Non-Registered Critics: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Aug

Two Noble Kinsmen

I adore The Porters of Hellsgate and not just for the sheer nerve of this monumental undertaking but for how deeply committed they are to each and every second of each and every play they produce.  This could have been a throwaway.  They could have had some fun and ticked it off their list and moved quickly on to the “big” plays. But they absolutely did not.  They instead give this smaller and far less well known of the Bard's plays their undeniable and indisputable best.

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Aug

LOST: The Musical

The cast is superb, such fantastic casting.  Some of the actors play multiple roles and everyone appears to be having a lot of fun. Let’s face it, this is not a stuffy, serious theatrical piece, this is pure satirical bliss.

There are hand puppets and dog suits, hatches and balloon bombs, fake babies birthed onstage, polar bears and even a pretty impressive depiction of the mysterious wind cyclone thingies…so funny!

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Aug

100 PLANES

Unexpected and inventive characters beautifully written and poignant, persuasive performances set in a world far outside most of your usual theatre-goers experience.  The staging is compelling and elegant, the direction simple and raw, the performances all outstanding, bold and gorgeously real.

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Jul

Vixen DeVille ReVealed

Cat is British and her fabulously sarcastic, razor-sharp sense of humor really drives the show. Self-depreciating and adorable, she playfully captivates the audience as she unfolds her fascinating history on stage.  She navigates quite brilliantly the many reasons that Burlesque and magic appealed to her, and as she does so she skillfully performs some wonderful magic in spectacular costumes with the help of volunteers from the audience.  She also plays with fire and spins and maneuvers beautifully in her steel ring suspended above the stage.  All this and some very engaging mixed media interviews and film footage projected on stage to keep us entertained while she changes costumes and resets the stage.

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Jul

Nancy F***ing Reagan

With a solid premise and taut dialogue, “Nancy F**king Reagan” comes across entertaining with a poignant message. The cast as a whole is so well cast that it felt like I was eavesdropping on a weekend with friends... The direction by Larry Mango was solid and engaging.

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Jul

Bronco Billy - The Musical

I can’t single any one performance out because they are all so brilliant. Don’t find an excuse not to see this amazing show! Don’t dawdle either, the show is only on until July 21st. After that I can only presume they will be Broadway bound!

Love, love, loved it!!!

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Jul

LOVE, MADNESS, AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

I held my breath through most of this, as will you too, I have no doubt. “Love, Madness and Somewhere in Between” is absolutely one of the best performances I have seen in many years. James Cox is transcendent and achingly wise, profoundly moving and hilariously funny. He stalks the stage with his powerful presence, he owns it with his reluctant, heroic spirit and the result is powerful and pure. Bravo!! This is Fringe as its most intense, compelling and brokenly beautiful best.

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Jul

FERTILE: A Conversation About the Expectation of Procreation

“Fertile” is an absolutely brilliant piece of solo theatre…perfection...

Heather has a way of morphing from character to character and back to herself that belies belief. At one moment she is absolutely herself, the next she flits at light speed into another position and becomes an ancient next door neighbor, or her ‘chill’ husband or an effervescent acupuncturist or her mother anxiously on the phone and on and on and on...

Masterful is a term I would apply to Heather Dowling and her miraculous and heartfelt soloist abilities. She is comic and moving, honest and profound. This is solo work at its most meaningful and excellent….loved it!!! If you are lucky enough to get your mitts on a ticket you will be eternally grateful to have done so. Bravo!!!!!!!

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Jul

Chrissy Meth ~ A Dance with the Devil and a Journey Back to Self

Her story is told with grace and with humor and with a sweet depth to her acting ability I have rarely seen. Chrystal is a warrior, although she is one whose heart openly bleeds. She is powerful in her resilience and proud of her journey and therefore who she has become. But what struck me most about her brilliant performance and heartfelt connection with her audience was her humility and her authenticity. Her words trip lightly from her, her emotion always propelling her narrative and yet there was no sense of syrupy, overly romanticized drama, no tinge of self indulgence. This is a story beautifully told and effortlessly articulated by a woman with tremendous talent and something important to say.

I love solo shows, but they are hard to get right, hard to balance, harder to perform. This is amongst the absolute best I have seen and I am thrilled Chrissy shared herself so poignantly with us. Bravo!!! Loved it!!

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Jul

It's Personal: Los Angeles

Suffice it to say, everyone was absolutely brilliant. No matter what their piece was about, no matter how seeming completely disconnected their elaborate activity was to their soliloquy, by the end of their piece the connection seemed to make perfect sense, even when it didn’t…

I LOVED this show. The actors are hilarious, moving, brutally real and their stories refined, emotional, true and inspiring…You have to see “It’s Personal.”

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Jul

CORINA, From Lap Dance to Sundance

Corina Calderon is a star. She has that indefinable something, that quiet presence that compels you to listen to her every word, to watch her every motion and to believe her. The mark of a true actor. Her story is bravely told, her lessons shared with eloquence and with humor and with love. “From Lap Dance to Sundance” is a solo performance set apart from the rest. Sculpted with heart, with sadness, with a little regret perhaps, but with so much soul… I absolutely loved it!

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Jul

BECOMING PEACE: A One Woman Dramedy about Power, Culture, Violence and Nonviolence

Solo theatre is really a perfect format for Candace. It's a way for her to clearly and cleverly reach out to an audience. To take her ideas of tolerance, love and understanding, formed through her own experiences and heartbreak and truly show how to walk the walk. Using her background of abuse and struggle, she proves that, if you search with an open heart and willingness to educate yourself and elevate yourself and others, perhaps you can truly make a difference. A difference for yourself and the world around you. She fills the stage with her sweet, strong personality and the audience eats it up…loved it!

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Jul

HELL'S FINEST

This entertaining production worked brilliantly in its simplicity. Between the actors and the costumes we were immersed in the experience with them. Ashlynn Judy's words and direction entertained us while it poked at our dirty little secrets with this funny and captivating play. The laughs filled the room, and at one point she touched a really big nerve with the perverted gynecologist’s character, that shifted the energy completely as he revealed his submission to his worst possible urge and any woman’s worst nightmare. This is pretty excellent and ‘hellish’ stuff. I look forward to what she writes for us next.

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Jul

Jessie's Messy Mind

I loved this play. It is heartfelt and true, honest and brave, and Jessie is heroic in the energetic and utterly flawless philosophy of her messy, mad mind…Bravo!!!!

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Jul

The Institute for The Opposite of Longing

It’s a brilliant piece full of pain and humor and awkward attempts at soul adjustments. I found it riveting, mournful and hilarious in the most acutely real and absurd ways. It feels a little like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."... This strange and gorgeous play is a revelation. The performances is sublime and the writing is astonishing and profound. If you can, see it, if you can’t…try harder. Loved it!!!!

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Jul

My Trans Wife

“My Trans Wife” takes the audience through the pain, joys and laughter of their relationship as a trans couple, as Mara struggles with her gender identity and Mimi struggles with letting go of long-held beliefs enough to acknowledge that she could love someone like Mara. It’s this authenticity and commitment that have allowed them to create new realms for love to exist outside of societal norms but completely from the heart.

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Jul

Two Girls, One Mic

They are truthful, sarcastic, bawdy at times, and blatantly and brutally honest…and it’s classic, gorgeous and painfully good...

... I would suggest that Tabitha Brownstone and Joy Gohring are destined for greatness, but honestly, I think they are already there. Loved it!!

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Jul

...”The Trial of Dali” is a spiritual homage to one of the greatest artists of our time. It’s is strange and other worldly, full of Dalis humor and brilliance and love. It’s quite an achievement, to bring to life such a master and not to fall into obvious sycophany or sad mimicry. This play is honest and wacky, fascinating and odd, tender and true…Bravo!

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Jul

Sins

It’s theatre at its most intimidating and surreal, but without any of the flash. It’s challenging and compelling and unforgiving. The actors are absolutely excellent. They sell their stupefaction and their sublime horror at the cocky interloper with shocking expertise... Each of them reacted with brilliant and perceptive elegance. Each of them owned everything they did on stage and the result was absolutely incredible…

It is theatre far beyond the average. It is clever and sad and interesting and devastating. Love, love, loved it!!!

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Jul

The Scorpion and the Frog: a time-killer

It’s a very clever play.  Funny, sweet, beautifully acted with bold, playhouse performances full of humor and nuance and painfully learned life lessons. This is perfect Fringe fare. Simple staging, fiercely good performances, great writing,  and purposefully and thoughtfully staged.  The 6th Act took something a little overlooked and made it meaningful again…I absolutely loved it!!!

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