THEATER REVIEWS

THEATER REVIEWS

  • With 'A Pink Chair,' Wooster Group conjures from spirits from theater's past

    With 'A Pink Chair,' Wooster Group conjures from spirits from theater's past

    We live in an age where the internet has become an open archive. YouTube warehouses our collective nostalgia. (Oh, the hours I’ve lost watching old music videos and classic tennis matches!) But there are cultural forms that slip past our virtual nets. Theater can be recorded, but the exchange between...

  • 'Unemployed Elephants' in Burbank: Road trip rom-com is good for some laughs

    'Unemployed Elephants' in Burbank: Road trip rom-com is good for some laughs

    Myanmar might seem an odd locale for comedy, yet it proves the ideal setting for Wendy Graf’s lighthearted romance “Unemployed Elephants” at the Little Victory Theatre. The play centers on the unlikely, frequently wacky interactions between her two protagonists, played by Brea Bee and Marshall...

  • The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 8-15: 'Nathan Gunn Flying Solo' and more

    The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 8-15: 'Nathan Gunn Flying Solo' and more

    Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Openings The Columbine Project Paul Storiale’s docu-drama about the infamous 1999 school shooting. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman...

  • Women, united: Evil stirs 'The Madres' to action in Argentina

    Women, united: Evil stirs 'The Madres' to action in Argentina

    Evil can look benign. It can appear official. It can masquerade as kind. It can show up at the door in the form of a boy you watched grow up, now wearing a crisply pressed military uniform as he strides about asking questions. In the new play “The Madres” at the Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz, the...

  • South Coast Rep's 'Shrew!' trips along the rutted road of Shakespearean updates

    South Coast Rep's 'Shrew!' trips along the rutted road of Shakespearean updates

    Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” belongs to a convention of comedy that isn’t coming back anytime soon. The figure of the scolding, abusive wife, a reliable source of hilarity on the Elizabethan stage, will never entirely disappear. But plots devised to teach these women subservience have...

  • Glenda Jackson steals the show in a thrilling, emotionally affecting 'Three Tall Women' on Broadway

    Glenda Jackson steals the show in a thrilling, emotionally affecting 'Three Tall Women' on Broadway

    “Three Tall Women” may not be widely considered the best play Edward Albee wrote (I rank it among his top three), but it is his most affecting and personally inhabited. This 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner is also the work that rehabilitated his reputation, which had taken a drubbing after a series...

  • 'Angels in America,' the right play for our fractious times

    'Angels in America,' the right play for our fractious times

    The superb new Broadway production of “Angels in America” from London brought back my first encounter with the work at the Walter Kerr Theatre in 1993. I had traveled from New Haven to see the two-part play on a Saturday, all day, by myself. I was a grad student at the Yale School of Drama and...

  • In Ventura, a pared but no less potent 'King Lear'

    In Ventura, a pared but no less potent 'King Lear'

    Stop me if you’ve seen this one: An aging, tempestuous, narcissistic ruler craves adulation, exiles those who question him, and neglects those who suffer on the fringes of society. We’re talking about “King Lear,” obviously, and a Rubicon Theatre Company revival that features skilled performances...

  • The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 1-8: Bedlam's 'Hamlet + Saint Joan' and more

    The week ahead in L.A. theater, April 1-8: Bedlam's 'Hamlet + Saint Joan' and more

    Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Openings Hamlet + Saint Joan Four actors play multiple roles as New York-based theater company Bedlam stages stripped-down versions of Shakespeare’s...

  • In 'Pigs and Chickens,' the IT department needs a help desk of its own

    In 'Pigs and Chickens,' the IT department needs a help desk of its own

    Dedicated to producing new works, Ensemble Studio Theatre Los Angeles has nurtured a mixed blessing in “Pigs and Chickens,” Marek Glinski’s premiere at the company’s Atwater Village space. Workshopped over a few years, Glinski’s comedy was inspired by his experiences as a technical writer. Although...

  • The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 18-25: 'All's Well That Ends Well' and more

    The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 18-25: 'All's Well That Ends Well' and more

    Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Openings Chicanas, Cholas y Chisme VI: Stand Up! Speak Out! A dozen short plays exploring the lives of Latinas; contains strong language and adult...

  • The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 11-18: 'An Undivided Heart,' 'A 24-Decade History of Popular Music' and more

    The week ahead in L.A. theater, March 11-18: 'An Undivided Heart,' 'A 24-Decade History of Popular Music' and more

    Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), F. Kathleen Foley (F.K.F.), Margaret Gray (M.G.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Openings Exposed Emmy winner Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace”) shares stories from his life and career. Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd.,...

  • Battered souls line up at the bar in 'The Alamo'

    Battered souls line up at the bar in 'The Alamo'

    Ian McRae’s “The Alamo” at the Ruskin Group Theatre has deft dialogue, vivid characterizations and resonant emotionalism. In fact, McRae’s premiere is a solid effort with the potential to become a great play, if not for divergent plots that seem markedly disjointed at times. That’s ironic, because...

  • Storms of laughter drench Justin Tanner's 'El Niño'

    Storms of laughter drench Justin Tanner's 'El Niño'

    “Dysfunctional” would be a polite word to describe the characters dreamed up by Justin Tanner. No action goes uncriticized, no comment unjudged among the sniping family members in his new comedy. The play is called “El Niño,” and it marks the end of a drought. Across two decades, the Los Angeles...

  • Marc Chagall and the poetic flight of fancy that is 'The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk'

    Marc Chagall and the poetic flight of fancy that is 'The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk'

    Sometimes it’s fun to sashay into a theater cold, without the slightest notion of what you’re in for. But before seeing “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk,” the Kneehigh Theatre production now at the Wallis in Beverly Hills, you might want to refresh your memory of the art of Marc Chagall. Chagall's...

  • George Takei & Co. pledge an 'Allegiance' to teaching WWII history

    George Takei & Co. pledge an 'Allegiance' to teaching WWII history

    “Allegiance” is a musical about the incarceration of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. In mass-market, story-and-song form, it encourages audiences to think deeply about a time when Americans were rounded up and shipped away because of their ethnicity. It is a learning opportunity for some;...

  • As Kennedy bios go, 'Jackie Unveiled' is more sketch than portrait

    As Kennedy bios go, 'Jackie Unveiled' is more sketch than portrait

    In the hierarchy of theatrical genres, the solo show built around a cultural or historical eminence doesn’t rank all that high. Biographical musing isn’t playwriting. These works are like extended chat shows without the anchor, stimulating for their potted histories and bits of gossip but soon...

  • Brilliant acting and direction drive a modern 'Streetcar Named Desire'

    Brilliant acting and direction drive a modern 'Streetcar Named Desire'

    Michael Michetti’s revitalizing production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center shakes out the cobwebs of an American classic that hasn’t felt this fresh in a long time. Before the play even begins it’s clear that this is not the New Orleans...

  • In 'Happiest Song Plays Last,' good intentions come with some off-key notes

    In 'Happiest Song Plays Last,' good intentions come with some off-key notes

    When we last checked in on Elliot at the end of “Water by the Spoonful,” the middle work in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ three-play Elliot cycle, he was in Puerto Rico with his cousin Yaz scattering the ashes of his beloved surrogate mother, Ginny, and deciding on his future. Rather than return to Philadelphia...

  • Onstage, this 'Nice Fish' is an acquired taste

    Onstage, this 'Nice Fish' is an acquired taste

    From all outward indications, “Nice Fish,” an Interact Theatre Company production at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, should be a keeper. The elegantly simple situation — two guys ice-fishing on a Minnesota lake – seems rife with comedic possibilities. Co-directors Rob Brownstein and Anita...

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