Non-Registered Critics: Paul Myrvold

Feb

The Joy Wheel

With The Joy Wheel, playwright Ian McRae has crafted a terrific, raucous comedy filled with vividly written characters that conjure up memories of the best of Neil Simon, seasoned with whiffs of the head-butting “Honeymooners,” and served up with delicious, outrageous sexual frankness by Jason Alexander’s superb direction.

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Feb

America Adjacent

Under the sensitive direction of Jon Lawrence Rivera, this ensemble is terrific, playing off each other with seamless, boundless energy, filling the stage with pathos and joy. I loved them.

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Feb

Miss America’s Ugly Daughter: Bess Myerson & Me

Ms. Grant is a sympathetic figure on stage, and opens up with touching honesty as she tells the tales of her life, peppering the stories with self-effacing humor. Her performance, however, is low-key and could use more moments of spontaneous energy that draw in the audience.

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Feb

Two Trains Running at Matrix

Under the flawless direction of Michele Shay, this ensemble of superb actors is sensational, infusing the action with energy and monumental heart, bringing August Wilson’s words, with its built-in rhythms and emotions, to extraordinary life.

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Feb

“LAUNDRY AND BOURBON” and “LONE STAR”

There is passion, angst, love, fear, worship, secrets hidden and revealed and more. Lone Star is a high-speed, freight train of a play.

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Feb

Pick of the Vine

Suffice it say that it consist of five utterly delightful bits of whimsy from Little Fish’s favorite short play writer. Is that not enough? Okay…love those fish!

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Feb

THE POW AND THE GIRL

nfortunately, the characters as written lack dimension. They are not helped much by the director, Trace Oakley, who has them doing a lot of heated shouting. And there are staging problems in the small Sherry Theatre space.

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Feb

Paradise

Under the keen, sensitive direction by Vicangelo Bulluck, Paradise is impeccably produced with a first class scenic and lighting design by Jeff Rowlings, a superb sound design by Jon Gottlieb, and a costume design by Mylette Nora that supports character and action. And I loved seeing the fine efficiency of the running crew, Sean Fawaz and Zack Roosa, who quickly and surely, cleared and reset props and set pieces.

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Feb

Hir

The cast is simply and thoroughly marvelous. Cynthia Kania delivers a nuanced performance of terrific range and power. As Isaac, the appealing Zack Gearing, in all of his character’s youthful confusion, meets the script’s demands with ease and aplomb. Puppett lends an impish, puckish quality to her performance, leavened with an appealing vulnerability. And Ron Bottitta as the drooling, lurching creator of the family woes is a dominating presence onstage that cannot be ignored.

Taylor Mac, a MacArthur genius, is a titanic talent, and this staging of Hir is nothing short of brilliant.

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Feb

Last Call

There is enough mordant humor in Last Call to label it a dramedy, but as the action swirls to a shocking climax, the show is difficult to watch, and is only saved by the strange, winsome relationship of Ricky, Jade, and, ultimately, Jill. An endearing slide show at the end is not enough of a dénoument to ameliorate the unease of this audience member.

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Jan

The Cripple of Inishmaan

This superb cast under the excellent direction of Steven Robman, brings the play to vivid life with great humor and superb dialect work that captures the music of the Irish accent (kudos to dialect coach Lauren Lovett). The comedy is sharp and physical and keeps the audience giggling and guffawing except when affect takes command.

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Jan

Rod Serling’s Stories from the Zone

The play is mordantly funny and of course has a kicker at the end.

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Jan

LINDA VISTA

The production benefits from an extraordinary scenic design by Todd Rosenthal set on a cunning revolving stage that rotates to show a variety of locales that appear like magic, which is smartly lit by Marcus Doshi.

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Jan

CULTURE CLASH (STILL) IN AMERICA

The comedy is hilarious evoking raucous laughter, yet retains the critical sting of social justice that can make an audience squirm… This show deserves to be seen all over the nation.

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Jan

A Misunderstanding

His argument is compelling, rational, and thought provoking, and, like evolution, ultimately unprovable.

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Dec

Sisters Three

The action of the play, under the keen direction of Annie McVey, is crisp and choreographed, a necessity in the intimate space of the VS. Theatre. Dana DeRuyck as Emily carries the emotional weight of the play, while Kara Hume serves up some ditzy comedy as Anne, who might just possibly have a touch of attention deficit. When Robyn Cohen shows up as Charlotte, Sisters Three charts stunning new territory in the category of black comedy.

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Dec

Remembering Boyle Heights

The actors are committed, infectiously enthusiastic, and a little rough around the edges, just as they should be.

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Dec

It’s A Wonderful Life

Theatre West mounts the show as a fundraiser for the company and features a cast of excellent voice actors, many of whom play multiple roles. The set is a barebones mock up of a broadcast studio, with stand-up microphones and a sign above the stage that flashes “applaud” to prompt a studio audience… I almost forgot to say that I really enjoyed this show. I left the theatre with a smile.

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Nov

Confederates

Playwright Suzanne Bradbeer crafts an engrossing drama replete with snappy dialogue that calls to my mind the sizzling interplay between characters in Front Page. Mr. Brown shows a crackle of star power in his performance. He is well matched by the scrappy intensity of Ms. Randel. Ms. Lichtman as Maddie carries the emotional weight of the play and displays more commanding power than one might expect in an ingénue.

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Nov

Death and Cockroaches

…we are launched into a dreamy story that does indeed include Death and Cockroaches as well as broadly played comedy, angry conflict, and affecting pathos.

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