Non-Registered Critics: Christopher Smith

Mar

Canceled - BAREFOOT IN THE PARK

Director Michael Matthews and Rudner have worked out a satisfying level of restraint for Ethel so that Rudner’s talents for comedic reactions come less often than we expect and thus have more impact when they land. Notably, her dispensing with a piece of cooked eel she doesn’t want to eat is an example of why an evening with Rita Rudner will always lead to laughs.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

She Loves Me

A prime example of a small gem polished to brilliant shine is currently on South Coast Repertory’s main stage with its new production of the eternally under-appreciated 1963 musical “She Loves Me.”

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

Fun Home

More challenging than grim, plus often highly entertaining, this show about self-exploration is, in its execution, compelling and life-affirming.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

The Vandal

“The Vandal” is the strongest production on Chance’s second stage since last year’s galvanizing “The Other Place.” That one was must see; this one is its sequel in a “run-don’t-walk” way.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

Ragtime

The payoffs in this “Ragtime” are plenty and collective gratitude is due not just for Chance for doing this rarity at all, but for doing it so well in so many ways.

sweet - ...read full review

May

Tigers Be Still

These are vulnerable materials, but pliant and, as fabricated in this play, resourceful. Just as all the characters in “Tigers Be Still” turn out to be.

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May

Skylight

In director Oanh Nguyen's way-more-than capable hands, the Chance production neatly corners through Hare's rapid-fire tonal shifts as the protagonists grapple with each other as well as themselves. Nguyen, Chance's founding artistic director, has time after time, in both straight plays and musicals, successfully developed the humanity to be found in a text. Character foibles, flaws, their fantastic flights … Nguyen employs subtle touches of staging and timing to coax them out and to our attention.

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Dec

Jane Austen's EMMA

...director Casey Long — Chance's affable founder and managing director — threads the needle in “Emma.” The tone is engaging, the narrative through line is largely engrossing and the performances he has helped his actors find keeps things frothy and firm in equal measure.

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Nov

Kings

This being a play about politics, the audience implicitly craves knowing whom to cheer and whom to boo. But while two of her principals early on send clear good guy/bad guy signals, Burgess skillfully and doggedly crafts a takeaway that, ultimately, tells us none of these participants can improve how things are. They can't even prevail, just merely persist.

sour - ...read full review

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