Non-Registered Critics: Christine Deitner

Aug

An Enemy of the People

This is not a production that chooses to tiptoe around anything. This is a show that frames an important conversation we as a nation seem incapable of having around a secondary moral concern and it makes it work.

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Aug

Son of Semele presents MEN ON BOATS

Son of Semele Ensemble brings Jaclyn Backhaus’ Men on Boats to Los Angeles audiences with a highly physical production that elicits the terrors and dangers of exploration in a uniquely simple way...

The character work is specific across the board and it isn’t hard to align yourself with one or several of these historical figures.

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Jul

Death of a Salesman

The Ruskin Theatre Group’s production of Death of a Salesman in Santa Monica, CA confronts us with uncomfortable truths and questions about the American Dream that makes this 70-year-old play feel as challenging and immediate as if Arthur Miller wrote it for us yesterday. Mike Reilly directs a superb cast in the theatre’s delightfully intimate space situated across from the Santa Monica Airport. He and his design team do a fantastic job of using the space to bring the claustrophobic elements of the Loman’s living situation into the audience’s experience.

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Jul

American Saga - Gunshot Medley: Part 1

The overall effect is that we are walking into a different world in a different time and it is so successful, you start to relax into it – that is if you are open to it, and friends, if there was ever a play that demanded we be open and actively listening, this is the one. If you aren’t and you don’t, you are going to miss something sorrowful and true...

With work like this out there available for audiences to see, there is no excuse not to.

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Jul

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

The Play That Goes Wrong takes no prisoners and never apologizes for being as outlandish and over the top as ‘play’ can get. We ought to thank them for giving us a good laugh, especially at ourselves.

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Jul

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Director Stephanie Shroyer has taken masterful hold of Alistair Beaton’s translation of the play with a diverse Ensemble that feel quite comfortable in their many changing roles while never letting us escape the emotional experience nor forget what is at stake.

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Jul

Nancy F***ing Reagan

The subject of the play is something we need to witness, understand and discuss. The execution of it lacks the clarity that ultimately diffuses any power it might have.

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Jul

Twelfth Night

All told, no one here is doing this kind of work with the focus on diversity and community involvement that this company has had since its inception. We are lucky to have them.

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Jul

Anna St. Hesia Dreams

It turned out to be the perfect show – not only to end the day but in many dreamlike, horrifying, visceral ways...

With one actress, a couple of painted black boxes, a hospital bed, a chair, a tangled web of what looked like cords from discarded Apple products serving as the mare shell necklace and strong physical and verbal choices, Rinny and Petriello crafted a world that could make any filmmaker with a multi-million dollar budget green with envy...

This is a complex dream story about fear and sacrifice and yet it is presented with such clarity and a sense of purpose, it is easy to slip into it like a warm bath and not want it to end. It’s what theatre is about.

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Jul

Crabbe and Goyle are Dead

Director Andy Justus keeps things moving at a lightning pace while letting his two main actors express themselves at a near-continuous-shout for a period of time and both extremes make one wish we could dial them back a bit. One of the most successful aspects of the Stoppard play are the moments when the characters are suspended in doubt, uncertain which way to move next.

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Jul

Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse

Playwright Matthew Robinson has crafted a dark yet funny take on life in America 300 years into the future with Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive The Apocalypse...

...definitely keep an eye out for Matthew Robinson’s next play. He’ll make you laugh. Promise.

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Jul

The Last Croissant

This show at Hollywood Fringe Festival already sets itself apart by providing a pre-show featuring the cast out on the street where you line up and wait for entry. Thirty minutes before curtain, they sing campfire-like songs together and interact with the crowd, encouraging them to sing along as they ask if we are going camping with them.

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Jul

Rewind - A New 80s Musical

It’s the stuff that hit 80s movies are made of in many ways and the cast is costumed perfectly for the journey.  Once we go back in time, however, the story gets a bit scattered...

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Jul

Saving Cain

There are some strong performances in this show, with Lenny Hernandez as Levi standing out as the most engaging, gut-wrenching and grounded. Leah Verrill manages to keep Lauralai from looking too much like a caricature of a holy roller but she never stops moving throughout the play...

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Jul

To Richard!

Jessica Durdock Moreno wrote, directed and performed in this two-person show that was such a wonderful antidote to all of the quirky parodies and imaginative world premieres I was able to attend this year. There’s nothing wrong with quirk but a piece of theatre crafted to highlight the abilities of two actors is always going to win out, in my book...

It was a lovely time spent in the theatre and I hope I get to see these two on the stage again soon.

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Jul

Twelfth Night

It is a lovely setting for William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which opens here on Olivia and her party entering from far off in the woods, singing rather beautifully. If music be the food of love, this production’s plate is overflowing with more than the original text prescribed. When Viola speaks about losing her brother when she follows Orsino’s orders and goes to Olivia the first time to woo her for him, she sings, and she is not alone. Characters often break out into song set to a recorded track, making this feel like a musical where men and women are so moved by events they have no choice but to sing. This can result in complex harmonies from the main cast plus ensemble that totals twenty actors [perhaps twenty-two, if the men who alternate the role of Curio and Valentine take on ensemble roles otherwise]. It’s impressive to see, and hear...

All said one couldn’t spend a finer two hours and change watching theatre outdoors anywhere else. Bring a picnic basket and maybe a bottle of wine and carve out some time to enjoy the environment before you see the play and it will make your summer evening out at the theatre complete.

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Jul

And Now It's All This!

The ‘all this’ carries a lot more weight today than it did then for it now feels as though things are constantly being taken out of context, often on purpose, and then spun around to mean something much bigger or darker or insulting than was originally intended.  It would be fascinating to see where Mr. Boelter’s complete play takes us next.

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Jul

The Book of Briarshire

For any lover of fantasy, but especially for those who might have been disappointed by the series finale of a certain TV show this year, The Book of Briarshire is a hilarious must-see.

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Jul

Son of a Bitch

In the pantheon of polarizing political figures, one might be hard-pressed to find one quite like Lee Atwater, and playwright Lucy Gillespie delivers a fascinating exploration of the man and his policies in Son of a Bitch at Hollywood Fringe Festival.  Director Billy Ray Brewton keeps a cast of six talented actors moving at a furious pace yet the production never lets the audience get lost in the political weeds.

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Jul

Stranger Things 2: The Musical Tribute

No matter what happens in Season 3 of the Netflix show, we can appreciate what’s been created here and maybe look forward to seeing how this creative team adapts future seasons of Stranger Things [no pressure, guys].

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