Writer: David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses

David MacDowell Blue has been reviewing Los Angeles theatre via his blog "Night Tinted Glasses" since 2012. He has a degree in Theatre Arts and graduated from New York's National Shakespeare Conservatory. At different times, he has acted, directed, written plays and designed things from sets to lights to costumes. Born in San Francisco, he ended up raised in Florida (where he lived through twelve--yes TWELVE--hurricanes) then eventually landed in Los Angeles.
Mar

Rod Roget's Celebrity Nightcap

Remember Hugh Hefner's t.v. specials? What about the spy films of the 1960s and 70s that seemed really so very silly yet entertaining at the same time? Well, you might realize the blending of these two was something our cultural zeitgeist needed, but behold...!

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Mar

The Bindings

For me...it was an artfully created nightmare, ending with an almost explosive release and escape. Yes, the "action" such as it is, remains slow and subtle. Insidiously and brilliantly so.

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Feb

CANCELED - A BODY OF WATER

This play and production begins with a fair amount of wit, even humor. The humor remains almost to the very end, not least because what else can one do under the circumstances but try to make light of it, to laugh rather than cry in existential terror? No doubt jokes and laughter will rear their heads again after we leave these character to their...fate?Punishment? Bad luck? Something else?

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Dec

For The Loyal

I found For The Loyal by Lee Blessing very compelling. Even beautiful in a heart-wrenching way. It does what most really excellent drama does, in this case very explicitly. At the heart of the story is a seemingly simple question--and leaves it up to the audience to come up with their own answer. But only after we've had all the easy ones stripped bare.

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Nov

Romeo and Juliet

So that tells you right off this production is exciting! More, and this could use lots of emphasis, the leads and several key characters end up emerging from some very fine performances. We believe Romeo and Juliet are not only in love, but we believe their full context of their characters' lives.

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Nov

Defenders

The power of the piece lies in the reality of it. Not physical--afterall, while the uniforms look period, they remain quite dry and even the set is far more suggestive than anything remotely naturalistic. It lies in the emotional reality. We believe each of these five characters as real people. Even when they seem to be at least leaning in the direction of a stereotype, acting and writing do not in fact go there. Which means the spiral of disaster feels both inevitable yet full of surprises.

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Nov

Department of Dreams

Exactly what is said Department of Dreams? It functions as a depository of dreams, their analysis and sometimes their recycling. Citizens turn in dreams and the interpreters decide if the dream is important or trivial.  Important dreams can reveal vital intelligence, such as plots against the government or the identity of traitors. The Department of course functions as a tool of repression, as well as a bureaucracy of those obsessed with their own position.

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Nov

Romeo and Juliet in Hell

Okay, that is simply a delightful and weird premise, which is then milked for every laugh, as our two heroes seek to find a way to navigate out of their personal Hell into...well, somewhere else. Anywhere else. Along the way we meet plenty of other Shakespearean characters, generally coping as best they can (which sometimes means very poorly) with their situations. Did I mention the Devil is Bob Fosse?

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Oct

Never Is Now

It works due to a simple fact--these real lives harrow us, just by the sharing. Such truths lash out, making audiences wince and often weep. I certainly did. Which remains the whole point. If we let ourselves feel, then the experience of such memories shared changes us.

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Oct

The Manitou House

Now doesn't this sound cool? Nicely creepy? A good Halloween show? Well, it is. Sometimes, Sometimes it is not. Frankly I think the author didn't have enough time to transfer his idea with complete success to the live stage instead of film (it began as a screenplay). Many scenes are much too short, and don't really contribute smoothly to the overall feel and rhythm. Yet sometimes they hit it out of the park.

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Oct

Last Swallows

What I found going in, to my ever-growing pleasure, proved a profoundly moving family tale, a mini-epic focusing on the intimate, the little stories and dramas (and comedies) which make up most of our lives. The experience felt poignant, infuriating, often funny, but in the end hopeful and forgiving. Even grateful.

Which frankly seems what the characters went through as well.

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Sep

Deadly

Central to the entire piece breathes and sings (it is a musical recall) an amazing metaphor on many, many levels. Holmes' Castle remains haunted by those he has slaughtered, at least some of them. They turn out to be our protagonists.

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Sep

Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Most of all, the whole thing flows together as this organic and quite fun-filled whole, with an emphasis more than anything else on the feel of events--one where everything matters and nothing, where love is delightful but baffling, where humor and good cheer prove an excellent way to meet life's challenges. Meanwhile, never forget foolishness remains our birthright as mortals.

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Jul

The Last Croissant

A story of people who go into the words and are changed by it. I smiled. I laughed. I shed a tear or two while wanting to hit a couple of characters upside the head.

And in the end, I emerged from the woods a little changed myself.

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Jul

The Bully Problem

But here is my favorite bit. Its message, given in action rather than words. Hope for the bullied children of this world. You are not alone. Time is on your side. You can endure and even win. And reaching out to others like yourself helps so very very much. That in the end, the bullies are not even portrayed as sociopaths or demons but rather fools who need to grow up--I liked that very much. Honestly, I wish I had seen this musical when I was the age of its cast of characters. It would have helped. A lot.

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Jul

Postponed - FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

Quiet joys and disappointments make up most of our lives, and navigating them remains the focus of this lovely and intimate tale. We care about Jenny and her friends. We grow to know her (and her husband) better and better, so in this honest and startling (as well as funny) odyssey we increasingly understand. We hopefully gain a little of the wisdom they do. Drop by drop. Each one precious. Each one to be savored.

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Jun

Saving Cain

What this show, written by Aaron Kozak, offers proves very compelling indeed. No less important, it surprises. Saving Cain was described to me as the story of a rebellious teenager trying to deal with his born-again Pentecostal control-freak of a mother. I expected one of two things: Either a dark comedy or a polemic against a certain brand (at least) of Fundamentalist Christianity. Maybe both.

I got something a lot better.

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Jun

EXIT THE KING

Every detail makes sense.  More, every details forms part of  a dynamic drama/comedy taking place.  From the Doctor's bizarre method of walking, Marguarite's empowered way of watching, listening, and waiting, the King's yo-yo style of ever increasing panic, even the Guard's barely-successful blowing of his trumpet--all are played to the hilt and given meaning in each moment.  We don't understand, yet we do.  We cannot say why it all makes a weird kind of sense, but it feels somehow cohesive amid the slippery nature of reality itself.

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Jun

Bronco Billy - The Musical

But more--and more than the good songs, the consistently fine performances, the clever staging, the general paraphernalia of the musical--it is how the hint we all belong here, we are all misfits looking for a home, for family, for love that gives this show its power.

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Feb

America Adjacent

Yes, it decries cruelty and inhumanity--and I hope down to my soul such is not seen as some kind of agenda to stir suspicion--but it offers no solutions, no policies, no proposed legislation, no political candidate. Instead, the play tells human stories, urging us to feel compassion for our fellows.

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