Non-Registered Critics: John Paul King

Mar

Frankenstein

Though the production has clung tightly to the novel in terms of remaining faithful to its plot, it revels in translating its ideas into a stylized, contemporary vision that clearly communicates them to an audience and allowing them to hit us in a more direct and visceral way.

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Jan

MATTHEW BOURNE'S SWAN LAKE

Yes, it’s true that the power of its gender-swapped casting has mellowed somewhat – watching two impossibly beautiful, impossibly athletic, and impossibly graceful men dance together with smoldering chemistry no longer feels transgressive (thank goodness) – and that AIDS, which cast a long and overt shadow over the ballet when it debuted at the height of the epidemic, no longer seems like such an inevitable part of the subtext. Nevertheless, to see it is to be reminded that the work of a visionary artist is not only timeless, but also worth experiencing over and over again.

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Sep

Witch

On the strength of its cast and direction, “Witch” is certainly a worthwhile way to spend an evening at the theater; it’s a top-grade production, full of memorable moments that will spark your thoughts and challenge your preconceived notions. It will also make you laugh – it never lets you quite forget that it’s a dark comedy, no matter if the “dark” sometimes overshadows the humor.

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Aug

Dope Queens

Doyle wrote “Dope Queens” as part of his development of a film version of the same story, a work which is still in progress. Given the obvious talent and vision he brings to the project, if that movie ever sees the light of day it will be well worth seeing – but don’t wait for it. The play stands on its own merits as a complete and cohesive work of art, and it deserves – no, demands – to be seen. Los Angeles theatre scene is notoriously full of outstanding productions being performed for half-empty houses; it’s up to you to make sure this is not one of them.

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Jul

Nancy F***ing Reagan

...a tight, talented, and hilarious ensemble cast; under the experienced directorial hand of L.A. theater veteran Larry Margo, they make “Nancy F***ing Reagan” a hilariously confrontational joy that is worthy of the boldness of its title.

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Jul

Mysterious Circumstances

Director Matt Shakman and set designer Brett J. Banakis pull out all the stops in creating an immersive, bombastic experience, dispensing liberal amounts of theatrical magic to dazzle us and challenge our perceptions.

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Jun

Daniel's Husband

The talented players receives sure-handed guidance from director Simon Levy, who never allows the characters to be anything less than human.

“Daniel’s Husband” goes from being light-hearted to heart-breaking over the course of its two acts, reminding us along the way of the practical benefits of marriage and offering a grim warning against the hubris of making a choice based on philosophical principal when the real-world stakes are so high. This Los Angeles premiere production drives home its points without equivocation, but what makes it must-see theatre is that it does so without losing sight of the love story at its core.

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Apr

FALSETTOS

It's a grueling journey we're asked to go on with these people, though. While each have their endearing traits, it's sometimes hard to care enough about them to want to see them all the way through. Finn's clever, funny and biting score fills the show with superlative moments that go a long way toward earning the emotional power of its climax, though it might be argued that once it comes, it pushes a little too far into “tearjerker” territory, but that's a matter of taste.

It's the historical perspective, though, that makes this “Falsettos” resonate more deeply than expected.

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Mar

Too Much Sun

With all the talent behind it – not the least of which belongs to its gifted playwright – there's no surprise in the fact that “Too Much Sun” is a completely enjoyable theatrical experience, with just the right mix of the traditional and the edgy to make it feel both less and more “dangerous” than it is. What comes as a bonus is the reflective, almost uplifting calm that comes at the end of a play that started out seeming like a hard-edged, raucous farce.

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Jan

Hir

GRIPPING, CLEVER, SAVAGE, FUNNY. SHOCKING. ROUSING TRANSGRESSIVE… sure-handed direction and an immensely talented quartet of actors… one of those unequivocally superb evenings of theater that only come along once or twice per season.

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Nov

Members Only

Jon Huertas, of “This Is Us,” is charismatic as Vinal, Quinn's former rival on his own quest for resolution; and Gabriela Ortega is lovably scrappy as Lone, Quinn's female protégé. Perhaps most unforgettable is Marlene Forte, as Sarita, who embodies the transformation from vengeful Fury to merciful Mother with remarkable dexterity. Also deserving special mention is Darrin Dewitt Henson, who brings grace and understanding to his turn as Quinn's gay doctor, who becomes the face of AIDS even as he warns of its coming.

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