Non-Registered Critics: Joe Straw

Producer, Director, Writer, Actor (SAG/AFTRA) all in film and stage. Reviewer for Los Angeles stage productions and some New York. Worked on a number of films (100 +) over a twenty years span.
Aug

TRUE WEST

One can easily look at the play and view it from an impossible angle. For some reason I found myself thinking that Austin and Lee are the same man. It’s not far fetched thinking. This is Sam Sheppard. The night sent me away discovering a unique perspective, and one that would excite my overactive imagination.

sweet - ...read full review

Aug

100 PLANES

There’s much to enjoy in Lila Rose Kaplan’s play, which, on second thought, seems more to be about the relationship of the players than the dream of 100 planes. Each has their own dream, their objective of what they want other than the person they are with.

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Jul

Bakersfield Mist

Amir Korangy, the director, stages a superior production. The objectives were clear, the actors knew where they were going and they worked well together. But, in the early part of this two-week run, there was something missing. There is another level of concentration to add, of thoughts that keep the actors engaged in a relationship that is constantly changing. Those are the moments that change the relationship and move the play to its ultimate conclusion.

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Jul

LOVE, MADNESS, AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

The notes of his performance touch on many emotional chords and for that reason it is a show that is a must see.

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Jul

The Ruffian on the Stair

Given it was a performance seen early in the run, things happen, but this production needs a viable edge. What one saw was not a bad, in fact is was even good, but, there's more life to be had here.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Jun

Sucker Punch

...Sucker Punch by Roy Williams is a wonderful play about the dreams of athletes and their manager. By all accounts, it is a comedy with some dramatic overtones. The timing of the dialogue is as essential as the boxing scenes in order for the comedy to hit home. There were hits and misses this night, but overall a wonderful production by the coeurage theatre company...

The play had a short run. But if you are able to see it in another venue, run, run, run!

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Jun

NAKED MAN RISING

...Kyle Durack has some wonderful moments, especially when he stops and listens, to the noise, the wind, his inner quiet thoughts, and then as he struggles to take the next step forward. And, for me, that was worth the price of admission.

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May

Brain Problems

Benardo Cubría, the director, is spot on with the actors who move effortlessly in and out of reality and through the fourth wall. Cubría takes us there and asks us to take a leap of faith, into a reality within ourselves. Life, death, time, and imagination have no boundaries in theatre and this is an example of supreme art of expressive theatre. Cubría's perspicacity and knowledge of the craft of theatre is outstanding.

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Apr

The Mother of Henry

There is a lot to enjoy from Evelina Fernández's play of The Mother of Henry, which is funny, magical and always inventive. What is remarkable are the relationships between family and friends, between the spiritual and human, and the harsh realities of everyday life played out in mortal silence.

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Mar

Canyon

Jonathan Caren has written an exquisite play.  His words are masterfully relevant at time before the world turned ugly.

The acting is well above par and it moves along in a fast clip, sometimes too fast as the pain in moments have little time to make their mark.

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Mar

Born To Win

Michael Matthew, the director, gives the show a rousing interpretation filled with surprises including exceptional performances by all. The chase scene has funny moments but goes on long beyond its purpose.

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Feb

Fairy Tale Theatre 18 and Over: The Musical

And while some things need work (as all shows do), there is a sense of kindness that radiates in the work and one that presents a dramatic truth. The characters personified present a grand realization that touches the theatregoer to the core and sends us out smiling into the colorful night.

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Feb

Famous

Michael Leoni, director, gives us some amazing moments and strong visuals, but he takes on too much as the writer and director of the play. And while there are fascinating things happening on stage, the play loses its focus, the through line - Harold Clurman fondly speaks to – and the nuanced story line loses its focus.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Feb

YELLOW FACE

Robert Zimmerman does an outstanding job in bringing Yellow Face to Los Angeles. Playfully iniquitous in the way humans move to achieve their rightful positions in life. Yet, it is a difficult and demanding presentation where limited rehearsals must bring out multiple characters for the six actors in the other roles. Finding a significant through line would be the ultimate test for any director. But, overall the actors succeed nicely. Well, mostly, still one has observations.

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Feb

BUS STOP

There are exceptional performances in this production of Bus Stop. It is slow to start but manages to gather steam and then soars. And, as the performance end, one is wrap up in the humanity of it all and sent out of the theatre bundled in the warmth of empathy.

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Feb

DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY

Dixie's Tupperware Party is too much fun! You live the experience if you are of the mindset that you are there to buy Tupperware and listen to the presentation (catalogue provided). It just flows to incredible heights.

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Feb

VALLEY OF THE HEART

In the darkness, desperation plays a vital role in the through-line of becoming one family once again. The end is reflective of the beginning in Luis Valdez's play. The storyteller should not be lost during the course of the actions on stage. But, is there more of a dramatic ending to be had? Possibly, we should see those who made it and maybe those that didn't. And we should see that in dramatic fashion.

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Feb

Desert Rats

That said, I did enjoy the show and I would like to see the players grow exponentially during the course of the run.

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Feb

It Is Done

It Is Done by Alex Goldberg is a marvelous play that escorts you from the cozy confines of your own home into an out-of-the-way bar, and, at the end, from a sombre perspective, has you seared to the floor in terror wishing you had never met these people.

Maybe this is being overdramatic, or maybe not. Naytheless, there is a dramatic intensity in this play and an exquisite cohesiveness among players that makes this a must-see!

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Feb

Brilliant Traces

Carleton manages to put all of those things into the makeup of her character which was a pretty amazing performance....There is a lot to enjoy about Cardano's performance who manages not to completely lose his cool with his abstruse partner.

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

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