Rules of Seconds

Critics

LemonMeter

85 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Honor! Madness! Blood! Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney directs the world premiere of an edgy, intense and darkly comic new play by John Pollono. Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers, Judging Amy), Jamie Harris (AMC's Turn, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Josh Helman (X-Men:Apocalypse, Mad Max:Fury Road) head the cast of this highly dramatic and very funny play set in 1855 Boston, where the local citizenry mingle, love — and fight with regularity. When Nathaniel “Wings” Leeds is challenged to a duel by the most dangerous man in the city, he asks his estranged brother to be his second. Deep family tensions and old rivalries resurface as the brothers struggle to follow the hundreds-years-old “Code of Dueling.” Runs March 16-April 15 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013; $24–$52; (866) 811-4111; www.thelatc.org.

Reviews

Avatar

Even so, Rules of Seconds isn't a straight-ahead melodramatic thriller. The genre machinery hums along, doing the expected, while we are incidentally served the real business of satire — savoring absurd situations, clever talk, and the idiocy of a social target, in this case, revenge and masculine honor.

sweet - Gray Palmer - ...read full review


Avatar

Rules of Seconds is smart and economically written, if not with any overt emotional resonance. But by doing less, it perfectly reflects the comportment of the period and for a modern audience, highly appealing in its candid artlessness. Impeccable performances by the entire cast.

sweet - Tracey Paleo - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

This clever, rollicking, and very satirical look at what constitutes a “real man” in nineteenth century New England will have the audience roaring, even as blood spurts to the ceiling and the principals drop like flies.

sweet - Elaine L Mura - ...read full review


Joan Alperin

The play is smart, funny and insightful. The fact that the slightest infractions between gentlemen was grounds for a challenge to be resolved with pistols, and the ridiculous idea of sticking to the rules at all costs, is a great commentary on modern culture and politics in the 21st century.

sweet - Joan Alperin - ...read full review


Avatar

Rules of Seconds is easily the best new play that's premiered in Los Angeles this year. John Pollono's original story is well crafted, easy to follow, and very smart. The cast is terrific; the design is stunning; and, the utter ridiculousness of Jamie Harris' character will leave you laughing like a hyena.

sweet - George Brietigam - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

As intoxicatingly entertaining a new play as I've seen in a good long while, Rules Of Second further cements John Pollono's reputation as one of our most adventurous and original writers. So delicious is this theatrical meal, you might well find yourself wanting to go back for seconds.

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


Avatar

It's a bouncy start that, in conjunction with the musical “Hamilton,” could renew interest in the obsolete art of dueling.

sweet-sour - Charles McNulty - ...read full review


Avatar

Though director Jo Bonney coaxes memorable individual performances from an ensemble of outstanding character actors (nicely supported by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz's convincing period costumes, Neil Peter Jampolis' sculpted lighting and Cricket S. Myers' crack sound), too much of the play's rigorous historical research feels distractingly unrooted while too many of its latent laughs fail to ignite.

sour - Bill Raden - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed by Jo Bonney, this shrewd play forces the audience to ponder the idiocy of man's actions. The cast, led by television star Amy Brenneman, is stellar.

sweet - Jonas Schwartz - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses

But instead , we get a pretty explicit exploration of what our age would call "toxic masculinity."" Expectation breeds acceptance of the worst , most infantile and destructive of traits. Acceptance becomes reverence. Reverence becomes a cycle of revenge and blood and death. Yet to be fair , it isn't as if masculinity is the horror's only source. Women too--as this play reveals--have the same impulses , sometimes as dark as can be and for as human reasons as men."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite being somewhat cheap-looking it is not an ugly show.

sweet-sour - Jason Rohrer - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

As directed by Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney, Rules of Seconds is an intense, comedy drama, at once horrifying and humorous. The cast is extraordinary, playing it big and rendering vivid, indelible characters who deliver their words in authentic dialects under the coaching of Paul Wagar.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

The acting company is fine with strong performances...Director Bonney fine tunes the action as it reaches the heights of Jacobean Tragedy. A bloody good time was had by all.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Avatar

Even so, Rules of Seconds isn't a straight-ahead melodramatic thriller. The genre machinery hums along, doing the expected, while we are incidentally served the real business of satire — savoring absurd situations, clever talk, and the idiocy of a social target, in this case, revenge and masculine honor.

sweet - Gray Palmer - ...read full review


Avatar

Rules of Seconds is smart and economically written, if not with any overt emotional resonance. But by doing less, it perfectly reflects the comportment of the period and for a modern audience, highly appealing in its candid artlessness. Impeccable performances by the entire cast.

sweet - Tracey Paleo - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

This clever, rollicking, and very satirical look at what constitutes a “real man” in nineteenth century New England will have the audience roaring, even as blood spurts to the ceiling and the principals drop like flies.

sweet - Elaine L Mura - ...read full review


Joan Alperin

The play is smart, funny and insightful. The fact that the slightest infractions between gentlemen was grounds for a challenge to be resolved with pistols, and the ridiculous idea of sticking to the rules at all costs, is a great commentary on modern culture and politics in the 21st century.

sweet - Joan Alperin - ...read full review


Avatar

Rules of Seconds is easily the best new play that's premiered in Los Angeles this year. John Pollono's original story is well crafted, easy to follow, and very smart. The cast is terrific; the design is stunning; and, the utter ridiculousness of Jamie Harris' character will leave you laughing like a hyena.

sweet - George Brietigam - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

As intoxicatingly entertaining a new play as I've seen in a good long while, Rules Of Second further cements John Pollono's reputation as one of our most adventurous and original writers. So delicious is this theatrical meal, you might well find yourself wanting to go back for seconds.

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


Avatar

It's a bouncy start that, in conjunction with the musical “Hamilton,” could renew interest in the obsolete art of dueling.

sweet-sour - Charles McNulty - ...read full review


Avatar

Though director Jo Bonney coaxes memorable individual performances from an ensemble of outstanding character actors (nicely supported by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz's convincing period costumes, Neil Peter Jampolis' sculpted lighting and Cricket S. Myers' crack sound), too much of the play's rigorous historical research feels distractingly unrooted while too many of its latent laughs fail to ignite.

sour - Bill Raden - ...read full review


Avatar

Directed by Jo Bonney, this shrewd play forces the audience to ponder the idiocy of man's actions. The cast, led by television star Amy Brenneman, is stellar.

sweet - Jonas Schwartz - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses

But instead , we get a pretty explicit exploration of what our age would call "toxic masculinity."" Expectation breeds acceptance of the worst , most infantile and destructive of traits. Acceptance becomes reverence. Reverence becomes a cycle of revenge and blood and death. Yet to be fair , it isn't as if masculinity is the horror's only source. Women too--as this play reveals--have the same impulses , sometimes as dark as can be and for as human reasons as men."

sweet - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Avatar

Despite being somewhat cheap-looking it is not an ugly show.

sweet-sour - Jason Rohrer - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

As directed by Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney, Rules of Seconds is an intense, comedy drama, at once horrifying and humorous. The cast is extraordinary, playing it big and rendering vivid, indelible characters who deliver their words in authentic dialects under the coaching of Paul Wagar.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

The acting company is fine with strong performances...Director Bonney fine tunes the action as it reaches the heights of Jacobean Tragedy. A bloody good time was had by all.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review