Writer: Matt Ritchey

Matt Ritchey is a director, writer, actor, and acting coach. He holds a BFA in Acting from NYU’S Tisch School of the Arts, a Certificate in Shakespeare from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and is a recent graduate and Associate Producer at Director’s Lab West. His original play Blackboxing (writer/performer) won "Best Cabaret/Variety" at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Recent directing credits include the new drama American Conspiracy (“Encore Producer’s Award” at Fringe 2018, “Best Director” nom by The TVolution), Angel’s Flight (“Best Cabaret/Variety” at Fringe 2016, “Best Director” nom by Rogue Shakespeare Company), Martha Washington Killed a Redcoat (nominated for “Best Comedy” and “Short and Sweet” Awards), We Are Traffic, This Is Our Youth, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a film director, his short Poker Night won "Best Comedy Short" at the Culver City Film Festival and was nominated for Connect Film Festival's "Apollo Award" for "a compelling exploration of masculinity" in filmmaking.
Feb

Suspended - Rorschach Fest

There will always be new patrons of the theater who will see a production like this for the first time and be mesmerized by the possibilities of a blank space, but for the most part, this was an unnecessary restaging of material that has become cliché to the point of parody. If it was a new take or had updated production values or even a new project with similar themes, the piece could remain relevant, but Ghosts is no longer an experimental piece. We received the results long ago and testing the same material again has merely led to outdated conclusions.

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Feb

Gifted

Gifted is a powerful, heartening play and production, which reminds us all that even if we think our gifts are inconsequential, we matter.

Highly Recommended

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Dec

Waiting for Waiting for Godot

There is great talent in Waiting For Waiting For Godot at Sacred Fools. They need better material.

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Nov

Growing Gills to Drown in the Desert

Hopefully, this production will enjoy a longer run in the future, but if you have the opportunity, run to the final performances at Loft Ensemble’s Sawyer’s Playhouse.

Very Highly Recommended

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Nov

Canceled - Supportive White Parents

Directed by Frank Caeti and with great performances from the whole cast, the show is even more charming and funny than its previous iteration, including a brilliant new song about white parents shopping for “exotic” meals at Whole Foods, and even a dig at incel culture. But what has remained is the humor and heart in a story about accepting people as they are and understanding that love comes in different forms.

Highly Recommended

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Nov

Buried Child

The action in the story takes place in the past and the audience watches real-time as the characters slowly and painfully fail to keep it a secret. I get it. And I enjoy it when this happens in mysteries as a way to keep up the suspense. But in a drama with vague inferred tones, it lacked for me. I’m less interested in seeing the moments in the therapist’s office and more interested in seeing the traumas that it led to therapy.

That said, A Noise Within’s production of Buried Child is strong and if you are a Shepard fan, this should not only satisfy but impress.

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Oct

A Kid Like Jake

The design elements by DeAnne Millaius (set), Ginevra Lombardo (lights) and Heath Harper (props) are wonderful and the direction by Jennifer Chambers is spot-on. The actors are also top-notch and the production itself is excellent. - Recommended

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Sep

Macbeth

Neither the actors nor the director fully understood the language in Macbeth. Words are mispronounced, character motive is ignored, and lines are broken apart, either to be artistic and “do something new” which changes the meaning or because they simply don’t understand what they are talking about.

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Aug

Harry Potter & The Forbidden RUSH

It’s an event that Force of Nature Productions has put up several times now, the most recent being a Harry Potter themed evening called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Rush, and is not only a great showcase but a great way for people to try out new creative positions.

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Aug

Nick Dear's Frankenstein | California Premiere

Frankenstein is not only a powerful tale of an abandoned child trying to connect with his father but an indictment of a society that condemns people for their outward appearances, thus creating the very evil that they fear. - Recommended

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Aug

Bad Hamlet

Despite the fact that Bad Hamlet has a talented cast, the production comes off in an interminably long big-budget exploratory college thesis with no core message or roadmap. It becomes a chore to watch and a reminder that, indeed, it’s not about the story, it’s about the way the story is told.

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Jul

She Kills Monsters

She Kills Monsters is a fun, very funny, and emotional show about friendship, love, and fitting in.

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Jul

Boeing Boeing

Farce is not easy, and producers Zoppe and Philomena made a very smart decision in making their company’s first show something so tight and professionally done. For the audience, that means just sitting back, relaxing, and letting the laughter overtake us.

Very Highly Recommended

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Jul

This Way Yonder

But with great performances by Marjorie Knight, Omar Salazar, and Kelly Crossley, This Way Yonder is the direction to head for a nice mix of drama and comedy.

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Jul

Masters of the Dark Realm

There are some very fun and well-explored themes in Masters of the Dark Realm, but the show itself has just enough weaknesses in its fabric to make the whole thing feel stretched.

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Jul

Postponed - FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

FERTILE is a study in how to do character work in a solo show right. Not only is the structure of the show tight and moves flawlessly, but Heather Dowling creates scenes between two (or three) distinct people and takes her time shifting from one to the next as they communicate. Her timing is perfect and her characters are always honest and never rushed.
I loved the tight scene sequences and use of the fourth wall. Character shifts are hard to do well, and Heather nailed all of them.
The show is a terrific blend of comedy, tragedy, drama, and inspiration and Heather is a tremendous performer. Can’t wait to see her next project!

sweet

Jul

FEELING LUCKY

To call an evening “charming” can come off as false praise, but it fits very well with Feeling Lucky. The performances are all good, the direction by Yuval Shrem is crisp and funny, and the writing by Fife gives us real stakes and heightened emotions and makes us care about characters in very short order – one walks out of the theater feeling that their own romantic problems (or successes!) are not only understood, but are Universal. And that’s not only heartening, but hopeful.

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Jul

Bunny the Elf LIVE!

Bunny is simply adorable. And so is Christi Pedigo. A heartwarming, all-to-painfully-relatable story about life in the entertainment business and making your rent. Christmas in June is always a good thing and Bunny takes a woeful tale of trying to scratch by as an entertainer and turns it into an inspiring warm fuzzy holiday in your heart.

sweet

Jul

If We Run

What a great show – a well-crafted story, honest script, great acting, sensitive direction. It’s a simple story with incredibly deep stakes and emotion, a slice of real drama that should hit home for everyone who has ever had a true love and made the decision to leave it.

All the production aspects were handled deftly, but that almost-the finale-but-not-quite-blackout before the last scene was ...tricky. The show ends, but doesn’t, but then does. I totally know why it’s done the way it’s done, but it’s something to finesse for the next production. Otherwise, fantastic work all around.

sweet

Jun

The Bully Problem

A tight script with great structure, clever dialogue, and crisp direction from Joanna Syiek, The Bully Problem also has extremely fun and stylistically varied songs, my favorite being the nerd/geek anthem “Hide.” A great new musical. A fun show with a huge heart.

Very Highly Recommended

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