:

Jan

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

With yet another import from Broadway on the Mark Tabor stage, it is interesting to review the rhetoric about the play against the actual product. Heidi Schreck’s play does not disappoint. Her tight, 90-minute plus monologue (with help from original cast, Mike Iveson) captivates for its very personal take on a document that we all (Mostly) take for granted.

But, if this discussion is not enough, the performance ends with a “mock” debate whether the constitution should be abolished, featuring 15-year old Rosdely Ciprian. And, wait! There’s more! Since the previous audience had submitted questions to the debaters (along the lines of “what is your pet’s name”). We must sit and wait through several of them before we are finally released. Now clocking in at a good two hours without an intermission, the evening ends, if you will excuse the plagiarism, “not with a bang, but a whimper.”

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jan

Pick of the Vine Season 18 - This Year’s Best Short Plays

The short scenes, selected from submissions by veteran playwrights from all over the country and across the sea, boast solid casts of performers that are directed by LFT veterans.

sweet

Jan

THE LAST SHIP

A play or musical is not likely to spark a revolution, but it can certainly heighten political awareness through militant anthems, chants, and hymns to pride of place and dignity of labor. While I found the music stirring and even universal in its reach, what I found equally impressive are the lyrics. Even outside of song, the musicated speech is frequently expressed in organized couplets. I could not help thinking I would like to read these words as literature of the unstoppable, timeless working class—clear and unpretentious, but still poetical, intimate and elevated in tone.

The song “Island of Souls,” which is recapitulated a couple of times, is about that place where these working folks’ souls will go after death. It’s a sad, but collectively comforting reminder that the work that labor achieves will long outlive any individual life. We who inhabit the celebrity culture need to reminded of that: Celebrities will come and go, rise and sink, get rich and go bankrupt, fall in and out of love. But our honest work will stand for generations, centuries, even millennia, as tribute to our common endeavor.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

"The Unseen Hand" and "Killer's Head"

The Killer’s Head (1975) is a curtain raiser, running about ten minutes or so. A condemned man (Steve Howie, on the evening I saw it) is blind-folded and strapped in an electric chair of the “Old Sparky” design. In a sort of faux calmness, he talks about horses and trucks as the end grows nearer. The affect on this audience member was profound and gripping. The tension ratchets up, increasing when he goes silent. Director Darrell Larson is content to have an audience sit and absorb the minutes. When the inevitable occurs, the slowest light fade I have ever seen gives a release that is perfect.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

Like last season’s Murder On The Orient, Arsenic And Old Lace is so all-around splendid, you can’t help wishing La Mirada/McCoy Rigby would do more than just one straight play per year. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a more murderously mirthful Golden Era treat.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

THE LAST SHIP

The book is slim for sure, but this production, something akin to Billy Elliot meets Once, still manages to overcome its limitations. This is mostly thanks to the hauntingly evocative score composed by none other than rock legend Sting complemented by a troupe of gloriously-voiced, passionately earnest performers and featuring exquisite design elements.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

The Water Tribe

The Water Tribe may not be everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps no wonder given that even a little of Claudia can go a long long way. Still, for those willing to put up with a whole lot of crazy, The Water Tribe makes for one wild ride.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

THE LAST SHIP

The Last Ship is one of those musicals that feels just on the verge of being something special. Many of the pieces are there, but it ultimately meanders too much and lacks the cohesion to ascend from good to great. Relying on the star power of Sting to mask some of the flaws is a savvy move that will do the show well, but based on the running time alone, this one, much like a long voyage at sea, is not for the faint of heart.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jan

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

Everything about it feels fresh, timely, and meticulously crafted, and despite the intense subject matter and hovering dark shadow of the current political climate, it manages to end on an uplifting note. All in all, this production is a triumph and should be required viewing in this election year.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

ROCK OF AGES

The more informal setting feels perfect for this show, which was always just a little bit silly for Broadway and feels right at home in a rowdier atmosphere where guests are encouraged to rock out right along with the cast.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

Nowhere On The Border

The emotional weight of the play rests on the shoulders of proud Roberto’s family. Against his wishes, Pilar has paid a coyote to get her across the border so she can live a normal married life with her husband Nardo, who has been gone for three years now, evaporated into the maw of low-paid immigrant-wage agribusiness. When we meet Roberto, he is waiting in a stretch of desert that he located on a map drawn by someone who believes he saw Pilar.

This happens to be the area Gary is patrolling, officiously geared up like an overgrown Boy Scout with a spanking uniform, advanced communications systems, and weapons—gun, knife, pepper spray, and rope. He obviously enjoys pushing his limited authority around. While Roberto’s story as a former copper miner is patently pathetic, Gary’s isn’t much better. He’s a former steelworker now reduced to helping out in his wife’s Hallmark store. He recites what he deals with on a daily basis: greeting cards, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper. Quite a comedown from his former livelihood.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

VOLTA

What is most glaringly different this time out is the austerity of the performance. The production is nowhere near as technically dazzling as previous Cirque touring shows. The hydraulics are at a minimum and gone are any pyrotechnics or fireworks or set pieces that look like the surface of an alien planet. Instead, the emphasis is on the performances and what these unearthly limber and courageously gravity-defying daredevils are able to accomplish without all the technical augmentation.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

RED INK

Steven Leigh Morris’ personal new play is beyond simply a biting, often hilarious, on-the-money treatise laying bare the immorality of corporate greed. It echoes everything wrong as our society and its “leaders” step over us all while cavalierly destroying everything we should be desperately holding dear. We need such courageous and thought-provoking artistic expression more than ever if we are going to get through this discouraging period in our existence.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

Sunday Dinner

A family so dysfunctional whose members, idiosyncratic in themselves, comes together, occupy Tony Blake’s Sunday Dinner. The playwright also directs this fine cast. The family springs to life under Blake’s intricate machinations, as one stunning revelation follows another. Typical of Theatre 40’s best work, this cast works well together. There is never a dull moment in the Matera family, and you’ll be entertained until the dinner is in shambles. Few families could survive the extent of these revelations; mercifully, however, there is redemption by the end the evening.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

The Water Tribe

"[The Water Tribe] left me thinking about the characters days and days after I had seen it." 8 out of 10 - A GOOD SHOW!

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

It's Only A Play

With ticket prices maxing at a mere $25 (and half that if you shop around for discounts) and performances that more than hold their own against those you'd see in houses charging three or four times that much, It’s Only A Play is easily the best theatrical bargain in town. It might also end up the funniest, best acted comedy of the season.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

ROCK OF AGES

In 2005 Matthew Weaver created the multi-genre entertaining musical Rock of Ages in Los Angeles. It debuted as a new kind of musical at the King King club on Hollywood Blvd. With its success, it was made into a motion picture, and also opened on Broadway. After performing over 2,350 shows, Rock of Ages earned 5 Tony nominations, and branched out to 20 productions worldwide. It appeals to all ages who appreciate 30 hit classic rock songs from the 80s. Now it's back in Hollywood and so much fun to watch.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

It's Only A Play

Directed by Aric Martin with a real appreciation of McNally's wit and a keen sense of how to keep the actors moving at a pace that perfectly reflects their intense emotional turmoil, IT'S ONLY A PLAY now onstage at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica takes us inside the master bedroom suite of producer Julia Budder's luxurious Manhattan townhouse where the cast and production team are gathering, while a who's who list of celebrities is gathering to eat and drink their way into the wee hours of the morning after the opening night of Peter Austin's new play as he anxiously waits to see if his show is a hit. McNally runs with the idea, taking no prisoners across two acts boasting almost as many Broadway name-drops as punch lines, all delivered with perfect comic timing by a cast of talented actors who know how important it is to both give and take with each other as the wide range of human emotions overcomes the "stars" who hope and pray this play will revive their struggling careers. And all the while, the laughs abound non-stop.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

If young Heidi and Shek can believe in the constitution then so can I. I did not leave the theatre feeling frightened and crazed. I felt hopeful. And excited to go home and review my pocket constitution.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

VOLTA

Experiencing the jelly-limbed Brazilian beauty Vanessa Ferreira Calado’s sublime hair suspension alone is worth the price of admission to see Volta. She is the enchanting sorceress Circe of Cirque.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

ADS
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes
  • CHARLEY'S AUNT
  • Joyfully shedding the invisibility of aging!

Featured LemonAide