Registered Critic: Daniel Faigin

Daniel Faigin has been regularly attending live theatre since he went with his parents to the LA Civic Light Opera production of "The Rothschilds" in 1972. Since 2004, he has been writing up every live performance that he attends -- theatre and concerts -- on his blog at http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?cat=51 . In real life, he works as a cybersecurity professional; in addition to theatre, he has a love of the California highway system.
Feb

THE SIMON & GARFUNKEL STORY

Musically, the show is excellent. The actors (George Clements (★FB) Paul Simon and Andrew Wade (★FB, FB) Art Garfunkel) are great performers, and capture the harmonies well. Individually (and when not singing) they don’t quite have the same voice and personality of the originals, but the personality that does shine through it good. [...] On the story side, however, there could have been so much more. It is here that the lack of participation by the real Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were apparent. The audience was left wanting for more details on the backstory, for more details on the backstory of each of the songs. The projections would have been so much better with real pictures of the duo from those days, including pictures that had never been seen before. But although there were some bits of information there that might not have been well known, there just could have been so so much more.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

It Shoulda Been You

Those who were able to make it out to the Alex Sunday night were treated to a wonderful show with wonderful performances, and only a few sound problems. Unlike Encores in NYC, these shows don’t have the possibility of extending. But if you see a production of It Shoulda Been You pop up near you, give it a try. I think you’ll find it a very fun evening.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

CANCELED - A BODY OF WATER

This show has great acting — and is worth seeing if you want to see some quality actors from the Actors Co-Op acting company. But the story itself is irritating and confusing, and you’ll walk out a bit befuddled. If you enjoy the thought questions that go with something like that, you’ll enjoy this. But if you are looking for something that goes from Point A to Point B in some form of logical progress — in particular, if you want that Point B to be different than your starting Point A, then this likely isn’t the show for you.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Feb

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Overall, I found the play entertaining and quite funny — and one that even made me laugh out loud (which is rare). The performances were strong, and the story was in essence a love letter to the people that do intimate theatre for rewards that are certainly not monetary, but are more spiritual. I think it is well worth seeing, especially if you (like me) are an audience member that loves the creativity that only small theatres can bring.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

West Adams

In presenting this story, West Adams does what theatre is supposed to do: make you think, and make you confront something that makes you uncomfortable. Theatre isn’t always a story with a light and happy ending, with song and dance and laughter in your heart. Sometimes it is the darker stories, such as last week’s The Last Ship about the death of a community when the wealthy shipyard owners close a business for economic reasons, or West Adams where we see the unspoken racism in this country as a factor in gentrification. The shows I’ve cited here from Company of Angels, Casa 0101, and Skylight also does what is very important in Los Angeles: Having theatre that is not only presented in Los Angeles, but is about Los Angeles, and tells stories that make Los Angeles think about its place and what it is doing. West Adams is also a significant show in juxtaposition with the larger story of what is happening in this country under the Trump administration, where white supremacy is increasingly out in the open and accepted by the administration. How would President Trump feel about the family in this story? Would he be giving them the President Medal of Freedom for what they are doing. All these factors make this show something that should really be seen.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

I agree with McNulty’s assessment of Shreck and the subject matter. Caution is required for those who have experienced sexual violence: there is reference to it in the play, and it could be triggery for some. But, alas, how our constitutions protects or fails to protect those subject to violence should be even more reason for people to vote. [...] This is a show every American — or anyone wanting to understand the Constitution — should see

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

DISNEY'S FROZEN

But it is revolutionary, in its own way, for a Disney musical. You have princesses wearing pants, for example. But more importantly, you have a princess story where the goal is NOT the princess getting the prince. In fact, the prince is a cad. The true love in this story is the one between the sisters. It is that “true loves kiss” that moves the story forward (and sorry for the spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie). There are some who believe that this story even has a lesbian subtext. I don’t see that — neither sister seems to express a strong sexual desire towards anyone, so this could be asexual at best. But it is a strong story based on the sibling bond, and that’s something you don’t see in Disney that often. That could be one reason why shows like Frozen and Wicked have such a strong following from young women: they center on relationships between women that are/love each other as sisters, and that aren’t centered around the men on the periphery. That’s a message of female empowerment, something that is decidedly not the Disney of Yore.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

THE LAST SHIP

In the end, am I glad I saw the show? Yes (and not only because I discovered that the Mezzanine seats in the Ahmanson aren’t bad at all). The music has grown on me, and now I understand the story. Perhaps some years down the road a revival of the show may figure out how to adjust the stories to strengthen it. It wasn’t bad. Just not great. It is clearly moving in the right direction.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Nov

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: A Live Musical Radio Show

As I said, I normally do not like most Christmas shows, especially if they get too religious. But this one, well, was a lot of fun. The story is a clever one, with the right amounts of sentimentality and humor. It was well performed, with engaging performers who were clearly having fun with their roles. It makes a religious point, but one that isn’t too offensive if you aren’t Christian. As Christmas plays go, this was really quite enjoyable.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

IN TROUSERS

There are some strong performance, and the story provides the missing piece for the Falsettos trilogy, but it is also a bit confusing.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

BLUE MAN GROUP

In general, the Blue Man Group was, well, the Blue Man Group. Strange. Silly. Wordless. Playful and curious. Childlike and childish. There were sequences that were great (such as the paint marshmallows). Audience participation was fun. But there was something off. The energy and madness was toned down a notch. It wasn’t the craziness I remembered from Vegas.

I can’t quite pinpoint the problem. Was it the significantly larger house? Was it a seeming over reliance on technology, including a massive technological set? Was it the safety for the audience a tour provides? I’m not sure. I just know the show didn’t “wow” me as it did the first time I saw them on stage.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Oct

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP - A PENNY DREADFUL

Overall, it is a funny show, well executed with great performances. In the genre of farces where minimal characters play a maximal number of characters, it works quite well but also raises some interesting questions.

sweet - ...read full review

Aug

LOOSE KNIT

Overall, we found the play to be reasonably funny and an accurate portrayal of knitting groups. The women seemed to genuinely care about each other, and the resolution at the end worked well. I think the play is well worth seeing, and it reminded us of the quality performances that come out of Group Rep (we were last at the theatre in 2016)

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

Wigfield

I found the production extremely funny and extremely well done. I originally went to see it because we knew someone in the cast from our days subscribing at REP East in Santa Clarita. I left thoroughly entertained.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

A Time Traveler's Guide to the Present

The show, which was written, performed, produced, and composed by Doug Harvey (FB), turned out to be a bit more incomprehensible. A message is received from the future, and so someone is recruited to go forward in time to stop it. Our intrepid hero is the selectee, and what then follows is the mission, with lots of time travel back and forth, reminiscent of the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and about at times as incomprehensible.

On the positive side, the music was great and relaxing.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jul

Four Clowns Presents: Shakedown at the Dusty Spur!

I found this to be a really funny somewhat improvised show, with lots of clowning around. Depending on your love of clowning (independent of the traditional notion of clowns), YMMV.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Public Domain: The Musical

The songs are all cute, but at times tastelessly cute. The performances are mixed, but your mileage may vary as the show is double cast. But you will be entertained, and in and out quick.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Chrysalis

Overall, I found this a very moving and touching performance — and I’m sure it would have been even more meaningful were I, shall I say, in closer alignment :-). My wife found it extremely meaningful. I think we both highly recommend it.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Shirley Valentine

This is a wonderful story of finding yourself, deciding to live life for your self, and doing what is right for you. Although the movie might make one think this is a larger story, the original play is a one-woman show loaded with British-isms. Be forewarned, forearmed, and bring your travelogues for the fortnight. This production of Shirley Valentine was a great one-woman execution of a very funny show. We really enjoyed it.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Neighborhood Watch

Overall, the show is a great mix of humor and the weird. It holds your attention throughout, and is really fun to watch. Plus, they sell spices in conjunction with the show. It’s a long story. You’ll need to go to the show to see it, but I understand that the special spice is great on Chicken.

sweet - ...read full review

ADS
  • The Water Way - A New Musical by Brad Mendelson
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes

Featured LemonAide