Paradise

Critics

LemonMeter

77 %

Reviews: 15

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

What is the science behind first love? Two outsiders, a gifted Yemeni-American teenager at a poorly rated high school in the South Bronx and her disillusioned biology teacher, form an unlikely scientific partnership in the hope of securing her a scholarship. But when conflicts arise over differences in religion, culture and the boundaries of mentorship, their capacity to alter the course of each other’s lives becomes greater than either had imagined. Paradise was commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, dedicated to developing new works about science and technology, and was a runner-up for the 2016 Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights. WOW!… intelligent, thought-provoking, compelling, heartbreaking, and satisfying… deserves national attention” — Stage Scene LA. Following four weeks of sold-out performances at the Westside’s Odyssey Theatre, the acclaimed production of Laura Maria Censabella’s moving, funny and thought-provoking drama, produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions and American Oasis, re-opens as a visiting production at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046; March 8 thru March 31; $35; (323) 960-7724 or www.Plays411.com/Paradise

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Reviews

"Milani is great in her role as a confused young woman locked between her religion and science. Her up-and-down personality takes the audience on a wild ride of emotion... Jeff Marlow is very strong in this role; his wholesome southern accent and curmudgeon attitude are perfect for this role. Also, his well-timed enthusiasm is exciting to watch and he delivers some heartfelt monologues... However, ultimately, it’s hard to sympathize with someone who tampers with other scientists’ experiments because of lost girlfriends, regardless of how charming they may be. I just couldn’t find the play’s larger vision. Jeff Rowlings’ set design makes the underfunded public-school look like an expensively sheik redone classroom. New posters fill the walls and the room is clean. Hard to believe this is a setting for a school short on funds."

sweet-sour - Ezra Bitterman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Kathy Flynn
"This compelling two-person play features beautifully-written, multi-dimensional characters who bloom through their connection with each other. The acting is top-notch, particularly Marlow, a veteran actor who fully commands the stage. Milani at times is a tad too intense, but once she relaxes, her portrayal is honest and extraordinarily moving. The actors have terrific chemistry so their eventual unlikely friendship feels real and earned."

sweet - Kathy Flynn - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


"They were fortunate to secure Vicangelo Bulluck, a man well known in theatrical and political circles (he opened first the Hollywood branch of the NAACP}, to direct the flawless cast."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - WillCall - ...read full review


"Censabella has covered her theatrical canvas with issues of great import, the conflicts of cultures, the struggle between religion and science, the nature of love, faith’s demands over one’s ambitions, the hope for redemption, the difficulties women face in seeking scientific careers. But sadly, closer inspection reveals Paradise is a “paint by numbers” piece."

sweet-sour - Ernest Kearney - The TVolution - ...read full review


"This complex show is set to present day in the science lab of a large inner-city Bronx high school. At times the dialogue is a bit tedious and heady – giving the feel of actually being in an advanced science class. That being said, pay close attention to the words or you could get lost in the science mishmash... Paradise gets an O (oh, yeah)"

sweet - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


"Paradise, an intense and complex drama, will definitely provide food for thought. Plus the acting is outstanding. FIVE STARS!!!"

sweet - Wilfred M. Phillips Jr. - Long Beach Times - ...read full review


"Paradise is important in that it attempts to address the emotional, scientific and faith-based cultural complexities and prescient topical issues of our society, through connection and personal relationships. Something we all could probably use a little more of. Recommended"

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


"Odyssey Theatre presents us with another thought-provoking play in Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella, directed by Vicangelo Bulluck and produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon... Props are plentiful in this very realistic grungy classroom of a set and often they cement the sense of the character and their reality but the rifling through piles of notebooks on Dr. Royston’s desk pull focus and the scene change time required to reset props in a messenger bag and backpack, change the date on the board and generally handle everything that is used sinks the momentum a bit, making us wondering what might have happened if all of those changes had been ignored in favor of letting the actors play and the audience’s imagination do the rest."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Stephen Fife
"There is a great deal to like about Paradise, the new play by Laura Maria Censabella now receiving its West Coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre... ...But as an audience member, I didn’t buy it — something which director Vicangelo Bulluck must be held responsible for. In general, his production felt too isolated and clean."

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


"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."

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


Deborah Klugman
".....the play features multidimensional characters, fluid dialogue and meaty conflicts involving culture, science and religion, but a one-note portrayal by Rahimi under Bulluck’s lax direction sabotages what might have been an intriguing production."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Capital and Main - ...read full review


"Directed by Vicangelo Bulluck, Paradise stars Medalion Rahimi (as Yasmeen al-Hamadi)) and Jeff Marlow (as Dr. Guy Royston), the pair make a perfect merge of entertainment, and education as they seek to understand each other."

sweet - Serita Stevens - LA Splash - ...read full review


"PARADISE proves to be entertaining, thought-provoking, and fun besides. This is a fascinating study of conflict and how it might be resolved – or not."

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


Gil Kaan
"The west coast premiere of playwright Laura Maria Censabella's PARADISE receives a strong mounting at the Odyssey Theatre, blessed with the sturdy acting chops of Medalion Rahimi and Jeff Marlow in this singular two-hander. Vicangelo Bulluck ably directs this important, not-oft-told story of a Muslim girl having to weigh her options of family obligations vs. personal goals."

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


Steven Stanley
"Keeping suspense high while avoiding potential pitfalls every step of the way, Paradise is the kind of two-hander that deserves national attention. L.A. audiences can count themselves fortunate to be the first on the West Coast to reap its many rewards."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


"Milani is great in her role as a confused young woman locked between her religion and science. Her up-and-down personality takes the audience on a wild ride of emotion... Jeff Marlow is very strong in this role; his wholesome southern accent and curmudgeon attitude are perfect for this role. Also, his well-timed enthusiasm is exciting to watch and he delivers some heartfelt monologues... However, ultimately, it’s hard to sympathize with someone who tampers with other scientists’ experiments because of lost girlfriends, regardless of how charming they may be. I just couldn’t find the play’s larger vision. Jeff Rowlings’ set design makes the underfunded public-school look like an expensively sheik redone classroom. New posters fill the walls and the room is clean. Hard to believe this is a setting for a school short on funds."

sweet-sour - Ezra Bitterman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Kathy Flynn
"This compelling two-person play features beautifully-written, multi-dimensional characters who bloom through their connection with each other. The acting is top-notch, particularly Marlow, a veteran actor who fully commands the stage. Milani at times is a tad too intense, but once she relaxes, her portrayal is honest and extraordinarily moving. The actors have terrific chemistry so their eventual unlikely friendship feels real and earned."

sweet - Kathy Flynn - Discover Hollywood - ...read full review


"They were fortunate to secure Vicangelo Bulluck, a man well known in theatrical and political circles (he opened first the Hollywood branch of the NAACP}, to direct the flawless cast."

sweet - Ingrid Wilmot - WillCall - ...read full review


"Censabella has covered her theatrical canvas with issues of great import, the conflicts of cultures, the struggle between religion and science, the nature of love, faith’s demands over one’s ambitions, the hope for redemption, the difficulties women face in seeking scientific careers. But sadly, closer inspection reveals Paradise is a “paint by numbers” piece."

sweet-sour - Ernest Kearney - The TVolution - ...read full review


"This complex show is set to present day in the science lab of a large inner-city Bronx high school. At times the dialogue is a bit tedious and heady – giving the feel of actually being in an advanced science class. That being said, pay close attention to the words or you could get lost in the science mishmash... Paradise gets an O (oh, yeah)"

sweet - Darlene Donloe - Donloe's Lowdown - ...read full review


"Paradise, an intense and complex drama, will definitely provide food for thought. Plus the acting is outstanding. FIVE STARS!!!"

sweet - Wilfred M. Phillips Jr. - Long Beach Times - ...read full review


"Paradise is important in that it attempts to address the emotional, scientific and faith-based cultural complexities and prescient topical issues of our society, through connection and personal relationships. Something we all could probably use a little more of. Recommended"

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia on the Move - ...read full review


"Odyssey Theatre presents us with another thought-provoking play in Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella, directed by Vicangelo Bulluck and produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon... Props are plentiful in this very realistic grungy classroom of a set and often they cement the sense of the character and their reality but the rifling through piles of notebooks on Dr. Royston’s desk pull focus and the scene change time required to reset props in a messenger bag and backpack, change the date on the board and generally handle everything that is used sinks the momentum a bit, making us wondering what might have happened if all of those changes had been ignored in favor of letting the actors play and the audience’s imagination do the rest."

sweet-sour - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Stephen Fife
"There is a great deal to like about Paradise, the new play by Laura Maria Censabella now receiving its West Coast premiere at the Odyssey Theatre... ...But as an audience member, I didn’t buy it — something which director Vicangelo Bulluck must be held responsible for. In general, his production felt too isolated and clean."

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


"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."

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


Deborah Klugman
".....the play features multidimensional characters, fluid dialogue and meaty conflicts involving culture, science and religion, but a one-note portrayal by Rahimi under Bulluck’s lax direction sabotages what might have been an intriguing production."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Capital and Main - ...read full review


"Directed by Vicangelo Bulluck, Paradise stars Medalion Rahimi (as Yasmeen al-Hamadi)) and Jeff Marlow (as Dr. Guy Royston), the pair make a perfect merge of entertainment, and education as they seek to understand each other."

sweet - Serita Stevens - LA Splash - ...read full review


"PARADISE proves to be entertaining, thought-provoking, and fun besides. This is a fascinating study of conflict and how it might be resolved – or not."

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


Gil Kaan
"The west coast premiere of playwright Laura Maria Censabella's PARADISE receives a strong mounting at the Odyssey Theatre, blessed with the sturdy acting chops of Medalion Rahimi and Jeff Marlow in this singular two-hander. Vicangelo Bulluck ably directs this important, not-oft-told story of a Muslim girl having to weigh her options of family obligations vs. personal goals."

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


Steven Stanley
"Keeping suspense high while avoiding potential pitfalls every step of the way, Paradise is the kind of two-hander that deserves national attention. L.A. audiences can count themselves fortunate to be the first on the West Coast to reap its many rewards."

sweet - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review