A Kid Like Jake

Critics

LemonMeter

90 %

Reviews: 15

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Daniel Pearle’s acclaimed play about a mother and father trying to do right by their son is a study of intimacy and parenthood, and the fantasies that accompany both. On the eve of the admissions cycle for New York City kindergartens, Alex and Greg have high hopes for their son Jake, a precocious four-year-old who happens to prefer Cinderella to G.I. Joe. But as the process continues, Jake's behavior becomes erratic and perplexing, and other adults in his life start to wonder whether his fondness for dress-up might be cause for concern. Sept. 28 thru Nov. 3; IAMA Theatre Company in a Pasadena Playhouse guest production at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre Theatre, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena CA 91101; $30; 323-380-8843; iamatheatre.com

Reviews

Avatar

"A Kid Like Jake," now playing at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, is graced with firm direction by Jennifer Chambers, and Daniel Pearle's one act drama (originally staged in 2013 at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater) has been given a face lift to bring the underlying issues into clearer focus...

Sounds pedantic, but in playwright Pearle's hands, it is a deeply, emotionally-affecting experience.

sweet - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Avatar

What starts out as a collection of banal family quarrels actually reveals the effects of the construction of gender and gender binary on parents and the children they raise within it. The idea of thinking they understand and endorse gender expression but struggling deeply when it being transgender becomes a reality in their child provides a different way for audiences to examine the human condition. This makes for a play that is fascinating to watch but confusing for an audience to interpret because the reasons why Alex is afraid of him being transgender are not truly fleshed out.

sweet-sour - Ginger Gordon - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Avatar

The play, by Daniel Pearle, is multi-layered, allowing audience members to relate in a multitude of different ways to the characters’ dilemmas and choices. Director Jennifer Chambers expertly guides the action, including elegant transitions between scene locations on DeAnne Millais’ well-designed set.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Matt Ritchey

The design elements by DeAnne Millaius (set), Ginevra Lombardo (lights) and Heath Harper (props) are wonderful and the direction by Jennifer Chambers is spot-on. The actors are also top-notch and the production itself is excellent. - Recommended

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Parenting is not easy for Alex (Sarah Utterback) and Greg (Tim Peper) with their precocious son Jake in the West Coast Premiere “A Kid Like Jake” by Daniel Pearle and presented by IAMA Theatre Company. Marriage isn’t a piece of cake either, as we see in this explosive drama about a couple whose son prefers to dress up as Cinderella, instead of playing with trucks or G.I. Joe figures.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Exquisitely directed by Jennifer Chambers, the cast, including the sympathetic nurse (Olivia Liang), is superb in bringing the playwright’s tightly written script to vivid, intimate life. As the play surges toward the climactic scenes, the audience is rapt in pin-drop attention. A dénouement of magic realism brings the show gently to a close. A Kid Like Jake is drama as good as it gets.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

The fights between Peper’s Greg and Utterback’s Alex are horrible and heartrending and ever so believable. It helps that we can only imagine how Jake looks and sounds. Chambers’ instincts as director keep the emotion raw, but manageable, giving us space to think by not demonizing either parent or their friend and adviser, Lawrence’s well-meaning Judy.

sweet - Jana J. Monji - Pasadena Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

The best play on any L.A. stage right now, Daniel Pearle’s 2013 A Kid Like Jake couldn’t be more relevant...

And because Jennifer Chambers’ pile-driving direction for IAMA Theatre Company occurs on Pasadena Playhouse’s intimate upstairs thrust stage, the battle is even more vivid. Heath Harper’s many props show-off the couple’s affability as well as the love, care and devotion which all the characters innately harbor beneath the friction.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The intimacy of the theater lends itself admirably to the very intimate and intense struggles happening all around and inside these conflicted characters. The entire production team competently opens a door into everyone’s soul. When all is said and done, A KID LIKE JAKE is a team effort jointly sponsored by director, actors, production crew, and audience members.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

The strength of the play lies in its insistence on regarding this couple with a steady and unflinching gaze, refusing to make them more “likable.” This is especially true for the mom, Alex. Sarah Utterback burrows deeply into her pain, furnishing a searing portrait of motherhood that will live on in my mind for quite a while, as I suspect it will for most people who see this heartrending production. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Both actors bring such barely-restrained screaming-under-my-skin intensity to their portrayals that audience members were not only moved opening night, they often looked away, embarrassed to be overhearing such personal revelations from a couple in turmoil. Director Jennifer Chambers must be lauded for shepherding one of the most realistic marriages into stage life in years.

sweet - Melanie Hooks - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Erin Conley

While the scenes are enjoyable to watch, thanks to smart dialogue and keen performances, by the end you wonder if this series of conversations actually led anywhere. All of the issues raised are compelling and important ones, but without a clear conclusion the character arcs feel incomplete and a bit unsatisfying.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

The acting is highly credible: Anyone who has been in an intimate relationship will recognize both the zenith and the nadir of emotions that we see here, even as we recognize that Pearle has not painted the picture of a perfect couple. He employs the Cinderella story to great effect: When Cinderella is at the ball, her stepmother and stepsisters look directly at her and cannot recognize her. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned from that insight.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

The IAMA Theatre Company's west coast premiere of playwright Daniel Pearle's A KID LIKE JAKE is very blessed to have the sturdy acting talents of Sharon Lawrence, Tim Peper and Sarah Utterback. This unsettling series of disagreements take a few scenes to clearly communicate the main conflict of this play - how to deal with Jake, a four-year-old boy obsessed with Cinderella and Frozen's Elsa.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Following last spring’s head-bangingly theatrical Mama Metal, A Kid Like Jake showcases IAMA Theatre Company in more traditional but no less edgy mode. It had me riveted from start to finish.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

"A Kid Like Jake," now playing at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, is graced with firm direction by Jennifer Chambers, and Daniel Pearle's one act drama (originally staged in 2013 at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater) has been given a face lift to bring the underlying issues into clearer focus...

Sounds pedantic, but in playwright Pearle's hands, it is a deeply, emotionally-affecting experience.

sweet - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Avatar

What starts out as a collection of banal family quarrels actually reveals the effects of the construction of gender and gender binary on parents and the children they raise within it. The idea of thinking they understand and endorse gender expression but struggling deeply when it being transgender becomes a reality in their child provides a different way for audiences to examine the human condition. This makes for a play that is fascinating to watch but confusing for an audience to interpret because the reasons why Alex is afraid of him being transgender are not truly fleshed out.

sweet-sour - Ginger Gordon - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Avatar

The play, by Daniel Pearle, is multi-layered, allowing audience members to relate in a multitude of different ways to the characters’ dilemmas and choices. Director Jennifer Chambers expertly guides the action, including elegant transitions between scene locations on DeAnne Millais’ well-designed set.

sweet - Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz - ...read full review


Matt Ritchey

The design elements by DeAnne Millaius (set), Ginevra Lombardo (lights) and Heath Harper (props) are wonderful and the direction by Jennifer Chambers is spot-on. The actors are also top-notch and the production itself is excellent. - Recommended

sweet - Matt Ritchey - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Jill Weinlein

Parenting is not easy for Alex (Sarah Utterback) and Greg (Tim Peper) with their precocious son Jake in the West Coast Premiere “A Kid Like Jake” by Daniel Pearle and presented by IAMA Theatre Company. Marriage isn’t a piece of cake either, as we see in this explosive drama about a couple whose son prefers to dress up as Cinderella, instead of playing with trucks or G.I. Joe figures.

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Exquisitely directed by Jennifer Chambers, the cast, including the sympathetic nurse (Olivia Liang), is superb in bringing the playwright’s tightly written script to vivid, intimate life. As the play surges toward the climactic scenes, the audience is rapt in pin-drop attention. A dénouement of magic realism brings the show gently to a close. A Kid Like Jake is drama as good as it gets.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

The fights between Peper’s Greg and Utterback’s Alex are horrible and heartrending and ever so believable. It helps that we can only imagine how Jake looks and sounds. Chambers’ instincts as director keep the emotion raw, but manageable, giving us space to think by not demonizing either parent or their friend and adviser, Lawrence’s well-meaning Judy.

sweet - Jana J. Monji - Pasadena Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

The best play on any L.A. stage right now, Daniel Pearle’s 2013 A Kid Like Jake couldn’t be more relevant...

And because Jennifer Chambers’ pile-driving direction for IAMA Theatre Company occurs on Pasadena Playhouse’s intimate upstairs thrust stage, the battle is even more vivid. Heath Harper’s many props show-off the couple’s affability as well as the love, care and devotion which all the characters innately harbor beneath the friction.

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

The intimacy of the theater lends itself admirably to the very intimate and intense struggles happening all around and inside these conflicted characters. The entire production team competently opens a door into everyone’s soul. When all is said and done, A KID LIKE JAKE is a team effort jointly sponsored by director, actors, production crew, and audience members.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

The strength of the play lies in its insistence on regarding this couple with a steady and unflinching gaze, refusing to make them more “likable.” This is especially true for the mom, Alex. Sarah Utterback burrows deeply into her pain, furnishing a searing portrait of motherhood that will live on in my mind for quite a while, as I suspect it will for most people who see this heartrending production. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

Both actors bring such barely-restrained screaming-under-my-skin intensity to their portrayals that audience members were not only moved opening night, they often looked away, embarrassed to be overhearing such personal revelations from a couple in turmoil. Director Jennifer Chambers must be lauded for shepherding one of the most realistic marriages into stage life in years.

sweet - Melanie Hooks - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Erin Conley

While the scenes are enjoyable to watch, thanks to smart dialogue and keen performances, by the end you wonder if this series of conversations actually led anywhere. All of the issues raised are compelling and important ones, but without a clear conclusion the character arcs feel incomplete and a bit unsatisfying.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

The acting is highly credible: Anyone who has been in an intimate relationship will recognize both the zenith and the nadir of emotions that we see here, even as we recognize that Pearle has not painted the picture of a perfect couple. He employs the Cinderella story to great effect: When Cinderella is at the ball, her stepmother and stepsisters look directly at her and cannot recognize her. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned from that insight.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

The IAMA Theatre Company's west coast premiere of playwright Daniel Pearle's A KID LIKE JAKE is very blessed to have the sturdy acting talents of Sharon Lawrence, Tim Peper and Sarah Utterback. This unsettling series of disagreements take a few scenes to clearly communicate the main conflict of this play - how to deal with Jake, a four-year-old boy obsessed with Cinderella and Frozen's Elsa.

sweet-sour - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Following last spring’s head-bangingly theatrical Mama Metal, A Kid Like Jake showcases IAMA Theatre Company in more traditional but no less edgy mode. It had me riveted from start to finish.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review