Non-Registered Critics: Bill Reese

This critic’s landscape reaches near and far with experiences in entertainment, dining and travel that have simmered for a span of at least 50 years on both coasts. Bill’s focus now centers on Southern California and its treasures peeking from beneath those gyrating palms so prevalent in those enticing touristy ads. The foundation of my expertise hops, skips and jumps around, encompassing both undergraduate and graduate degrees from respected state and private universities on the east coast with concentrations in Speech, Theatre, Reading, Social Studies and English. A twenty-five year career in secondary education buttresses my expertise for this blog including a multitude of hands-on directorial achievements with major theatre productions in an educational setting. Further, as a theatre enthusiast, I regularly travel to NYC, feasting on a potpourri of several hundred Broadway shows. These memorable experiences foster not only a booming creative growth, but also a thirst for theatre history and traditions as well. New horizons eventually beckon in the direction of the Pacific Ocean and my wife and I transplant ourselves to the San Diego, CA region in order to be closer to our extended family (3 boys, their spouses and five grandchildren). Along the way, two different theatres receive the benefits of my expertise in the House Management arena including a “for profit” resort theatre and a major regional theatre – La Jolla Playhouse. And here I am, anxious to share a lifetime of drama with my readers as I plunge into the next adventure by land, by air and by sea. At times the journey may be dizzying, but it clearly will be enervating for all.
Sep

Hannah and the Dread Gazebo

This critic is versed more than many in Korean history since WWII; however, because of the constant shifting of focus, he often finds himself adrift in a sea of dumbfoundery.  Yes, it is obvious that identity is at the core of this dramedy and the ground on which these characters trek remains always unsteady. Unfortunately, though, the search for connections exhausted this reviewer after awhile.

sour - ...read full review

Aug

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Yes, this ensemble is a whirling flurry of activity, representing the highs and lows of the human condition and offering food for thought.  Not only that, collectively they issue a call to action for any sideline sitters among us.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Bronco Billy - The Musical

The musical comedy stirs up a frenzy of silliness along the trail while permitting a pause here and there for the inevitable love stories of the Native American couple and, of course, Bronco Billy and Lilly/Antoinette. The show aims to tickle the funny bone of big kids and little ones alike.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Dinner With Friends

Michael Yavnicli directs with a knowing take on the complexity of relationships. The rhythms of the piece are right on the mark. The character interpretations are fine-tuned.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

At The Table

The bottom line: the entire ensemble does extraordinary work with this play.

Director Judith Moreland, with assistance from Justin Lord and contributions from Nina Sallinen and Dolann Adams as well, navigates the rough waters especially inherent in its most raw moments. She doesn’t shirk the opportunities for laughter, though, that are everywhere apparent. The challenge of orchestrating the rhythms of the play in overlapping conversations and pacing in general registers as a commendable achievement in my book. Likewise, the set design of Brian Graves tastefully fulfills the promise of the script. Well done. - Highly recommended

sweet - ...read full review

May

JULIUS WEEZER

Director Matt Walker unleashes the gods of merriment to clown away in pursuit of silliness. There are the usual ridiculous wigs and overbaked pancake make-up plus errant limbs, nerf arrows, bungee wounds for Caesar and other hilarious costumes, too (compliments of Halei Parker).

sweet - ...read full review

May

Diana of Dobson's

The complexities of these relationships are sorted out quite nicely by director Casey Stangl, one of the area’s finest practitioners in this arena. He breathes new energy and relevance to this play. It obviously resonates for today’s workers because of both extreme money and class disparities, moving ever forward to a possible explosive result.

sweet - ...read full review

May

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

Honestly, this production surpasses the original Broadway show (these words have never been uttered by me previously in any context); he has shaped a dazzling Broadway salute to a film classic which now belongs on a theatre stage on its own merits. It's taken another thirty years, but it's finally here!

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

The Root Beer Bandits - a Rootin' Tootin Wild West Musicale

Director Leo Bwarie holds the reigns of this rip-roarin' delight which only plays until April 28. Rustle up your children, the neighbor's kiddies or your grandchildren and head on down to Burbank for a taste of sarsaparilla this weekend. No kidding…root beer is served after the show.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

Argonautika

All of these endeavors benefit from the sure-handed direction of Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. She has created a dazzling panoply of mythic proportions throughout this epic journey. All praise for her assembled team of creative voyagers responsible for the world on this stage...

The stars above could only be shining a bit brighter in awe of this accomplishment.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

Othello

See why A NOISE WITHIN serves as a shining beacon for classical theatre in greater Los Angeles. OTHELLO remains ready to take a bow for you until April 28.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Returning to the core of the entertainment, those schoolchildren deserve most of the credit for the show's success. Their acting, singing and movement are above reproach...

At the end of the day, it must be recognized that the show is top flight entertainment for this community. Do yourself a favor and corral your children (or your neighbor's children) to join these performers in Thousand Oaks this coming weekend for MATILDA.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

Fuddy Meers

Jenny Sullivan, the director, has crafted a zany carnival of ridiculous interactions. Coaxing the best efforts from such a talented ensemble of accomplished actors is no small achievement. The comedic timing of these players deserves special mention as well.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

ANNA KARENINA

Director Heather Chesley manages a yeoman's job not only with her coaching of some notable dramatic work from this ensemble, but her creative vision also deserves praise (and she excels as a traffic cop, too).

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Mar

Life Could Be A Dream

Jamie Torcellini directs and choreographs the onstage silliness and does so with precision and live wire pacing. In addition, he guides the technical team successfully in service to his vision.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

The Judas Kiss

The Boston Court's production of David Hare's THE JUDAS KISS now affecting audiences thru March 24, represents a stunning achievement by Mr. Michetti, his creative team supporting the director's aims and his sterling cast and crew as well. Take a bow, ladies and gentlemen!

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

The Rep has gathered a first class cast to essay the gruesome story penned by Hugh Wheeler...

Director Ken Nicholson shapes the enterprise with distinction. The other creatives make their mark as well with a special shoutout to the scenery design of John Iacovelli. His canvas is not the Gershwin (nee Uris) on Broadway where SWEENEY TODD first played, but given the limitations of this smaller stage, a worthy effort even so.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

"LAUNDRY AND BOURBON" and "LONE STAR"

All of the players on both sides of this double bill create something very special on the Lonny Chapman mainstage. These are two highly refined ensembles at work. Consummate work from some brilliant actors. Joining their world in Maynard was a privilege for this critic.

sweet - ...read full review

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