Writer: Ernest Kearney

Ernest Kearney, an award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note, has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist three times in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His play Peddle was selected by the Midwest Theatre Network as one of the best plays of 1997. His most recent work 'The Salt Prince' was awarded honors from the Nathan Miller History Play Contest as well as the Fremont Center Theatre Play Contest. A passionate theatre and history buff, Mr. Kearney's reviews can be found on workingauthor.com and TheTVolution.com. Hang with him on Facebook. Comments welcome.
Mar

Paradise

Censabella has covered her theatrical canvas with issues of great import, the conflicts of cultures, the struggle between religion and science, the nature of love, faith’s demands over one’s ambitions, the hope for redemption, the difficulties women face in seeking scientific careers. But sadly, closer inspection reveals Paradise is a “paint by numbers” piece.

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Mar

The Judas Kiss

There are particular products, —merchandise, institutions and other…stuff— exports from the U.K., which the rest of the world sometimes finds difficulty to appreciate.
But not so we Americans; we’re just outright baffled by them.
I refer to such English delicacies as jellied eels, spotted dick or stargazy pie; traditions the likes of cheese rolling on Cooper’s Hill or encasing oneself entirely in outfits of straw on Strawberry Day, and it goes without saying this includes anything at all having to do with the game of cricket.
These certain commodities are so alien to us that the designation “British” could just as easily be “Venusian” or “Tralfamadorian.”
The plays of David Hare tend to fall into this category.

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Mar

Hype Man

One of the celebratory aspects of the theatrical experience is its ability to allow audiences the illusion of participating within any reality, regardless of how alien to their own. Theatai members may find themselves swayed by the hollow assurances of the weird sisters, shaken by a son discovering his father’s failures, or swell with the defiance of a sister’s choice to bury her brothers.
At its best, theatre spans those vast separations of time and culture revealing how shared struggles makes a community of all humanity. And this is what Idris Goodwin’s Hype Man at The Fountain Theatre, strives to do with its story of a trio of young hip-hop rappers on the very verge of breaking big.

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Mar

The Old Man and The Old Moon

The Old Man and the Old Moon is an assemblage of all the elements that made theatre the earliest and most essential of humanity’s creative expressions:

The making of myth and spinning of stories to explain the inexplicable, and tame the terrors of the unknown, the marshalling of music and song, puppetry and laughter to forge the shield of community, that indispensable armor which secured our survival; all entwined with the essence of wonder and imagination which has encouraged and ensured our evolution since the dawn of our kind.

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Mar

Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me

Miss America’s Ugly Daughter written and performed by Barra Grant, the daughter of Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, was once, possibly, an entertaining evening.
That is no longer the case.

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Feb

Hir

There is an adage in the creative pursuit of playwriting: “It’s easier to set them up than knock them down.”
How this translates, in actuality, is that there exists an awful lot of plays with very strong first acts which then proceed to unravel in the second.
Taylor Mac’s HIR currently at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble manages to be the exception that tests the rule.

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Feb

Independence

As Walker, Barnes is extremely engaging and succeeds with style and intelligence in bringing Walker’s story before her audience as well as involving them in her struggles.
The problem with Independence is not its subject, but its focus. To the point, there is a better story here than Schwartz is telling.

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Jan

Jocasta: A Motherf**king Tragedy

In Jocasta A Motherf**king Tragedy, Brian Weir and the Ghost Road Theatre Company have taken Sophocles’ classic tale of Oedipus and window-dressed it for the “#metoo” movement.
Unfortunately they have taken away the classical Greek costume of the high-heeled cothurni and the silk chitons, for the garb of a cheerleader.

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Jan

DOUBLE DOUBLE – A Meditation on Macbeth

It is intelligent, superbly crafted, utterly perplexing and thoroughly entertaining, and the creative collaboration between Zimmerman and Crockett lack only a pair of capes to qualify them as the most dynamic duo you’re likely to find this side of Gotham.

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Jan

Desert Rats

It is a youthful work produced by a young playwright…I do not wish to give the impression that I am implying the piece suffers from an immaturity, but rather benefits from the freshness of its writer’s talents. Desert Rats is crisp, bright and refreshing, if, a tad underdeveloped.

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Jan

Special

Frankly, I had high hopes for this outing at Theatre of Note, and those hopes suffered a similar fate to that of Alderaan, Princess Leia’s home planet.

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Dec

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

There are in this town numerous “ensembles” which are hardly that, and a collection of “performance centers” that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to deserve that designation. The Annenberg, under the stewardship of Artistic Director Paul Crewes, has earned their name with distinction.

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Dec

Fool for Love

Jack Knoll of Newsweek described the original New York production, which arrived there from San Francisco’s Magic Stage as “a rattlesnake riff.” The play has been called “mysterious and unsettling,” “ponderous, imponderable,” and it is all that.

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Dec

White Nights, Black Paradise

This is the caliber of theatre that tends to irk those like myself who wander the smaller venues of L.A. seeking an estimable production like Diogenes with his lamp searching the Athenian marketplace for an “honest man.” Though, I’d bet Diogenes had more success.

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Nov

A Mile In My Shoes

Writer/Performer Kathryn Taylor Smith has accomplished something remarkable with her one woman show A Mile In My Shoes. She has managed to present a show about one of the most pressing issues of our time, homelessness; and she has done so with intelligence, compassion, humor, pathos and insight but most of all with humanity.

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Nov

Bride of Blood reviewed by Ernest Kearney – www.thetvolution.com

This show should have been a wonderful evening of theatre, and it’s vexing that it wasn’t. However, for all its many failings Bride of Blood avoided the unforgivable sin in not breaking the only commandment I schlepped down from the mountain top: “Thou Shall Not Bore the Piss Outa Me.”

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Nov

Old Clown Wanted

Old Clown Wanted, a recently mounted Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presentation, reflects his expanding international reputation, having been produced in France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Poland, Italy, Brazil and other countries. Though for the life of me I can’t see why.

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Nov

A Splintered Soul

The best and the worst that can be said of A Splintered Soul is that it is a crafted work, but not a theatrical work.

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Oct

SILENCE! The Musical

Silence! The Musical by Jon and Al Kaplan with book by Hunter Bell has won my grand prize for the most inappropriate choice for a musical adaptation beating out Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dr. Zhivago and Lestat (with a score by Elton John and Bernie Taupin no less!) But unlike the above-mentioned shows, Silence! The Musical actually works.

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Oct

Gloria

The lion’s share of credit for the success of this staging must go to Fields. Unlike the earlier production of Gloria, he has eschewed a reality-thick office interior for a set. Amanda Knehans, whose craft has been amply demonstrated in such prior Echo offerings as Blueberry Toast and A Small Fire, devises a set that generates the specified environment while being minimalist enough not to encumber the whirlwind that Fields unleashes on stage.

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