Non-Registered Critics: Dana Martin

Aug

Fefu and Her Friends

Director Denise Blasor finds the play in fits and starts. The production is at its best during its more up-close, intimate moments.

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Jul

Son of Semele presents MEN ON BOATS

Men On Boats uniquely captures the thrill of adventure and the prospect of discovery, with the hope of being remembered. But the play’s larger theme speaks to inclusivity: Representation matters. It’s almost as if we’re on the threshold of something completely new and undiscovered, while keenly aware that many have been here before.

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Jun

FEELING LUCKY

There’s no doubt that Fife can construct a scene: the dialogue is succinct, the conflicts are huge and the structure of each scene is solid. The text is written to appeal to a younger audience. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the female-identifying characters moved away from sexual prowess as their first line of defense/communication. Direction by Yuval Shrem is concise. He keeps the pace tight which drives the work and serves the comedy well.

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Jun

Boxing Your Demons

Ryan Jackson’s tender and ever optimistic Peter is the play’s touchstone and by far the most sympathetic character. Matt Soson’s Guy is the quintessential hard-bodied, super intense fitness instructor who will do whatever it takes to get you on the right path toward fitness. Allegra Masters’ Sheila is appropriately layered, and she finds a nice balance between absurdity and authenticity. Lighting design by Sohail e. Najafi is fabulous. Najafi uses practical lighting as well as projected images and video to create a compelling and visually stimulating world.

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Jun

The Institute for The Opposite of Longing

The Institute provides only momentary relief — a temporary replacement for what’s most blatantly and painfully absent. It’s an unsettling story told by Beamish and Peters in a creepily gratifying fashion.

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Jun

Mil Grus

Mil Grus is as ridiculous as it is delightful. The show is largely improvised so each performance is a new incarnation of nonsensical absurdity. Nothing is too sacred or too serious. How refreshing.

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Jun

Ready Steady Yeti Go

David Jacobi’s new play Ready Steady Yeti Go is a satirical comedy that narrows its focus on a white community’s response to a hate crime told through a middle-schooler’s point of view. The Rogue Machine’s snappy, playful production maintains poignancy despite the script’s ultimate shortcomings.

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Jun

A Streetcar Named Desire

Director Jack Heller hones a classic, straightforward version of Streetcar. The play’s arc and tempo hit all the right notes, while the production design is appropriate and the acting ranges from decent to excellent...

Dance On’s production features a cast considerably more mature than the characters they portray, inevitably altering the play’s intended meaning and inadvertently creating a new and unintended narrative. The characters’ actions and behavior become a bit ridiculous rather than young, fiery and forgivable. It’s just not the play Williams intended.

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Mar

The Mother of Henry

Fernández uses gently provocative storytelling to convey the horrors of war from a mother's point of view. Though her frequent use of magical realism is refreshing, the script is sometimes weighted down by frivolous domestic drama. The play maintains a staunchly optimistic tone despite the grim socio-political realities, and despite the difficulties Connie faces. - RECOMMENDED

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Feb

Rabbit Hole

2Cents Theatre Group's current incarnation of Rabbit Hole is decent, with the potential to be exceptional.

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Feb

Last Call

Last Call is more unsettling than it is darkly funny. The intriguing part of the story is the relationship between the aging, ailing parents and the way the family copes with their imminent decline. But the story spends most of its time focusing on the quibbles of the petty, immature siblings. We never get to the heart, the pain or the humor of the story — the kids are too busy bickering.

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Jan

Forever Brooklyn

A nostalgic, unsentimental flashback to simpler times, the story is predominately told through silly, satirical song spoofs and sweet-but-surface impersonations. While the storytelling is often charming, the script ultimately lacks chutzpah.

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Dec

middle8

Middle8 certainly shows sparks of promise; the acting is good and the music is grand. But the story's many loose ends dilute the play's overall impact. Ultimately though, it's a tale as painfully ordinary as it is relatable: some dreams just don't come true.

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Nov

KING LEAR

King Lear at Zombie Joe's Underground feels like a visit to your crazy uncle's house —dramatic, quick and weirdly comforting.

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Nov

Cost of Living

Cost of Living manages to depict humanity at its most vulnerable. None of the characters are victims, nor do they elicit sympathy of any sort. They're flawed, struggling, trying their best to get by and take care of those they love. They struggle to create meaningful, dignified connections with one other but mostly remain lonely. It's deeply, hauntingly familiar. - RECOMMENDED

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Nov

THE COLOR PURPLE

Musical director/conductor Patrick Gandy has worked wonders with an already outstanding ensemble of singers. The music is energetic and precise. Director/choreographer Jeffery Polk organizes the staging well, keeps the pace tight and creates lively choreography. Sound designer Julie Ferrin slightly misses the mark as the band sometimes overpowers the singers. Dana Rebecca Woods' costume design is detailed and attractive. - RECOMMENDED

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Nov

SHE LOVES ME

The musical's saccharine exterior belies its more serious subject matter. It's strangely bright considering it involves attempted suicide, infidelity and workplace politics. Everything is treated in sitcom style. The characters are unwaveringly optimistic about love, despite their heartbreak and loss. Still, it's a classic, old-school musical, and its current incarnation at Actor's Co-op offers plenty of charm, though comes up short on authenticity.

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Oct

Señor Plummer's Final Fiesta

Ultimately Señor Plummer's Final Fiesta is a celebration of family and community, and it's entertaining as hell. Marvels, magic, and moments brilliance abound. The Rogue Artists Ensemble have created something truly special, a certain source of pride for the whole city. And that's no tall tale. - RECOMMENDED

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Oct

BABY EYES

Baby Eyes is a fascinating re-imagining of the relationship between the Greek god Zeus and young Ganymede. The story navigates the dynamics of several intimate relationships affected by ingrained racism, misogyny, sexual orientation, gender identity and power. Underscored by the painfully beautiful bellows of Billie Holiday, Baby Eyes draws you in and then makes you hurt. - RECOMMENDED

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Sep

Native Gardens

Native Gardens is a beautifully crafted botanical metaphor that deserves more weight and exploration of the subject matter. It is lovely, but it doesn't dig deep.

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ADS
  • DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic
  • Fefu and her Friends at the Odyssey Theatre
  • Give Up the Ghost at the First Christian Church of Whittier

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