Non-Registered Critics: Mary Mallory

Mar

Canceled - The Velveteen Rabbit

Director Julia Holland keeps everything high energy, smoothly blending sentiment and entertainment as well as past and present, drawing the audience in by breaking the fourth wall and getting them involved.

She draws fine performances from the cast, led by Rachel Wecht as the little bunny—charismatic, expressive and a solid singer. Kim Harrison’s headstrong, confident Freddy provides nice counterpoint to Judy Claverie’s officious, vinegary housekeeper Nana. Musical director Wayne Moore provides jaunty accompaniment as well as a pleasing, warm performance as grandpa.

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Feb

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill

Foreman does a remarkable and memorable performance as Holiday. She was smart, funny, and relatable and could out drink anyone of her male friends. When she sings one of her melodic songs, Foreman closes her eyes, says the words in such a tender way it’s impossible not to be affected. You feel Holiday’s pain, the loves she has lost and the aggravation of being mistreated because she was a black woman...

...She was a fragile soul with a foul mouth, imbibed heavily and sang her heart out. The best Holiday story. That’s a legacy difficult it emulate but easy to admire. Foreman does a hell of a job in capturing the elusive soul of Holiday.

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Feb

THE $5 SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

A non-stop mix of hilarious backstage shenanigans and thoughtful character development, The $5 Shakespeare Company hits it out of the park in lovingly parodying the world of 99- seat theatre. The world premiere production of Matthew Leavitt’s spot-on script combines zany action and rapid-fire wit with excellent performances from its talented cast.

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Feb

IN MY MIND'S EYE

A moving story inspired by true events, In My Mind’s Eye reveals the joys of overcoming challenges and making connections through excellent performances and direction. Thoughtful and rewarding, the memory play reveals the joys of following your own heart.

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Jan

Nowhere On The Border

Director Stewart J. Zully draws passionate yet understated performances from the cast. Grissom’s Gary hides his vulnerability under a hardnosed veneer, while Nichols’ Roberto reveals subtle humor, sensitivity and world weariness. Thom Riviera’s smuggler offers ironic humor while Llerena brings fierce strength to despairing Pilar...

Intense and insightful, Nowhere On The Border deftly captures what it means to feel secure and to find home.

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Jan

Charley's Aunt

Director Carter Thomas keeps things flying along with nonstop action and pacing, smartly combining lowbrow pratfalls with understated reactions and assisted by high energy and spot-on timing from the ensemble.

The appealing cast offers excellent performances and chemistry...

Charley’s Aunt offers hilarious, nonstop classic comedy for both young and old.

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Jan

A TWISTED CHRISTMAS CAROL

Olson adds a modern satiric touch, Texas twang, and more adult sensibilities to Dickens’ classic story, filling it with double entendres, goofy sidekicks and contemporary references, with director Doug Engalla adding uptempo energy.

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Dec

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER

Director Bruce Kimmel keeps things flying right along with nonstop energy and dynamic pacing, zingers flying right and left. Production work is also first rate, especially the luscious period costumes and rich Midwestern home set.

Though somewhat dated for contemporary audiences, the all-too-human situations and comic bits still strike a powerful chord with audiences.

The Man Who Came to Dinner’s delicious dialogue and zany situations make it a surefire crowd-pleaser.

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Nov

Champ & His Four Women

Shulman brings a light though thoughtful look at grieving, healing, and moving on, blending tender moments with comic relief in his moving script. Director Stan Mazin keeps action intimate and personal in the small space.

Champ and His Four Women takes an emotional and nuanced look at grieving.

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Nov

Elijah

A powerful look at mercy, retribution and reconciliation, the West Coast premiere of Elijah offers fine acting and directing in a story of letting go of preconceptions and accepting ambiguity and difference.

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Nov

THE ART OF DINING

Director Gloria Gifford creates exuberant vignettes of each set of diners wrestling with their own issues, a smorgasbord of tics, attitudes and psychological problems. She keeps the nonstop action flowing as freely as the wine, as each diner tries to satiate their own desires.

Production design is superb, from the overly decorated 1970s look to the actual kitchen where the food is prepared. Costumes and sound add panache and flash.

As tantalizing as its prepared meals, The Art of Dining provides a hilarious evening of sensual pleasures.

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Oct

George A. Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Staying pretty close to the film version, writer Gus Krieger and director Drina Durazo emphasize the contemporary nature of the story, from societal isolation and nihilism, to hopelessness and powerlessness, confronting pollution, nuclearization, and violence.

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Aug

LOOSE KNIT

A darkly humorous look at trying to have it all, the Group Repertory Theatre’s production of Loose Knit features fine acting and thoughtful direction as it blends feminism and farce...

Director L. Flint Esquerra keeps the stitches and lines flying, blending overlapping dialogue and heated exchanges into a soulful mix of pungent satire and deep emotion.

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Jun

NINE WINNING ONE-ACTS

An entertaining concoction of satiric and thoughtful short playets, the Group Rep’s third annual Nine Winning One-Acts festival offers darkly comedic and challenging one-acts examining the human connection and the power of communication.

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Jun

AVENUE Q

Director Patrick Burke blends eye-catching production design with subtle underplaying to pointedly comment on life.

Full of relatable moments and infectious humor, Avenue Q is raunchy, rollicking entertainment for the more mature at heart.

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May

At The Table

As full of fiery discussion as any contemporary political debate, the timely and thoughtful At the Table blends excellent ensemble acting and meaty subject matter into a gut-punching crowd pleaser. Michael Perlman’s intense play receives its Los Angeles premiere in a powerful production from Road Theatre Company...

Director Judith Moreland smartly displays the relationship power dynamics through spot-on choreography and overlapping dialogue, slowly revealing Lauren’s isolation. She balances passionate, hyperkinetic argument with understated, heartfelt intimacy, successfully blending profane comedy and revealing drama.

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Apr

THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS

A dry, tongue-in-cheek comedy of manners blending light romance and mystery, The Secret of Chimneys offers an entertaining thrill ride through the mind of Agatha Christie.

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Mar

FRIENDS WITH GUNS

Timely and thought provoking, the world premiere presentation of Stephanie Alison Walker's Friends with Guns offers passionate arguments for and against gun ownership and what empowers women. Powerful acting and muscular writing provide a night of meaty entertainment.

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Feb

WHOOPSIE-DOOPSIE!

A fast-paced, entertaining look at handling those unexpected accidents in life, Whoopsie-Doopsie! combines cartoonish action and off the wall humor into pleasing adult entertainment.

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Feb

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The actors are fun and talented, and the show is filled with cheerful song and dance numbers. This is a show designed not to frighten children, but to give them a whopping good time. It's a great idea for birthday parties and field trips, too.

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