Registered Critic: Bob Rich - Tolucan Times

Bob Rich is a writer/producer who has authored over 50 short stories and over 100 poems. He is a writer at THE TOLUCAN TIMES, reviewing plays, and interviewing celebrities. In 2017, a sci fi mini-novel was released that Bob co-wrote with musician BILL MAJOROS (visit TheForeignFilms.com). Bob is currently co-writing a feature film and has also written books for kids. Bob's poetry was published in NAJI NAAMAN's FOUNDATION's 2013 international writing contest, chosen as one of 54 winners from 1,362writers who submitted. Poems have also been published in two other collections. Bob's writing for charity: biographical content for the RED CROSS's RESTORING FAMILY LINKS program, authoring bio's for STEVEN SPIELBERG'sWWII history institute the SHOAH FOUNDATION, and writing for the LA MUSEUM OFTHE HOLOCAUST. In 2003, Bob was selected from 900 offices of the AMERICAN RED CROSS to receive a national award for informing the public about research on relatives and friends separated by the Holocaust. Bob has also composed a manual for the GROSSMAN BURN FOUNDATION (GrossmanBurnFoundation.org/Humanitarian).
Mar

Canceled - What Rhymes With Orange?

The whole cast is hugely dedicated, but special applause must go to Ms. Jessie Sherman, whose effervescent vitality as Amari is terrific. The lighting, sound, costumes, puppetry and props are extraordinary, taking us into another world.

For an uplifting time at the theatre for the whole family, with positive messages for kids and plenty of charming wit for adults, this production is hard to beat. Highly recommended!

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Mar

Postponed - SHOW ME A HERO

The acting and directing are riveting. Ilia Volok is completely believable as the convicted, unstoppable Alexander. The set perfectly recreates the interior of the residence in Greece, where all the heated conversations take place. We often hear stirring music, and sometimes the consoling sounds of the sea.

RECOMMENDED!

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Feb

DEAR YOKO

Anzu Lawson concludes her excellent one-woman show, Dear Yoko, by performing the classic Beatles song “All You Need is Love.” By the time we reach the end of her production, she has reminded us of the importance of loving ourselves and everyone else, including those who unfairly judged us, and those who withheld their love from us...

I recommend this witty, redemptive production.

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Nov

Good Fishermen Know A Lot About Sex

Anyone touched by addiction is sure to find comfort and understanding in this fine play. Highly recommended.

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Oct

The Outsider

The whole cast is enthusiastic. The characters are all vivid and memorable, especially the effervescent office assistant Louise (portrayed with wit and great energy by Lisa Ann Cicchetti) who becomes a surprise hit with the public.

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Sep

American Standard

Bright is a born storyteller, vibrant and passionate. Despite her serious struggles, the tone is often comical. The staging is sparse, but sound effects are clever and evocative. - Highly recommended.

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Sep

The Spanish Prayer Book

The cast is totally committed, making all the relationships believable. The direction is focused, bringing clarity to every emotion. The set is dazzling, with three large panels displaying different imagery during every scene, from sunlit trees, to magnificent paintings.

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Aug

Boeing Boeing

The cheerful, polished acting and directing make the play effervescent. The bright lighting and realistic props for Bernard’s residence make for an engaging, believable set.

The cast and crew said they wanted to leave the audience feeling great joy. Thanks to a show that combines the physicality of Charlie Chaplin with the madcap energy of the Marx Brothers, they certainly have succeeded.

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Jul

Nancy F***ing Reagan

The performances are energetic, as they navigate serious conversations with a light touch...

...Laughter helps us find release and get perspective, during a serious story. What terrific insight she has about this thought-provoking production.

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Jul

Nancy F***ing Reagan

In this skillfully produced new play, Nancy F***ing Reagan, David (Kiff Scholl) turns 50, so he joins his friend Maggie (Debi Tinsley) and a few companions for a Palm Springs vacation. They banter about the Reagan administration from the ‘80s, especially the social challenges then. Eventually, David and a friend declare their views on live television.

The performances are energetic, as they navigate serious conversations with a light touch. The set feels just like a Palm Springs getaway, with festive artwork and a table topped by wine bottles.

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Jun

(IM)PERFEKT

Her performance is alive with conviction, but delivered with a light touch. Her many creative props make the show engaging. The most compelling aspect is Olin’s confidence that freedom is possible if we can embrace the value and appeal each one of us have. Cheers to that.

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Jun

Chrissy Meth ~ A Dance with the Devil and a Journey Back to Self

Her performance is vibrant, as she portrays a medley of people from her life story...

This show is recommended for its message that it is never too late to re-discover your self-worth.

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Jun

The Masher

The play is highly compelling. We believe that sorrowful, concerning events are unfolding in front of us, thanks to the impassioned cast. Thanks to the atmospheric lighting, and a convincing set that feels like an otherworldly factory, the setting is effectively mysterious.

I recommend this production for its sobering message, which is delivered with humor and truly visceral, impactful emotion. The play is a cautionary tale, yet the humanity in the writing provides a ray of hope.

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May

The Long Gravel Road

Hats off to this writer/performer for evoking plenty of dreamlike imagery and stirring, heartfelt visions.

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May

Duet for One

Christou and Leder-Morrow are very convincing as the musician and therapist. We feel we are watching real people having intense conversations about critical issues. - Recommended

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May

The Taming of the Shrew

The acting and directing are vibrant. The story unfolds with the energy of a vaudeville play or a carnival: characters get spun upon the ground, dance together, and collapse in their chairs. Lauren Jean Lee and Sean Faye are impassioned and high-spirited, as Petruchio and Katherina...

For good-natured fun, this lively production delivers. What's more, the focus on gender equality inspires us to reflect on how peace and understanding can be a part of modern love.

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May

Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant

A new production of ‘Richard III' brings powerful conviction to Hollywood

Review by Bob Rich

“God, keep me from false friends!” exclaims a prince in Act III, Scene I of Shakespeare's Richard III. After the final act of this new production of the classic play, director David MacDowell Blue told us with clear sincerity that the world would be a much poorer place “without compassion and loyalty.” In this version of Richard III, we witness the necessity of kindness and faithfulness when tragedies unfold due to the absence of those virtues.

In the play's narrative, Richard wants to take the throne, and he is treacherous about getting there. He plots against his brother Clarence, who does not survive Richard's cruel plans. Soon, Richard has a bad dream about those he has betrayed. Richard loses popularity, and gets visited by the ghosts of his former victims. Finally, in a climactic battle, he is defeated, and his opponent takes the throne.

This production brings the drama in the story vividly to life. The cast is passionate and focused. Surging energy can be felt behind every monologue and conversation. The direction is compelling and efficient, keeping the plot moving swiftly.

The design elements add to our enjoyment. Evocative music, and sound effects like clocks and crickets and the clamor of clashing soldiers, enrich our experience.

David, the director, said this play is his favorite Shakespeare. Deep, essential questions are presented to us, without easy answers. For a philosophically rewarding time at the theater, I highly recommend this fine version of a challenging, insightful play.

Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant, written by William Shakespeare, edited and directed by David MacDowell Blue, produced by theatreANON!, produced by: Omen Kaine. Libby Letlow stars in the title role, along with Georgan George as the mad Queen Margaret, Claire Stephens as Richard's brother Clarence, Thomas P. Hanrahan as King Edward, Lauren Simon as their mother the Duchess Cecily, Sahil Kaur as Richard's love interest Lady Anne, Jordan Graham as Lord Hastings, Ayako Karasawa as Queen Elizabeth with Danny Hackin as her brother Lord Dorset, LaMont Hendrix as the Duke of Buckingham, Paula K. King as the Archbishop, Daniel Adomian as King Henry (and the Prince of Wales, and the Apothecary), with Ian Jesse Lasky and London Murray as Tom and Dierdre (the soldiers and messengers wrapped up into two characters), and finally Judith Foster Thompson as Tyrell. Enjoy the production at OhMyRibs Theatre, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood 90038, Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 7pm through May 26. For information, and tickets at $15 each, go online to Brownpapertickets.com/event/4194985, or call OhMyRibs Theatre (323) 207-8243.

* * *

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Mar

JOAN and WHAT DID THEY SAY - An Evening of One Acts

Two short plays offer thought-provoking perspectives. The first one-act play, Joan, by Bernadette Armstrong, provides a fascinating portrayal of famed actress Joan Crawford, reflecting back on her life. The second one-act, What Did They Say, by Wendy Winter, is an intimate window into a family trying to grapple with one another's differences. Both plays warmly suggest how to deal with challenging aspects of life.

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Mar

Hamlet

Leavitt and co-producer Liza Seneca understand how this character strikes a universal chord, expressing a spectacular emotional range as Hamlet wrestles with life's deepest questions. Five actors of different races, genders and ages, all play Hamlet for one act each in this groundbreaking production...

This production is a wonderful, cathartic joy.

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