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.
Jul

The Nerd, by Larry Shue

The cast members are excellent actors, many of which I have seen before. The players put tremendous energy into the action. Director Don Schlossman seems to have pushed the players into such over-the-top action that it could said that they “chew the scenery,” and are, perhaps, more than a little “downwind of upstage.” Their earnest efforts do evoke some audience laughter, but not the gales that might be hoped for.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jul

Dancing at Lughnasa

Under the superb direction of Barbara Schofield, this cast of seasoned pros crafts a performance that goes straight to the heart, with affecting joy and sadness. The characters are all thoroughly grounded, rounded, and nuanced, each individual character unforgettable.

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Jul

An Enemy of the People

With Ellen Geer vigorously adapting the Ibsen text as well as directing along with Melora Marshall, the play resonates with the concerns of today–the ever-creeping racism poking its ugly head up on a daily basis; the degradation of our planet; the careless, heedless rule of the politically corrupt. Christopher W. Jones as Doctor Stockman delivers some steamy, righteous sermons to the cast onstage, and then proceeds off the stage and up the stairs into the audience to drive his message home. We become the choir that is preached to.

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Jul

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Stephanie Shroyer directs The Caucasian Chalk Circle, marshaling the large cast with extraordinary verve and precision. The splendid ensemble includes John Apicella, Noel Arthur, Paul Baird, Gabriela Bonet, Turner Frankosky, Troy Guthrie, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Alex Knox, Mehrnaz Mohammadi, Madalina Nastase, Janellen Steininger, George Villas.

The creative team for The Caucasian Chalk Circle includes scenic designer Frederica Nascimento, costume designer Angela Calin, lighting designer Ken Booth, sound designer Jeff Gardner, props designer Erin Walley and dramaturg Ryan McRee. Taylor Anne Cullen manages the stage with aplomb.

Theatre lovers, this show is not to be missed. Antaeus Theatre Company continues to revive the great plays with consistent excellence.

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Jul

Scraps

This important, extraordinary, affecting play, featuring a superb cast of actors given keen direction by Stevie Walker-Webb, must be seen. Not everyone will like it; not everyone will understand it. The same can be said of many of the great classics of the theatre. See it. Draw your own conclusions. I guarantee you will not be bored.

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Jul

Anne, A New Play

Sad, yes, emotionally affecting, yes, but along the way there are indelible moments of humor and the simple joy of life.

Director Eve Brandstein keeps the action crisp and balances the desperation of the situation with the every day hope of survival.

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Jul

Naughty with a Band

The story had more naughty to go with songs about boozy bar pick-ups, a leering Hollywood big shot who ogled her as she followed his order to turn around slo-o-owly, and sad, poignant yearnings for real love. A bright spot showed up at the end when she revealed a rapprochement with her mother, who became her greatest fan.

sour - ...read full review

Jun

Loot

Enthusiastically directed by Bart DeLorenzo, the cast often plays straight out to the audience in a Brechtian presentational style. The show is as fast paced as a farce should be, and, judging from the audience response on a Sunday afternoon, Loot is clearly a crowd pleasure.

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Jun

The Masher

About halfway through the show, my restless brain summoned up a comparison to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which often blended desperation with irony and humor...

There are a few plays that I have seen in Los Angeles, where the playwright takes control and manages a successful performance.

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Jun

Twelfth Night

The excellent direction of Ellen Geer gives the cast the liberty to play with fearless, unleashed heart and vigor...

I love this show. I love its committed, enthusiastic energy. I laughed and laughed up to very end and even found room in my heart for Malvolio. And the outdoor setting in the crisp, evening air brought an emotional response that summoned up the memory of my Ashland days.

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Jun

DANA H.

Direction by Les Waters is flawless...

Readers, this play is utterly unique and clutches my heart even as I write this. Hie thee hence! You will be glad you did, even if it hurts the tenderhearted.

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Jun

Dead Accounts

As portrayed by this cast in this dark comedy production under the excellent direction of Branda Lock, all the characters are unique and appealing, each in their own way...

There are so many things I like about this show. I loved the hilarious scenes where Lorna talks on the phone, while her mother talks over her at the same time. I was amazed by how much real food and drink are consumed in the show. The clean, detailed set by Tristan Griffin, with lights by Bruce Starrett and props by the director, represents a realistic, unpretentious kitchen. It is easily the best set I have seen at Little Fish. Costumes by MarLee Candell support character, place and action. Sound Design by Doug Mattingly is excellent, and features a terrific incidental-music playlist. Aileen Kamoshita manages the stage with confident aplomb.

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May

A Streetcar Named Desire

In A Streetcar Named Desire, thrilling theatre at its very best, one experiences vicariously a whole encyclopedia of feelings–desire, sexuality, secrecy, resentment, envy, disdain, yearning and more. The brilliantly loaded script in the hands of consummate stage artists, as is the case in this production now playing at the Odyssey Theatre, makes an audience lean forward to catch all the powerful passion as the sense of time disappears.

Director Jack Heller holds the reins on the often-explosive dynamics of the play, guiding the players with finesse to many moments that are searing or wistful or intimidating.

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May

Bronco Billy - The Musical

I can easily envision this show being produced in New York and at regional theatres across the country, and, eventually, picked up by colleges and community theatres. Personally, I had a great time at the theatre on opening night.

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May

M. Butterfly

I give away no secrets here, all this is exposed in the first minutes of this extraordinary play being given an excellent production at South Coast Repertory.

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May

Mama Metal

Since Mama Metal is a “mama play,” the playwright has seen fit to plug in a surprising theatrical device to gin up the story in a most delightful way with the appearance of a couple of characters. It is one of the best things in the show and too good to reveal here. You want to know? See the show.

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May

At The Table

The cast of eight perform their parts in a rather rapid pace, sometimes speaking between and on top of each others conversations–a method of communication that actually occurs in so-called “real life” when familiar groups gather to meet, greet, and bicker! This method of dialogue emoted is what makes this play work! One will actually feel much like that “fly on the wall’ to spy upon the deep secrets each one of these folks experience, for their better or for their worse!

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May

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

It may be A BAD YEAR FOR TOMATOES, but it is a good year for Theatre 40 as this troupe is set to begin their fifty-fourth season with six unique plays that consist of three world premiers, two American premiers, and a pair of Los Angeles premiers. There will be comedy, drama, and all points in between.

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May

The Long Gravel Road

Again, this solo show as presented on Theater West's stage is more of a poetic slam that doesn't slam. It doesn't suck either because it's idiosyncratic! And yes, there is a bit of humor added to this mix of verbal prose. One may have to seek for it, but it's indeed present. For those that desire their stage theatrics verbiage as a stand alone, Abbott's presentation is for that fan. As the theory states, you have to be there to really receive and interpret to the message! That long gravel road is there, so take it!

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May

SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

It is rude, crude, and loud. The singing is good for the most part, although one performer hit a note so loud and high that I winced, cringing in my seat—twice, while another was difficult to hear. The dancing, well rehearsed and performed, is a hoot. There was even a brief conga line. When was the last time you saw that on a stage?

The show is as presentational as it gets with actors talking directly to the audience, touching them, schmoozing with them, and occasionally surging up the center aisle...

Shame of Thrones is energetic and the opening night crowd loved the show..

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