Two Trains Running at Matrix

Critics

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 1

The team behind last year's acclaimed Ovation, LADCC, and Stage Raw award-nominated production of August Wilson's "King Hedley II" returns to the Matrix with another installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's "American Century Cycle" the playwright's decade-by-decade exploration of the black experience in 20th century America. It's 1969 in Pittsburgh's Hill District, where the regulars of Memphis Lee's restaurant struggle to cope with the turbulence of a world that is rapidly changing around them. With compassion, humor and a superb sense of place and time, Wilson paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in the shadow of great events. Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046; Ph: 855-326-9945; General Admission $35

Reviews

Rob Stevens

Director Michele Shay has mounted a strong production with a fine ensemble of actors at the Matrix Theatre... As with most of Wilson's plays, I think he could have used a good editor. The nearly three-hour running time begins to drag at times. But with such masterful storytelling and masterful storytellers as Ward on hand, the time is well spent.

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


Avatar

And so it goes, with a superb ensemble cast (Terrell Tilford, Adolphus Ward, Dorian MIssick, Alex Morris) filling in the blanks. Director Michele Shay strikes just the right note with her diverse cast – all black, yet all different in ways that count and similar in ways that count even more.

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


Avatar

Please be aware that there is an extensive use of the N word. I give this play high marks for the acting skills of all characters and highly recommend it for all to see.

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


Avatar

As solid as the actors are, the star of Two Trains Running is the diner itself and the world outside its doors that is changing faster than most people can handle. In such a world, even Hambone can learn to recite the phrase "Black is beautiful" one word at a time.

Through August Wilson's masterful prism and with Shay's assistance, black is turbulent, disquieting, surprising, uncomfortable. And, yes, beautiful.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

I can understand why Risa, besotted with Prophet Samuel, would remain unmoved by the call to militant action with all its male-centric language, since she avoids at great personal cost the gaze and the grope of men. On the job, as she surely realizes, Memphis treats her as little more than an abused domestic, which she bears stoically. So why, after her persistent rejection of Sterling's advances, and even after prejudicing his odds on the numbers she herself provided him, does she eventually succumb to him? The troubled undercurrents of her past go unexplored and unexplained. Wilson was too smart a playwright to be dismissed as simply a male chauvinist basically disinterested in women's lives, as that does not typify his other plays. The underdevelopment of this character—and the absence of even one good juicy monologue for her—remains a mystery. Maybe it's just something Wilson intended for us to go home thinking about.

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


Avatar

Two Trains Running is a masterpiece and this is as fine a production of an August Wilson play as you are likely to see. The ensemble is superbly balanced, the set and production flawless, the actors are brilliant and they all have so much heart. The audience was enthralled.

sweet - J C


David MacDowell Blue

When I look at this play, that is what I come away with. Hope in all its terrible sweetness, a siren voice which brings disappointment even heartbreak, yet not always. As addictive as a drug, save this drug sometimes turns out to be medicine. Actually, that was what drugs were invented as, right? At play's end, I myself feel so much hope for all these people--and most of all maybe for Risa, whose backstory we never learn yet by the power of words and performance and staging we feel as wildly real.

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


Avatar

...the heart of this production is the superb performances under the direction of Michele Shay, a veteran Wilson performer and director who was nominated for a Tony for her 1996 performance in Wilson's “Guitar Lessons.” The actors give such towering performances that to single one out for praise would be a fool's errand. They are an ensemble in the truest sense of the word — a family of equals who support one another generously and magnificently.

sweet - Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-nominated Two Trains Running arrives at the Matrix just in time for Black History Month in as powerfully staged and performed a production as any theatergoer, regardless of color, could possibly wish for.

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


Kathy Flynn

Under the adroit direction of Michele Shay, who herself was Tony-nominated for her performance in Wilson's Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running tackles race, relevancy, and self-worth in an exquisite dialogue-driven slice of life filed with lovely, nuanced performances from a flawless ensemble of skilled actors who will surely be remembered come award season.

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


Avatar

Two Trains Running exists not for any high-risk conflicts it presents or even its snapshot-sharp details about the Hill District of Pittsburgh circa 1969, mired in need and convulsed with change. It's here to let seven souls speak. And listen you must.

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


Avatar

This cast is wrought with talent and more talent. Everyone involved is a vet of the stage and it shows with their chemistry and effortless movement about the stage...

Kudos to Michele Shay for a fluid and crisp directorial triumph!

Two Trains Running is a theatrical feast. Stop by and try the beans and cornbread!

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


Avatar

Under the flawless direction of Michele Shay, this ensemble of superb actors is sensational, infusing the action with energy and monumental heart, bringing August Wilson's words, with its built-in rhythms and emotions, to extraordinary life.

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


Stephen Fife

RECOMMENDED - The brilliance of Michele Shay's direction lies in setting the actors free to explore every nook and cranny of their characters' emotional ramblings. The result is an explosion of theatrical artistry, abetted by John Iacovelli's pitch perfect scenic design, Mylette Nora's costumes, Brian Gale's lighting and Jeff Gardner's sound.

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


Rob Stevens

Director Michele Shay has mounted a strong production with a fine ensemble of actors at the Matrix Theatre... As with most of Wilson's plays, I think he could have used a good editor. The nearly three-hour running time begins to drag at times. But with such masterful storytelling and masterful storytellers as Ward on hand, the time is well spent.

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


Avatar

And so it goes, with a superb ensemble cast (Terrell Tilford, Adolphus Ward, Dorian MIssick, Alex Morris) filling in the blanks. Director Michele Shay strikes just the right note with her diverse cast – all black, yet all different in ways that count and similar in ways that count even more.

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


Avatar

Please be aware that there is an extensive use of the N word. I give this play high marks for the acting skills of all characters and highly recommend it for all to see.

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


Avatar

As solid as the actors are, the star of Two Trains Running is the diner itself and the world outside its doors that is changing faster than most people can handle. In such a world, even Hambone can learn to recite the phrase "Black is beautiful" one word at a time.

Through August Wilson's masterful prism and with Shay's assistance, black is turbulent, disquieting, surprising, uncomfortable. And, yes, beautiful.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

I can understand why Risa, besotted with Prophet Samuel, would remain unmoved by the call to militant action with all its male-centric language, since she avoids at great personal cost the gaze and the grope of men. On the job, as she surely realizes, Memphis treats her as little more than an abused domestic, which she bears stoically. So why, after her persistent rejection of Sterling's advances, and even after prejudicing his odds on the numbers she herself provided him, does she eventually succumb to him? The troubled undercurrents of her past go unexplored and unexplained. Wilson was too smart a playwright to be dismissed as simply a male chauvinist basically disinterested in women's lives, as that does not typify his other plays. The underdevelopment of this character—and the absence of even one good juicy monologue for her—remains a mystery. Maybe it's just something Wilson intended for us to go home thinking about.

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


David MacDowell Blue

When I look at this play, that is what I come away with. Hope in all its terrible sweetness, a siren voice which brings disappointment even heartbreak, yet not always. As addictive as a drug, save this drug sometimes turns out to be medicine. Actually, that was what drugs were invented as, right? At play's end, I myself feel so much hope for all these people--and most of all maybe for Risa, whose backstory we never learn yet by the power of words and performance and staging we feel as wildly real.

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


Avatar

...the heart of this production is the superb performances under the direction of Michele Shay, a veteran Wilson performer and director who was nominated for a Tony for her 1996 performance in Wilson's “Guitar Lessons.” The actors give such towering performances that to single one out for praise would be a fool's errand. They are an ensemble in the truest sense of the word — a family of equals who support one another generously and magnificently.

sweet - Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-nominated Two Trains Running arrives at the Matrix just in time for Black History Month in as powerfully staged and performed a production as any theatergoer, regardless of color, could possibly wish for.

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


Kathy Flynn

Under the adroit direction of Michele Shay, who herself was Tony-nominated for her performance in Wilson's Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running tackles race, relevancy, and self-worth in an exquisite dialogue-driven slice of life filed with lovely, nuanced performances from a flawless ensemble of skilled actors who will surely be remembered come award season.

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


Avatar

Two Trains Running exists not for any high-risk conflicts it presents or even its snapshot-sharp details about the Hill District of Pittsburgh circa 1969, mired in need and convulsed with change. It's here to let seven souls speak. And listen you must.

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


Avatar

This cast is wrought with talent and more talent. Everyone involved is a vet of the stage and it shows with their chemistry and effortless movement about the stage...

Kudos to Michele Shay for a fluid and crisp directorial triumph!

Two Trains Running is a theatrical feast. Stop by and try the beans and cornbread!

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


Avatar

Under the flawless direction of Michele Shay, this ensemble of superb actors is sensational, infusing the action with energy and monumental heart, bringing August Wilson's words, with its built-in rhythms and emotions, to extraordinary life.

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


Stephen Fife

RECOMMENDED - The brilliance of Michele Shay's direction lies in setting the actors free to explore every nook and cranny of their characters' emotional ramblings. The result is an explosion of theatrical artistry, abetted by John Iacovelli's pitch perfect scenic design, Mylette Nora's costumes, Brian Gale's lighting and Jeff Gardner's sound.

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


Avatar

Two Trains Running is a masterpiece and this is as fine a production of an August Wilson play as you are likely to see. The ensemble is superbly balanced, the set and production flawless, the actors are brilliant and they all have so much heart. The audience was enthralled.

sweet - J C