Non-Registered Critics: Dany Margolies

Sep

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS

Profound and profane, John Leguizamo’s solo show “Latin History for Morons” enlightens and entertains, delving into the triumphs and destructibility of civilizations and the human heart.

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Sep

Witch

The play is superbly cast, with strong actors in each role. Silverman’s scene endings are filmic rather than theatrical, so Lyons gets each subsequent scene on its feet instantaneously.

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Aug

Beast on the Moon

The play’s long scenes draw the audience in. The brief, choppy, interstitial scenes lose us.

But indisputable is the fine quality of the performances.

Keepsakes play important roles in the characters’ lives. Holes are mentioned often. These and other symbols deepen the play’s meaning, reminding us of what’s important in our lives.

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Aug

The Skin of Our Teeth

At the outdoor Theatricum Botanicum, a venue born from politics and political subtext, director Ellen Geer molds the humor and humanity, giving the audience just enough to piece together Wilder’s messages, pointing us to the subtlety for those who want to dig further.

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Jul

MISS SAIGON

Connor’s direction is too often static, but several illusions fill in a bit of the deficit: Thuy’s ghost appears and interacts with Kim in a nice piece of staging, and, though we expected the touring version to offer merely a video helicopter, the arrival of this loud, hovering craft pitching and yawing over the stage brings an odd relief from the seemingly louder singing.

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Jul

FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY

In sum, this makes for a strangely nostalgic, often clever, sometimes hilarious look back at a series that logic says wouldn’t have lasted a season. And yet, some of us watched all of them.

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Jul

The Skin of Our Teeth

At the outdoor Theatricum Botanicum, a venue born from politics and political subtext, director Ellen Geer molds the humor and humanity, giving the audience just enough to piece together Wilder’s messages, pointing us to the subtlety for those who want to dig further.

Her three lead actors do her, and theater in general, proud.

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Jul

Mysterious Circumstances

Smart, exhilarating, hilarious, cleverly and beautifully mounted, “Mysterious Circumstances” probes the real-life death of a Sherlock Holmes scholar.

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Jul

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

Far too often in the theater, actors can’t be heard or bits of business can’t be seen. The best to be said about “The Play That Goes Wrong” at the Ahmanson is that its entire cast can be seen and speaks expertly.

Otherwise, as ironically promised, this play goes wrong. It feels like a high-schooler’s idea of a high-school play that goes wrong, including the self-congratulatory tone.

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Jun

INDECENT

...“Indecent” is subtle, relying on subtext where needed, though providing directness and visualization where needed. The superb acting is subtle. The exquisite designs are subtle.

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Jun

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Carlotta quits, leaving room for the Phantom’s protégé, Christine. Eva Tavares gives a beautiful portrayal of her, with a rich but pleasingly light voice.

Her voice pairs gorgeously with that of Derrick Davis as the Phantom. Beyond his lusciously smooth voice, he’s a potent presence onstage, emitting a strength that allows us to believe he could perform all those feats of “magic” from all corners of the cavernous opera house.

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Jun

DANA H.

Les Waters (“The Christians”) directs, meshing designs into a web that immediately catches and holds the audience, bringing in moments of the outside world that simultaneously draw us in deeper and remind us this is theater and reality...

For the breathless 80 minutes of this theatrical work, we glimpsed over and into the other side.

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Jun

Happy Days

Dianne Wiest is enthralling. She’s warm, witty, wry. She has flawless comedic timing and a voice she plies like a musical instrument to make us listen to every note.

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May

LES MISÉRABLES

Yes, we hear the people sing, loudly if not always clearly. Yes, the onslaught of eleven-o'clock numbers in this 1980s musical pounds at our souls, without benefit of much book to connect us with the characters.

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Apr

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Performances are solid, though a few are ridiculously laden with shtick. Weil is required to play Motel as a querulous, milquetoast mess. Surely anyone who has had to ask a father for permission to marry his child can appreciate Motel's utter anxiety without watching his humiliated dive under Tevye's milk cart.

What village would keep relying on a rabbi (Michael Hegarty) who seems senile? Why does Yenta have a New York accent? And the acknowledgement of the orchestra by a character or two takes us out of life in Anatevka.

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Apr

The Niceties

The play has a few plot points; the characters alternate their dramatic status throughout. Senior's direction gives a bit of suspense to the piece. Boatman does adequate work, making Zoe an overenthusiastic young student with little respect for her elders, creating a single-minded but not one-dimensional character.

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Apr

FALSETTOS

The singing voices are beautiful. Each performer has a tone that resembles a musical instrument. Von Essen has a trumpet sound. Blaemire's voice could be a cello. Espinosa could evoke most of an orchestra. And all the actors so fully embody their characters that we are onstage and in their lives with them.

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Apr

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Its performers are indeed at the top of their games. And they loft this production into the starry skies that Charlie and Willy Wonka eventually rise through in one of the shows' many show-stopping, heart-stopping moments.

The songs are brightly varied, if not particularly memorable. Best among them are the still-delightful “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination,” written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the 1971 film version of this story.

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Mar

Black Super Hero Magic Mama

Although the writing isn't ready for a premiere yet, the designs are. Scenic designer Myung Hee Cho has placed the action high enough onstage that everyone in the theater, even those not seated in the risers, can see, and the revolving stage lets us see Tramarion's bedroom from various viewpoints, while other brief scenes can play out elsewhere without too much slowing of the action...

This play has the potential to say something important on her still relevant topic. As of now, however, the play is still searching for the right words.

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Mar

FOR THE LOVE OF (OR, THE ROLLER DERBY PLAY)

More problematically, however, the storytelling is too weak to build up any speed. Minor skirmishes among the players are fun but don't amount to dramatic conflict. But the quarrels between Joy and Michelle are no different from those which any young couple faces: changing interests, differences of opinion on where to live and how much to spend.

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

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