Registered Critic: Vanessa Cate - Stage Raw

Vanessa Cate (they/them) is the Managing & Assigning Editor for Stage Raw and the former Editor-in-Chief for @thisstage.la. Vanessa is a performance artist, writer, and jack of all trades, and can be found on stage, in strange audiences, and in interesting situations. Apart from their work with Stage Raw since its inception, Vanessa is the Founder and Artistic Director of the feminist performance-coven known as TheatreWitch, as well as the fantasy dance group Cabaret le Fey. Vanessa co-produces True Crime in Los Angeles, and works with Butcher Bird Studios. Vanessa performs, writes, directs, and generally creates however and whenever they can.
Nov

Kaidan

With such an ambitious undertaking, wrinkles in the fabric are bound to exist. Further exploration, a refinement of theme, and clarifying the rules for the audience could have made this show great. Still, this is a fascinating look into another world, an admirable experiment, a successful collaboration, and a perfect Halloween event for a discerning theater-goer.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Oct

A Tale of Two Cities

The source material is a brilliant if sluggish read, a historical fiction that takes place in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. But the epic scope of its setting, themes and characters makes it difficult to pare down and present in a two-and-a-half-hour stage play to any great affect. In fact, the liberal cuts leave the piece neutered.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

The problem with this production is that a lot of energy is required from the performers, and the ensemble largely fails to deliver. Elina de Santos' direction is sluggish and inorganic. Kudos to Michael Antosy who, though cast in the small role of Officer O'Hara, provides the vigor the play so needs. All said, the actors are able. Colton and Cullen in particular are well cast as the saccharine murderesses. The performances just need to be dialed up — especially the larger-than-life character of Teddy, whose physicality is written to engulf the stage.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jun

Debauchers

The choreography, while uncredited, is sometimes good but mostly executed ineptly. Direction (Luciani is credited as director) seems mostly non-existent, though the actors, bless them, really could have used it.

sour - ...read full review

Jun

The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign

It's hard to say whether Hartstone achieves greater success as a writer or as a performer. Her story incorporates personal fiction alongside juicy Hollywood history. As an actress, she carries her one-woman show through seventy minutes of Old Hollywood bliss. Her character, Mid-Atlantic dialect, and singing (yes, singing!) are all on point: stylistically, you almost feel as if you are watching a scene from a 1940s classic.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

TURBULENCE!

The heart of the show (its first incarnation was an improvisational performance), is the music: polished, catchy, and consistently funny...as the race began the momentum picked up, reaching an emotional pitch during a haltingly beautiful “Power's Low,” which showcases some impressive musicality and emotion. Kudos to music composer/director Sam Johnides.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

ABSINTHE

Despite my own associations with absinthe and its mystique, the show is a fantastic, jaw-dropping and sexy evening. If you enjoy Cirque du Soleil but wish it weren't so family- friendly, this show is for you. Likewise, if you're a fan of burlesque or cabaret style performance but enjoy high production values. you will have a great time here.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Mar

Liana and Ben

What I can say for the piece is that it is ambitious. But fortune does not always favor the bold, and in this case the play is merely a head-scratcher.

sour - ...read full review

Mar

For Piano and Harpo

Considering the challenge inherent in the material, and the clear passion for the subject matter, I would have loved to see this piece achieve more cohesion and take more risk.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

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