Non-Registered Critics: Philip Brandes

Jan

SMART LOVE

Fine performances and a strikingly original premise. Brian Letscher’s new comedy unexpectedly pivots into a quirky take on romantic possibilities in a brave new world of technology.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

SOUTH PACIFIC

Like the shifting waves in those projected seascapes, the serious message of “South Pacific” still teases, retreats and, ultimately, lands with timely urgency. Although it’s easy enough to rail against things we’re against, Rodgers and Hammerstein challenged us to dig deeper and recognize what we stand for.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

BUS STOP

Notwithstanding the sizable cast of characters, Inge’s 1955 romantic comedy is fundamentally about loneliness, a timeless theme that director Ann Hearn Tobolowsky illuminates with style and grace.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

The Value of Moscow

With hilarious deadly accuracy, playwright Dellagiarno’s snappy dialogue captures the kind of put-downs and barbed comebacks only siblings who know one another all too well can use to pick at one another’s psychic scabs.

sweet - ...read full review

Aug

Cry It Out

The dynamic between the characters opens the door to a host of real-world issues, including the physical toll of breastfeeding and options for juggling careers and parenting. Looming over everything is an implicit cultural expectation that treats child rearing as an auxiliary task with not much of a social safety net. Under Lindsay Allbaugh’s well-paced direction, these problems are articulately examined from the characters’ varied socioeconomic perspectives. The seasoned cast brings clarity, conviction and abundant humor to these sharply differentiated roles.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Lysistrata Unbound

The sharp contrast in the presentation and archetypal characters links the piece to its ancient theatrical origins, but the graft of modernist sensibilities is not a seamless one. Every thought and motive is spelled out with declamatory zeal, and the lack of subtext, or even subtlety, is particularly problematic when trying to incorporate the complexities of gender inequality and sexuality.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

May

Noises Off

The enduring popularity of this production, once again co-directed by the wife-husband team of Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, lies in its spot-on performances, surgically-precise slapstick and ingenious deconstruction of the conventions of farce even as it faithfully executes them — from slamming doors to bawdy double-entendres… Watching once again from the house perspective as the hapless troupe’s final performance completely unravels, it finally dawned on me that far from being a mere entertaining diversion, “Noises Off” is the living embodiment of thermodynamic entropy in action.

sweet - ...read full review

May

The Baby Dance: Mixed

It would be interesting to see the lawyer played by a woman in a future version. After all, “The Baby Dance” has already shown its willingness to be fruitful and multiply.

sweet - ...read full review

May

Auto Draft reviewed by

Razor-sharp focus and clarity from director Andi Chapman and her stellar Antaeus ensemble steer us through wild leaps in time between 20-year-old Bigger’s brutal crimes, memories of his damaged childhood and clumsy attempts to evade capture.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

Mr. Burns- a post electric play

Offering terrific value for a $15 ticket price, director Jaime Robledo and his stellar ensemble cast and technical crew make spectacular use of Sacred Fools’ entire Broadwater multi-stage theater complex (formerly the Elephant Stages)…The whole elaborate environmental experience is weird, creepy and, as its title character would proclaim it, “Excellent!”

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

The Madwoman of Chaillot

A work that defies easy labels, “The Madwoman of Chaillot” delivers insightful social criticism with sharp-eyed realism, then veers abruptly into a whimsical utopian fantasy. L.A. veteran stage director Stephanie Shroyer proves an ideal choice to steer A Noise Within’s ensemble through the play’s mash-up of classical and modernist elements.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

The Dance of Death

Artistic Director Ron Sossi wrings every drop of black humor from McPherson’s sharp-edged verbal assaults. Larson and Kimball frequently draw laughs with their perfectly-inflected insults. The disintegrating civility of LeBeau’s Kurt in the face of Edgar’s needling and Alice’s seduction is particularly well-focused.

sweet - ...read full review

Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

While superb production values elevate Elina de Santos’ staging above the standards of innumerable community theater revivals (Bruce Goodrich’s two-story Victorian interior design is a stunner), for contemporary audiences the show may more likely provoke head-scratching than nostalgic affection.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Sep

Cigarettes and Chocolate & Hangup

No-frills production values notwithstanding, Peretzian and his first-rate ensemble of Pacific Resident company veterans render Minghella’s precisely inflected dialogue with polished authority — particularly when it comes to the failures of communication that figure prominently in both pieces.

sweet - ...read full review

Aug

The Devil’s Wife

…“The Devil’s Wife” is a smart, satisfying thrill ride with a unique supernaturally tinged caution against depending on the kindness of strangers.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

Rhinoceros

Precise comic timing and cleanly individuated characterizations sustain momentum and focus as Rhinoceritis spreads among the uniformly excellent supporting ensemble. Ionesco’s potentially deadly penchant for repetition is rendered skillfully enough to convey the intended message about conformity’s stultifying effect without inducing it in the audience.

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

Love is a Dirty Word

Under Becca Wolff’s finely tuned direction, Adams’ delivery maintains precise and at times musical cadences (with occasional acoustic guitar accompaniment from Arturo Lopez) as he glides seamlessly from vivid regional dialect to eloquently crafted prose. “Let us harvest together,” he urges, “from the muck of our lives the good, leave the poisoning behind.”

sweet - ...read full review

Jul

The Cake

“The Cake” explores human conflict from an insightful, slightly offbeat perch with understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view — and without dumbing down or sentimentalizing its characters.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

The Merchant of Venice

Ellen Geer’s staging at the outdoor Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum fearlessly tackles the theme of anti-Semitism raised by the play head-on, with the benefit of a commanding performance from Alan Blumenfeld as Shylock.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

HARLEQUINO: ON TO FREEDOM

Merging abundant slapstick, clever wordplay (only some of which would be printable here) and Robbins’ original songs, “Harlequino” serves as an inventive and informative deep dive into a rich theatrical tradition. Williams’ performance alone is a crash course in commedia presentation.

sweet - ...read full review

ADS
  • Thymele Arts in Hollywood - Rehearsal Space, Meeting Room, Events
  • SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS AND TRICKS FOR CREATIVES
  • Media Delux Video Services
  • Too Many Bodies, Artists United to Make America Safe Again!
  • Marsha Hunt - Go Fund Me campaign