Non-Registered Critics: Terry Morgan

Mar

Canceled - Lying with Badgers: New Play by Native Voices at the Autry

Director Randy Reinholz gets strong work from the ensemble and uses the theatrical space creatively. Faith James’s animal puppets are scruffily adorable, especially a large dog puppet, which Dickerson expertly maneuvers. As playwright, Grasl clearly has talent, but Badgers has problems both architecturally and tonally.

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Feb

SUSPENDED - Human Interest Story

There is a lot of talent working in Human Interest Story, and an overriding anguish in the writing about how the country is going wrong — how we, like Lear, have taken too little care.

Unfortunately the play itself is flawed, and whatever message it intends to deliver gets muddled along the way.

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Jan

Earthquakes in London

Directors Hollace Starr and John Perrin Flynn do expert work with their 17-person cast, staging the action dynamically and pacing it so swiftly that this two hour and 40 minute play never feels as long as it is. Starr and Flynn keep a myriad of plotlines distinct and add impressive visual flair to unexpected musical sequences, which are well-choreographed by Marwa Bernstein. Matt Richter’s lighting and Michelle Hanzelova’s projections brilliantly combine to create the many different settings of the story. - RECOMMENDED

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Dec

Disposable Necessities

Director Guillermo Cienfuegos gets strong work from his actors, but the play’s first act is weighed down with a lot of exposition while some of its science fiction trappings (a virtual internet, earpod-type phones you can’t see) are less convincing than they might be. On the other hand, McGowan’s writing is sharp and humorous and creative, and the moral questions he poses in the second act are intriguing if somewhat theoretical.

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Nov

Buried Child

Bolstered by several strong performances, this revival does do justice to Shepard’s play, but a couple of missteps keep the production from reaching its full potential...

Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott gets high-quality performances from her cast, and if she chooses to focus more on the comedic aspects of the play more than the dramatic, it’s a valid choice and the production still succeeds.

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Oct

Red Thread by Siegfried Tieber

Mr. Tieber is a charming performer, engaging the audience throughout not only with his impressive prestidigitation skills but also his ready wit and ability to connect with the crowd...

Siegfried Tieber is a prodigiously talented performer, and Red Thread is the kind of maze one might wish to stay in for a while, luxuriate in the mysteries of chance, and possibly buy a cocktail for the Minotaur.

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Oct

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP - A PENNY DREADFUL

Ludlam’s play is a classic, a tribute to old Universal Studios monster movies and gothic melodramas, and it retains all of the quick wit and affection for the genres it satirizes. Allee and Wade do their best and are generally entertaining.

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Sep

A PLAY IS A POEM

There’s some funny writing, good actors and the wonderful presence of Nellie McKay. But having that dead spot in the middle of the show makes it difficult to sit through.

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Sep

Witch

Marti Lyons' direction is focused and energetic, and she gets superb work from her cast, especially Von Vogt and Jonigkeit. However, an interpretive dance sequence toward the end of the play intended to change up the production's style, tries too hard and unfortunately doesn't work. Silverman's writing is some of the funniest I've experienced in years; it's sharp, the pace is propulsive, and the character work is deft. However, the two parallel storylines never quite sync up to anything bigger, and the comedic material is more successful than the dramatic moments.

That being said, Witch is a very entertaining, wickedly funny play, the kind of thing playwrights might have sold their soul to have written.

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Sep

Handjob

Patterson’s play is smart and very funny, and if its reach slightly exceeds its grasp, it’s no matter. The world premiere production by the Echo Theater Company is expertly acted and directed and genuinely thought-provoking in the best way. - RECOMMENDED

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Aug

Andy Warhol’s Tomato

...Andy Warhol’s Tomato is a strong and entertaining production about a unique artist. As Bones says in the play, “There is beauty in the mundane.” This show has found it. - RECOMMENDED

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Aug

Bad Hamlet

Director Rob Adler has no lack of creative ideas, but they vary wildly in quality and execution...

As a company Coin & Ghost clearly has talent and ambition, but in this production, it’s unclear what the group is trying to say.

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Jul

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion. - RECOMMENDED

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Jul

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion...

Director Shroyer uses the 16-person ensemble well and stages Brecht’s chaos with stylish intelligence...

For a seventy-plus-year-old play, Chalk Circle retains a remarkable amount of critical edge, and this current production does Brecht justice. - RECOMMENDED

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Jul

Mysterious Circumstances

Michael Mitnick's play about this story, Mysterious Circumstances, is intriguing and witty, although it falters somewhat toward its conclusion, where the truth overrides the more satisfying fictions. It is receiving an outstanding world premiere production at the Geffen Playhouse, especially benefiting from Alan Tudyk's excellent lead performance and Matt Shakman's sharp and creative direction.

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Jul

Good Boys

Carolyn Cantor’s direction is professional if not especially distinctive, but Dane Laffrey’s set creates an appropriately tony and austere ambience. The writing is the main problem with this show.

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Jun

Lear/Loman

Russom is very much in command of and at ease with the character, and his frequent transitions from imperious anger to meek kindness are quite effective. Oliver is in good form as the blustery, deluded Loman, and the two actors bring considerable skill to bear upon the material. The enjoyment of this show derives mainly from watching these two performers interact.

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Jun

The Book of Briarshire

Moore’s writing is consistently funny, and the ensemble is talented and clearly having a good time. Colleen Doyle’s direction skillfully amplifies the silliness of the show, especially in an energetic fight/chase toward the end. The only problem with The Book of Briarshire is its structure – it was originally done as a series of shorter pieces as part of Sacred Fools’ Serial Killers show and this production simply puts those pieces together. In its current form, the story feels compressed in a confusing way, and would benefit from expanding out the story and spending more time with the characters.

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May

Daniel's Husband

The dramatic scenes are the most memorable, however, and McKeever successfully creates strong emotional moments while creating an intriguing discussion about gay marriage and legal issues.

The Fountain Theatre has created a very fine production of Daniel's Husband, a lovely surprise that local theater-lovers should seek out.

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May

The End of Sex

Director Maria Gobetti gets strong work from her ensemble but can’t quite get past an imbalanced script. For a play of ideas, the writing doesn’t disappoint; the topics Walch brings up are provocative and interesting and easy to relate to.

...overall The End of Sex is funny, well-acted and thought-provoking.

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