Non-Registered Critics: F. Kathleen Foley

Feb

West Adams

“West Adams” launches the Skylight Theatre’s season of three plays from SkyLAb, an innovative residency program that fosters new plays written by company members. It’s a brilliant debut that bodes well for the rest of the season.

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Feb

This Side Of Crazy

Shores’ latest offering, “This Side of Crazy,” now in its L.A. premiere at the Zephyr, straddles the line between the comedic and the serious — not always successfully.

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Feb

Gifted

...Bob DeRosa’s modern-day fairy tale is undeniably diverting, with well-drawn characters, mordant humor and propulsive dialogue that skitters past the silliness of the plot.

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Jan

The Water Tribe

The actors, under the workmanlike direction of Tricia Small, do their best to flesh out Cummings’ cursory characters, with mixed results.

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Dec

Disposable Necessities

Director Guillermo Cienfuegos and a lively cast tear into their material with brio. As women play men, and vice versa, the actors could be accused of occasionally slipping into caricature, but what matter? They serve the piece’s comic rhythms and nail down the laughs — or, conversely, the pathos.

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Dec

Salvage

With music and lyrics by Alderson, Mark Heard, Pat Terry and Randy VanWarmer, this new work has plenty to enjoy, including some down-home country wit that truly snaps (book by Alderson). Director Damian D. Lewis and music director Stephan Terry get the most of their strong cast in a well-paced and tuneful production.

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Nov

Waiting for Waiting for Godot

Hanson’s play is a tribute to Beckett, but above all else it’s an acid-etched valentine to actors, those intrepid aspirants who forgo an easy path for the strenuous and oft thankless service of art.

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Nov

Department of Dreams

This is not an easy play. It’s difficult to understand, at times incomprehensible. But it is important work by a world-class playwright who challenges our complacency at every twist and turn.

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Nov

Elijah

The world premiere of Judith Leora’s trenchant comedy “Showpony” last year was a big hit for the Victory Theatre in Burbank. If that production identified Leora as a talented playwright on the rise, then “Elijah” — now having its West Coast premiere at the Victory — is proof positive that she has matured as an artist in full command of her craft.

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Oct

Miss Lilly Gets Boned

The actors play well to their stereotypes, and Sean Cawelti’s amazing elephant puppet is a design highlight. However, director Robin Larsen cannot quite corral Brunstetter’s thematic irregularities, nor her confusing sampling of styles.

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Oct

Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson

In a staging that is alternately leisurely, suspenseful, funny and poignant, Daniel doesn’t miss a beat of the possibilities in Wilson’s text. The production is is clarifying, terrifying and cathartic.

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Oct

LAS MUJERES DEL MAR

“Las Mujeres” never holds back its passion, fire and commitment. It is a moving parable of motherly love, imperfect but enduring.

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Sep

DRIVING WILDE

It’s difficult to know the point that Wright is trying to make with her dramatic jumble, but DeLorenzo and his able cast keep our attention riveted. A wild ride, this production is more about the thrill of the journey than the final destination.

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Jul

Twelfth Night

Shipwrecked twins, gender-bending romance and a bumper crop of fools -- from the wise to the ridiculous -- guarantee a full-blown evening’s entertainment.

That is, of course, given the right take by a savvy interpreter who knows how to reinvigorate a 400-plus-year-old text for contemporary audiences.

As co-founder of Independent Shakespeare Co., David Melville has perfected that ability over the past 15 years and counting. Melville’s staging of “Night” for the Free Shakespeare Festival in Griffith Park is not so much an updating as a delightful defilement. Impudently modern, often just plain silly, the production melds vintage tunes from the Great American Songbook with contemporary language that would likely outrage many Shakespeare purists.

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Jul

Son of Semele presents MEN ON BOATS

Director Barbara Kallir deftly traverses the play’s logistical intricacies. Moreover, she creates a convincing fraternal bond among this “brotherhood” — which feels all the more wrenching when dissension splits its ranks.

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Jun

Loot

The reiterative slapstick can wear thin and certain performers seemed a bit shaky on their lines opening weekend. However, all are droll, deft and well cast, with Hormann as the standout of the show playing the father. The actor is a master of comic timing whose subtle double-takes are pure pleasure to watch.

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May

At The Table

Director Judith Moreland and her fine actors nail down the laughs and the pathos in Perlman’s meandering, passionate play, which has slice-of-life dialogue that sounds as if it were lifted from a late-night bull session.

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May

Boxing Lessons

The fine cast delves deeply into potentially surface characters, navigating Bunzel's wild plot twists like kids on a carnival ride...

Partners in mayhem, Bunzel and Stehlin have a fine sense of the ridiculous developed over their long association. They are enjoying themselves immensely — and so are we.

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May

The End of Sex

Director Maria Gobetti orchestrates a fine cast, which also includes Lianna Liew, in yet another of the Victory's impressive succession of premieres. Walch's play may have a blemish or two, but its fierce, funny feminist message is delivered in high style in this well-paced and entertaining production.

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Apr

Diana of Dobson's

Despite its rough setting, Hamilton's play is a gem — rousing entertainment with sociological heft that makes us question just what combination of circumstances or controversy has put the firebrand feminist author into undeserved eclipse for so long. We suspect we know that answer without asking.

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