Registered Critic: Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Paul Myrvold has been writing theatre commentary for over thirty years, first in the Bay Area covering every kind of performance including plays, musicals, ballet, opera, circus and even a Portuguese-style bull fight. He has written about theatrical performances at all levels in all kinds of venues from the premiere theatres, such as A.C.T., Berkeley Rep and TheatreWorks, to smaller, high quality venues such as San Jose Stage Company, City Lights Theatre Company and Pacific Repertory Theatre in Carmel. He has also covered community theatre productions, college and university productions and, on occasion, high school productions. Now residing in Southern California, Paul has been commenting on shows throughout Los Angeles County and has stretched his beat to Orange County and South Coast Repertory. An Equity actor for over forty years, Paul played Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in San Jose Stage Company’s award winning production of The Three Penny Opera and the dual roles of Sir Walter Elliot and Admiral Croft in the world premiere of Jane Austen’s Persuasion also at San Jose Stage Company. He earned a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for “Outstanding Performance” in the supporting roles of J. V. “Major” Bouvier and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in the musical Grey Gardens at TheatreWorks (2008). In the summer of 2018, he appeared in the highly acclaimed Open Fist Theatre production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood as Reverend Jenkins and Narrator. Paul has performed on Broadway (most notably in the hit show Shenandoah with John Cullum), off Broadway, off-off Broadway, in regional theatres, summer stock and as a Guest Artist at colleges and universities from coast to coast. He has performed his signature role Cervantes/Quixote in Man of La Mancha eight times over four decades, the latest of which was an intimate, theatre-in-the round production at Pacific Repertory Theatre. Some other favorite roles include King Lear, Fred Graham/ Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate, Trigorin in The Sea Gull, Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown. Paul is never happier than when he is in the theatre, either on stage or in the audience, and he hopes to see you at intermission or after the show.
Oct

The Dance of Death

The cast, under the flawless direction of Ron Sossi, is superb, embodying the complex characters in all the Strindbergian twists and turns of plot and emotion... Odyssey Theatre Ensemble has mounted a classic play ideal in all ways. It is darkly, bitterly comedic, with characters who reveal themselves to possess no nobility whatsoever. It is a rare gem not to be missed.

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Sep

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

The fast-paced direction of Peter Richards keeps the action rolling, as lighting designer Kelley Finn finds just the right amount of light to keep focus where it belongs, while letting the projections create a continuous, visible presence. And costume designer Kate Bergh's choice of red suit and bare feet are just enough to establish the not-quite human nature of the Narrator.

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Sep

Walking to Buchenwald

The production, keenly directed by Roderick Menzies, is visually spare, with a scenic design by Richard Hoover consisting of three large pieces representing museum display cases and five chairs. Ellen Monocroussos's superb lighting design is crucial to the flow of the show.

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Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble has mounted a superb production of the play satisfying in all aspects. Directed by Elina de Santos, the show is fast paced, hilarious and boasts impeccable timing...This ensemble of terrific players are as tight as tight can be, playing with boundless energy.

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Sep

Silent Sky

I found the play uplifting and delightful, leavened by the inevitable sadness that is the universal lot.

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Aug

Ball Yards

With a lot going on, a scattered focus, and an occasionally lumbering pace, Ball Yards tries the patience. Director Richard Kuhlman gets the most out of his talented, enthusiastic cast, and the show does indeed coalesce to a satisfying conclusion in the last half hour or so of the eighty-five minute run time. There is treasure here, but it needs refining.

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Aug

Trouble in Mind

Theatricum Botanicum's production of Trouble in Mind boasts a terrific cast of superb players who bring the play vividly to life with comedic hilarity and searing heart wrenching drama under the excellent direction of Ellen Geer.

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Jul

Chimpskin

Produced on a shoestring budget in an intimate space at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, the performance piece, Chimpskin is an exemplar of what the Hollywood Fringe Festival is all about, that is to say, a bold experimental, non-commercial show that can be seen nowhere else...See this remarkable show before it is gone.

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Jul

HEISENBERG

Denis Arndt, Tony Award nominated for Lead Actor in a Play for his Broadway performance as Alex, dominates the stage with the quiet power of his formidable charisma. His character arc goes from deeply introspective to a glowing joy. Ms. Parker sustains her inexhaustible energy moment-to-moment throughout the play with a vast repertoire of attitudes and emotions, carrying the comedy, as well as finding moments of brief introspection and rueful regret. She is a tour-de-force powerhouse.

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Jul

As You Like It

No Shakespeareare play is more pleasing, in the hands of a capable, brilliant cast guided by a savvy director (Rob Clare), than As You Like It.

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Jul

KING OF THE YEES

With a cast of superb players expertly directed by Joshua Kahan Brody, King of the Yees is marvelously entertaining.

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Jul

Rhinoceros

Pacific Resident Theatre mounts a stunning production of Rhinoceros, with a sterling cast performing at the peak of their abilities. Director Guillermo Cienfuegos keeps the pace crisp and the action insightful. David Mauer's scenic design, with lighting by Justin Preston, is a wonder, with one particular set change garnering enthusiastic applause. Christine Cover Ferro's costume design reflects the period in high style while supporting character.

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Jul

A Steady Rain - The Broadway smash hit by Keith Huff, 2nd extension! Aug 4-20

R. J. DeBard and Andy Hoff create characters of depth and detail, of passion and heart. Their action together is one of non-stop fluidity that surges with palpable emotion. They are entirely believable, and play their roles with an astonishing intimacy. The playwright's script is nothing short of brilliant. The words flow in a torrent and the action, performed by two actors at the top of their game, deserve all the superlatives that can be mustered. Hackneyed as they are, the terms gripping, riveting, compelling, absorbing, are not sufficient to describe the affect on an audience. The action literally pulls the audience forward from their seats, elbows on knees. The astonishing duo of DeBard and Hoff deserves a run of months, if not years. See this show.

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Jul

Welcome to Your Alternative Reality

Welcome to Your Alternate Reality is not subtle comedy, but rather in-your-face lampooning, akin to something one might see on “Saturday Night Live” only better, smarter and funnier. The short scripts are written and directed by Catherine Butterfield and Ron West, who go for broke. The comedy is sharp, insightful and very, very physical, bordering on slapstick. In brief, Open Fist has a triumph with this raucous evening of satire.

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Jul

Other Desert Cities

The play is utterly gripping, utterly fascinating. Other Desert Cities is a playwriting tour de force with fully-formed, three-dimensional characters that, when infused with life by excellent actors, can make the audience giddy with laughter and later make it lean forward in pin-drop moments of rapt attention.

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Jul

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble production of “Jacques Brel…” boasts an ensemble of four singer/dancers — Marc Francoeur, Susan Kohler, Miyuki Miyagi and Michael Yapujian — who sing with urgent, powerful emotion songs of love and loss,...Imani Alexander and Dara Weinberg have given the cast plenty of busy, energetic choreography, which is executed with eager precision.

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Jul

The Cake

The Cake, Bekah Brunstetter's superb new play, is a ninety-minute wonder spiked with moments of high hilarity as well as scenes of ripe emotion that sear the heart.

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Jun

Animal Farm

As political satire, Animal Farm works well, but there is little in the way of genuine emotional content. The death of the stalwart stallion, Boxer (Max Lawrence), means to be touching, but, in its inevitability, fails to move.

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Jun

The Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice mixes romantic comedy with tense, emotional cruelty, prompting laughter in an audience as well as dismay at the outrageous usage that a Jewish moneylender, Shylock (Alan Blumenfeld in a terrific performance), must endure.

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Jun

In the Valley of the Shadow

The show is cunningly cast with superb actors, four of whom double in strikingly different characters...The show benefits from an excellent creative staff, starting with smart, fast paced direction by Elina de Santos.

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