction and the performances render the production unsatisfying.

..read full review...

Les Blancs

Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs is set in colonial Africa sometime in the mid–20th century, and while much has changed since then, the play’s moral dilemmas and the racism and hypocrisy that give rise to them remain with us.

..read full review...

ACTUALLY

This network of psychological nuance and the abundant detail Ziegler adds to her back story makes for a top-notch narrative that travels beyond the hot-button issue of date rape it tackles.

..read full review...

The Sweetheart Deal

Written and directed by Diane Rodriguez, The Sweetheart Deal is an amiable blend of political agitprop and audience-pleasing melodrama that unfolds against the backdrop of the struggle to empower the United Farm Workers union.

..read full review...

NOSFERATU, A Symphony In Terror!

Between the choreography and the camp and the classical music, Nosferatu would be entertaining at its least. But its further enhanced by Holmes as the mesmerizing Count — the quintessence of evil and elegance, elevated to the plane of archetype. The other notable highlight is the wonderfully graceful dancing by Bolshakova, a classically trained ballerina. Both elements stand out amongst the spirited work from the game ensemble, in an imaginative show.

..read full review...