Non-Registered Critics: Michael Doherty

Feb

CANCELLED - The Winter's Tale

A Noise Within’s new production of The Winter’s Tale focuses on Leontes’ breakdown and ultimate redemption. This production sets the play in the early part of the twentieth century, and features some excellent performances, particularly by Trisha Miller as Hermione, Deborah Strang as Paulina and Frederick Stuart as Leontes.

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Feb

Canceled - Measure for Measure

Antaeus Theatre Company’s excellent new production of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure focuses on how Angelo, newly appointed to serve as Duke in Vincentio’s absence, uses his newfound position to coerce sexual favors from Isabella, a novice nun. This production is directed by Armin Shimerman and Elizabeth Swain, and features some absolutely captivating performances, particularly by Carolyn Ratteray as Isabella, Ramón de Ocampo as Angelo, and Bo Foxworth as Lucio.

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Nov

Orwell's 1984

Tim Robbins delivers a chilling performance, particularly as his O’Brien is so businesslike and rational. Earlier, when Winston and Julia swear allegiance to the resistance movement, it feels the same as swearing allegiance to the authoritarian government, which is interesting and terrifying. They are ready to kill for their cause, and as we’ve been identifying with these characters, we can’t help but question our own capabilities for murder, even for a cause we might believe to be just. O’Brien raises just that point later, questioning Winston’s supposed moral superiority, and thus calling into question the moral superiority of those in the audience. And that is partly why attending a performance of this production is a powerful and intense and ultimately a very personal experience.

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Aug

Henry V

The current production of Henry V is a completely enjoyable and engaging ride, and boasts some tremendous performances, particularly by Jonathan Fisher as King Henry and Olivia Schlueter-Corey as Katharine.

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Aug

Pericles

... while this play presents some challenges to those wishing to stage it, it also presents some wonderful opportunities for actors, for it contains some incredibly moving scenes at the end, as well as some delightfully humorous scenes early on. The Independent Shakespeare Company, of course, capitalizes on these opportunities in the current production of Pericles.

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Jul

Twelfth Night

There is something wonderful about Twelfth Night, something inherently enjoyable about this play. There is a light, breezy quality to it, and no matter what troubles occur, we are never really worried about the fate of any character, not even Antonio when he is captured. And seeing a daytime performance of this play at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in particular is a treat, for it is an outdoor venue in a beautiful natural setting, where actors make occasional entrances from the surrounding woods. There is also a musical quality to the play, even outside its several songs, and it is this element that the current production of Twelfth Night stresses, with characters singing many of the lines.

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May

Noises Off

Never one to disappoint an audience, A Noise Within has brought the production back for a limited run. So, if like me, you missed it last year, here is your chance to enjoy this absolutely delightful comedy, with the same cast and direction.

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Feb

Othello

This production features some excellent performances, but doesn't need the modern setting to feel relevant. Shakespeare's text and the performances certainly succeed in that.

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Feb

DOUBLE DOUBLE - A Meditation on Macbeth

Double Double is a wild and delightful ride through the world of Macbeth and into the land of Double Indemnity, a strange musical film noir (theatre noir?) with excellent performances by all four cast members and some quirky and exciting and fun songs.

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Nov

KING LEAR

The new production of King Lear at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre in North Hollywood shows how effective the great tragedies can be in an intimate space without much in the way of sets.

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Oct

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

A Noise Within's new production of Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead is thoroughly enjoyable, and while it may cause you to ponder certain key elements of your existence, it will more often have you laughing aloud.

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Sep

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

It was completely enjoyable, a wonderful break from reality. If we are lucky, we might be able to carry some of its magic into our daytime realities.

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Sep

Coriolanus

Though Coriolanus takes place in ancient Rome, its themes and characters feel pertinent to our world today. This play isn't produced as often as some of Shakespeare's other great tragedies, and it is a treat to see it at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in that theatre's beautiful and intimate woodland setting.

The space has multiple levels and this production makes great use of them all. As for set pieces, there is a bust on a pedestal up left to help signify Rome, and a purple flag down right to signify Corioli, and not much else. Not much else is needed. The company does all the work here, and the action moves swiftly.

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