Non-Registered Critics: Paul Myrvold

Aug

Andy Warhol’s Tomato

Under the keen direction of Dana Jackson, the relationship that develops between the two men, who are so radically different, has its fits and starts. Andy and Bones are seemingly from different universes, yet first impressions gradually change. I don’t believe it serves to detail more of the action of the play. That is for the audience to discover and to be touched by. Suffice it to say that the road to the climax of any good play is fraught with twists, turns, conflict, and misunderstandings that ratchet up dramatic tension.

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Aug

Early Birds

Drama needs conflict, and in this script it arises over revealed information that begets misunderstandings and a friendship-wrecking clash. Along the way, dramatic moments lead to crisis, climax, and a satisfying dénouement.

Director Elizabeth Swain keeps the action crisp.

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Aug

Fefu and Her Friends

Fefu and Her Friends is regarded as a feminist play, which it certainly is. Aspects of the eternal female situation are on full display. The terrific cast is passionate in their playing whether delightfully funny, terrifying, or affecting. The characters as written, however, are thinly drawn. The playwright was after something else.

The production is marvelous with set designed by Frederica Nascimento, lighting by Katelan Braymer, sound by Christopher Moscatiello, costumes by Denise Blasor and Josh La Cour, and props by Mateo Rudich. And one can only imagine the tremendous skill that Jacob Price employed as stage manager. Together, they have turned Odyssey, with its three venues, into a theatrical playground.

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Aug

LOOSE KNIT

The script is frankly dated and the depiction of women in desperation for a man doesn’t play well. The fault lies not with actors, but with the play. The men don’t fare well either. The good guy, Bob, sees nothing wrong with cheating on his wife, smiling through all the scenes. And Miles and his notebook objectify the women he dates. All the characters are, frankly, thinly drawn.

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Jul

100 PLANES

Director Elizabeth V. Newman keeps the pace brisk, and I greatly appreciate the necessary choreography that the cast effects as they shoved and carried props and scenery.

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Jul

The Skin of Our Teeth

This mash-up of religion, history, and mythology, written at the start of the United States participation in the conflagration of World War II, is especially pertinent in our own time of crisis, cruelty, and looming worldwide disaster. That it makes us laugh is a bitter blessing...

...I was awed by the show as a teenager, and this production exceeds my memories.

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Jul

The Nerd, by Larry Shue

The cast members are excellent actors, many of which I have seen before. The players put tremendous energy into the action. Director Don Schlossman seems to have pushed the players into such over-the-top action that it could said that they “chew the scenery,” and are, perhaps, more than a little “downwind of upstage.” Their earnest efforts do evoke some audience laughter, but not the gales that might be hoped for.

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Jul

Dancing at Lughnasa

Under the superb direction of Barbara Schofield, this cast of seasoned pros crafts a performance that goes straight to the heart, with affecting joy and sadness. The characters are all thoroughly grounded, rounded, and nuanced, each individual character unforgettable.

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Jul

An Enemy of the People

With Ellen Geer vigorously adapting the Ibsen text as well as directing along with Melora Marshall, the play resonates with the concerns of today–the ever-creeping racism poking its ugly head up on a daily basis; the degradation of our planet; the careless, heedless rule of the politically corrupt. Christopher W. Jones as Doctor Stockman delivers some steamy, righteous sermons to the cast onstage, and then proceeds off the stage and up the stairs into the audience to drive his message home. We become the choir that is preached to.

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Jul

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Stephanie Shroyer directs The Caucasian Chalk Circle, marshaling the large cast with extraordinary verve and precision. The splendid ensemble includes John Apicella, Noel Arthur, Paul Baird, Gabriela Bonet, Turner Frankosky, Troy Guthrie, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Alex Knox, Mehrnaz Mohammadi, Madalina Nastase, Janellen Steininger, George Villas.

The creative team for The Caucasian Chalk Circle includes scenic designer Frederica Nascimento, costume designer Angela Calin, lighting designer Ken Booth, sound designer Jeff Gardner, props designer Erin Walley and dramaturg Ryan McRee. Taylor Anne Cullen manages the stage with aplomb.

Theatre lovers, this show is not to be missed. Antaeus Theatre Company continues to revive the great plays with consistent excellence.

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Jul

Scraps

This important, extraordinary, affecting play, featuring a superb cast of actors given keen direction by Stevie Walker-Webb, must be seen. Not everyone will like it; not everyone will understand it. The same can be said of many of the great classics of the theatre. See it. Draw your own conclusions. I guarantee you will not be bored.

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Jul

Anne, A New Play

Sad, yes, emotionally affecting, yes, but along the way there are indelible moments of humor and the simple joy of life.

Director Eve Brandstein keeps the action crisp and balances the desperation of the situation with the every day hope of survival.

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Jul

Naughty with a Band

The story had more naughty to go with songs about boozy bar pick-ups, a leering Hollywood big shot who ogled her as she followed his order to turn around slo-o-owly, and sad, poignant yearnings for real love. A bright spot showed up at the end when she revealed a rapprochement with her mother, who became her greatest fan.

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Jun

Loot

Enthusiastically directed by Bart DeLorenzo, the cast often plays straight out to the audience in a Brechtian presentational style. The show is as fast paced as a farce should be, and, judging from the audience response on a Sunday afternoon, Loot is clearly a crowd pleasure.

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Jun

The Masher

About halfway through the show, my restless brain summoned up a comparison to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which often blended desperation with irony and humor...

There are a few plays that I have seen in Los Angeles, where the playwright takes control and manages a successful performance.

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Jun

Twelfth Night

The excellent direction of Ellen Geer gives the cast the liberty to play with fearless, unleashed heart and vigor...

I love this show. I love its committed, enthusiastic energy. I laughed and laughed up to very end and even found room in my heart for Malvolio. And the outdoor setting in the crisp, evening air brought an emotional response that summoned up the memory of my Ashland days.

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Jun

DANA H.

Direction by Les Waters is flawless...

Readers, this play is utterly unique and clutches my heart even as I write this. Hie thee hence! You will be glad you did, even if it hurts the tenderhearted.

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Jun

Dead Accounts

As portrayed by this cast in this dark comedy production under the excellent direction of Branda Lock, all the characters are unique and appealing, each in their own way...

There are so many things I like about this show. I loved the hilarious scenes where Lorna talks on the phone, while her mother talks over her at the same time. I was amazed by how much real food and drink are consumed in the show. The clean, detailed set by Tristan Griffin, with lights by Bruce Starrett and props by the director, represents a realistic, unpretentious kitchen. It is easily the best set I have seen at Little Fish. Costumes by MarLee Candell support character, place and action. Sound Design by Doug Mattingly is excellent, and features a terrific incidental-music playlist. Aileen Kamoshita manages the stage with confident aplomb.

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May

A Streetcar Named Desire

In A Streetcar Named Desire, thrilling theatre at its very best, one experiences vicariously a whole encyclopedia of feelings–desire, sexuality, secrecy, resentment, envy, disdain, yearning and more. The brilliantly loaded script in the hands of consummate stage artists, as is the case in this production now playing at the Odyssey Theatre, makes an audience lean forward to catch all the powerful passion as the sense of time disappears.

Director Jack Heller holds the reins on the often-explosive dynamics of the play, guiding the players with finesse to many moments that are searing or wistful or intimidating.

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May

Bronco Billy - The Musical

I can easily envision this show being produced in New York and at regional theatres across the country, and, eventually, picked up by colleges and community theatres. Personally, I had a great time at the theatre on opening night.

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ADS
  • Fefu and her Friends at the Odyssey Theatre
  • DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic