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.
May

The Price

The Price, under the sure-handed direction of John Henry Davis, has a cast that plumbs the depths of emotion with world-class assurance, surfing the surging and relaxing waters of passion with skill and confidence.

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May

Anna in the Tropics

...as my better half and I strolled to the car for the ride home, I conjectured that the play is Shakespearean, even biblical, with a flawed king, his ambitious bastard half-brother, straying marital partners, and a charismatic stranger who upsets whatever fragile balance was extant.

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May

JULIUS WEEZER

With astounding energy, the company rocks out singing and dancing to the music of Weezer, improvising on the fly in the best commedia tradition. They bond with the audience at the get-go, talking to them, bringing some on stage, cruising in the aisles, inviting them to participate vocally from their seats in chants and more. As a relative newcomer to LA, this show is my first contact with Troubadour Theater Company. I assure you it will not be my last. My best girl and I had a ball!

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May

Crime and Punishment

Mr. Trevino dominates in a whirlwind of emotion as he prowls the stage hunched and anguished in his guilt and resentment. His head bends and shakes in desperation. He has more tender moments with the female characters, except for the hunched old pawnbroker. His emotional anguish surges out as in a Greek tragedy, when the corresponding emotions of sorrow and pity infects those in the audience.

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May

Boxing Lessons

Boxing Lessons is a ninety-minute wonder, skillfully directed by the company's artistic director, Jack Stehlin, abetted by a sterling creative staff that shoehorns a production rife with detail into the minimal space of a forty-plus-seat theatre.

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Apr

Diana of Dobson's

Impeccably directed by Casey Stangl, this ensemble is top drawer. I need to point out that the delightful Lynn Milgrim as Mrs. Whyte-Fraser and the polar opposite character, Old Woman, is exquisite. Ben Atkinson, as a hyper-efficient hotel waiter and later as a London Bobby, is just as he should be. Though it may be hard to pull one's eyes away from heated conflict, glance over at Jazzlyn K. Luckett as a hotel servant as sparks fly center stage. She does not pull focus, simply reacts. I guarantee you will smile.

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Apr

The Things We Do

The Things We Do is a series of short scenes, with each character spotlighted to deliver soliloquys to the audience revealing their innermost thoughts. The bang-up sex scene and a hairbreadth escape when Sara's husband comes home, kicks the play in to a high gear that the subsequent scenes cannot sustain. The excellent cast does the best they can, but, as the end of the play nears, the action slows down into inevitability and inertia.

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Apr

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The house was packed with families and children, some of them very young. Mr. McAdams, in an excellent curtain speech, explained that the company brings a rigorous experience to the young people who participate and that rigor was to be expected in the evening's performance. Indeed. There is cruelty and death in the show, as well as humor and joy...

Under the excellent direction of Debbie Devine, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is impeccably mounted by the first class creative staff of set designer Keith Mitchell; video designer Matthew Hill; lighting designer Dan Weingarten; sound designer Christopher Moscatiello; and costume and doll designer Shannon Kennedy. Brianna Zamora manages the stage with authority.

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Apr

FALSETTOS

The vocal prowess of the cast is awesome. The score consists of thirty-seven numbers boasting rapid-fire patter songs and ballads of emotional power. The three men—von Essen, Adams, and Blaemire—have terrific range and finesse, and the boy, Jacobs, matches them with his wonderful, pre-pubescent soprano. The score calls for tight harmonies, with exquisite, achingly winsome, slightly dissonant chords. But wait! All the actors, including the boy, dance up a storm to the inventive choreography of Spencer Liff.

Under the inspired direction of James Lapine, Falsetto is everything one could wish for in a musical and the physical production matches the action.

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Apr

Doris and Me

Scott Dreier is an appealing personality who quickly and surely bonds with his audience. He is a superb vocalist who bends the songs to his will, displaying a myriad of styles suited to each individual song, rendered with all the appropriate emotion each number requires. Mr. Dreier is more than a cabaret artist; he is also a consummate storyteller who weaves his own personal story into the epic tale of Ms. Day's career. His worshipful reverence for Doris Day is palpable as he reveals details of his life and how his regard for the iconic star turned into a sustaining love that did not go unrequited. How exactly did that happen? Go see the show.

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Apr

POOR YELLA REDNECKS

In a brilliant ploy, the playwright presents Little Man as a child size puppet operated by Eugene Young and Paco Tolson so skillfully that they disappear, reminding this viewer of Japanese bunraku and Avenue Q...

Poor Yella Rednecks is a terrific production of a terrific script, the performance of which was rewarded by an instantaneous standing ovation from a Sunday matinee crowd.

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Apr

THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS

The Group Rep's current production, Agatha Christie's rarely done 1931 play, The Secret of Chimneys, is satisfying on all accounts. In terms of plot and characters, it doesn't measure up to her greatest creations, such as Hercule Poirot and Murder on the Orient Express, or Miss Marple and Murder at the Vicarage, but it does quite well for an evening at the theatre, even though it is an unfashionable three-act play.

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Mar

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Directed by Lewis Wilkenfeld, Matilda, the Musical is a big show with a cast of thirty performers who sing and dance their hearts out. The school kids are made up of two groups, older meaner students, and the smaller, younger kids. The choreography of Heather Castillo is a knockout, grounded, edgy and angular, executed by the cast with unflagging energy. The vocal work (musical direction by Jennifer Lin) by the older cast is as professionally competent as one could expect. The younger cast will amaze you as they did me.

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Mar

The Mother of Henry

The cast, under the inspired direction of Mr. Valenzuela, is splendid. The guitar playing and songs sung by Mr. Revell and Ms. America are like being at the Fillmore or Winterland back in the day.

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Mar

Faith Healer

Brilliantly directed by Ron SossiFaith Healer is a powerful, absorbing drama of the highest caliber served up by an ideal cast.

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Mar

FRIENDS WITH GUNS

Under the detailed, fast-paced direction of Randee Trabitz, the ensemble cast delivers finely etched characters of considerable, compelling emotion, who rocket to a climax without dénouement.

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Mar

What Matters Now?/! (Another Political Pop-Up of the Theatrical Kind)

The setting is comfortable; the tenor of the playlets is not. The evening is bitter, angsty, and darkly humorous; a theatrical cri de coeur. Given the current state of the nation and the world, the performance fits the times, sadly.

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Mar

The Wolves

The nine young actors are an amazing ensemble and an utter joy to behold. I believe this cast will be nominated come awards season.

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Mar

1=0

After this theatrical climax, an extended dénouement reveals much, and some of the mystery of the equation, 1=0, becomes less obscure.

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Mar

Home

Ms. Ma displays the physical and facial agility of a mime as she creates her characters through posture and vocal inflection...

Nancy Ma is an extraordinary performer with a great story to tell and deserves a wide audience.

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