Non-Registered Critics: Beverly Cohn

Feb

Human Interest Story

Unlike other plays that illuminate social issues through clever story telling, Sachs’ “Human Interest Story” sinks into diatribe much of the time by reciting the domestic and international issues with which we are dealing, from global warming to the war in Afghanistan. It is during those moments that he is on a soapbox, making the play less interesting. It’s as if his profound concerns are in search of a theatrical voice. That said, he deserves “A” for effort in trying to illuminate some of the world’s life-threatening issues.

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Dec

Key Largo

There are no particularly strong highs or lows but all this said, seeing Andy Garcia, Danny Pino, and Joely Fisher deliver strong performances makes this re-imagined production of Key Largo just a tad short of spectacular, but definitely worth a trip to The Geffen Playhouse.

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Nov

Between Riverside and Crazy

One can pretty much count on outstanding theatrical presentations at the award-winning Fountain Theatre. The latest production to grace its busy stage is the Los Angeles premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy, his multi-award winning play, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The storyline in this talented playwright’s tightly-written script, which is skillfully directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, revolves around the central character of recent widower and retired cop Walter ‘Pops’ Washington, brilliantly played by Montae Russell, who gives a highly actualized sub-textual performance as a man beset with almost an unmanageable set of life’s circumstances.

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Sep

Skintight

While walking a narrow tightrope, there are several elements that distinguishes this play from a daytime “soap” beginning with a well-written script. Add to that, sharp direction of a talented, professional cast, and a limited run vs. a serial, which is open ended. Also, there is a deeper level to this play in that it explores some elements of society’s fascination or even obsession with youth, relegating women, especially, to becoming invisible after a certain age.

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Sep

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS

Leguizamo’s “Latin History For Morons” is a brilliantly conceived piece of writing, wonderfully executed by this most gifted actor who gives a tour-de-force performance. While you will laugh you way through the evening (or afternoon) underneath it all is the hidden subtext of just what the “white” world has visited upon not only the Latin population, but the Jewish population as well. I wish this most entertaining production could also serve as a cautionary “tale” of just what dangers we are facing in our country that are manifesting in both a symbolic and actual “ethnic cleansing.” That said, if you need non-stop laughter to get you out of the national doldrums, this play is a perfect prescription to accomplish just that.

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Aug

Anne, A New Play

The ensemble does a creditable acting job in bringing these characters to life...

Technically, given the limited space and production budget, Desma does a good job with her set design depicting the Frank family home in Amsterdam and the Annex hiding place where the inhabitants try to live some semblance of a normal life.

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Jun

Bestseller

What is particularly fun about this production is the playwright bringing to life the characters being written by the playwrights, all of which are characterized by the very talented Julia Davis and Sam Spanjian...

A temporary respite would be a ride down to Long Beach to catch this very entertaining evening of theatre.

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Apr

Faith Healer

...I dare say you would be hard pressed to find a more exciting use of this genre than what transpires on that stage as the nuanced performances given by these three mega-talented actors are nothing short of masterful.

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Mar

Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole

Under the superb, masterful direction of Patricia McGregor, Dulé Hill, renders an extraordinary portrayal of one of America's most famous entertainers.

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Feb

An Inspector Calls

The superb cast, under Daldry's crack direction, keeps you on the edge of your seat as the truth is slowly unraveled.

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Nov

A BRONX TALE

A lot of talent went into creating this production including Robert Westley's excellent fight sequences and William Ivey Long's costumes. Although there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this show – excellent acting and powerful legit voices – there is nothing particularly outstanding. It's akin to a satisfying meal that doesn't stick to your ribs or cause a bitter aftertaste. It's unmemorable, but nice.

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Oct

Steambath

It has been resurrected and under the direction of Ron Sossi is currently on stage at the Odyssey Theatre. Unfortunately, this revival simply does not work.

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Jul

Arrival & Departure

Once again, Sachs has scored a hit with this superb production which will make you laugh, and might even bring a little tear to your eye as you get a peek into the lives of ordinary people and how a chance encounter impacts on their families. It might even remind you of have a chance encounter of your own. The well-crafted script also illuminates the frustration of being stuck between the hearing and the hard-of- hearing worlds. In the end, this is an aching love story woven through the prism of the every day familial demands of two strangers who, through an unexpected turn of fate, fall in love.

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Jul

THE HUMANS

Joe Mantello's acute direction keeps the action moving at a fast clip, while at the same time, insuring that everything we see on that stage is authentic with no “dead spots” in the action.

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Feb

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL

...the director, Lileana Blain-Cruz was not able to serve the script or the actors well, as one could not help thinking throughout the play that the acting at times amounted to line readings and had a rather high-schoolish feel, rather than a professional ensemble.

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Jan

Freud's Last Session

It would be impossible to find fault with the riveting performances by these two highly skilled actors as well as the spot-on direction. What is missing is real dramatic conflict. The only very dramatic, albeit kind of stomach turning moment, is when Freud has a bad coughing attack. However, I appreciated the refreshingly clever dialogue and although we may have heard these arguments before, we may not have heard them couched so eloquently.

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Jul

The Rainbow Bridge

Just like summer food, The Rainbow Bridge will give you a few delicious laughs but with no lingering pleasurable after taste.

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Apr

HARLEQUINO: ON TO FREEDOM

Under his crack direction, all the elements come together to form a cohesive, rare evening of theatre, manifesting in an outlandish combination of high and low comedy, telling the story of love and resistance in an authoritarian society. Special shout out to David Silverman for the outstanding look of the program and show art. Commedia del'Arte is not a discipline that comes down our theatrical pike too often but if you love plays, and want to see something quite different, you owe it to yourself to experience this awesome evening of very unusual theatre.

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