Orange County Theatre Reviews

Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical @ Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

There is a reason The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is as famous as it is.  The essential idea behind all the action is delightful.  Stevenson’s novella is centered on the increasingly strange behavior displayed by the well known and well respected Dr. Henry Jekyll. As it turns out, Jekyll has been performing experiments on himself, which transform him into the immoral Mr. Edward Hyde.  Thus we have what is loosely considered by many to be a story focusing on the good and evil battling inside every person.  It’s one of the most delicious plot concepts ever put to paper.  In 1997 Jekyll & Hyde the Musical made its Broadway debut.   It has a score requiring powerful singing and a story calling for skilled actors, yet I find something is missing from it.  While I appreciate its intellectual aspects, I often find myself irritated because of the story’s lack of shock value and emotional pain. Fortunately, the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts has taken any pressure they might have felt from tackling such a show and used it as a propellant to overcome those issues.  In short, these youthful performers are excellent. Continue Reading

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Counter-Balance Theatre Presents: Longitude @ UCI – Review

Longitude’s show run is over. It had a very short run, but it will remount at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. I will keep you updated on the continuing showtimes. 

Written by Patrick Chavis 

No props, no sets, just people and a projector were used to tell the story of a rarely talked about 17th century inventor and clockmaker John Harrison.  Longitude is a physical theatre production, which means the sets and everything else were made with the human body.  The use of the human body in this production is quite creative and establishes the point of feeling for many of the scenes.  Watching Longitude is a truly educational experience that requires focus and intellectual curiosity. It might leave many turned off when exposed to a wider audience because of its tendency to focus less on John Harrison the person and more on his accomplishments and tenacity to make clocks. Since it’s hard to feel for Harrison you wind up experiencing an hour-long introduction to the inventor in one of the most fascinating and unique ways possible. Continue Reading

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Interview with Annie Loui Director and Adaptor of Longitude @ UCI Irvine – Podcast


A devised physical theatre production exploring invention, engineering & obsession in the 18th century.

LONGITUDE is a devised theater performance about 18th century inventor/clockmaker John Harrison, and his entry into the most important race of the century; to discover a means of measuring longitude.

March 16 – 18, 2017

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Performances:
Evenings: March 16, 17, 18 @ 8 p.m.  2017
Matinees: March 18 @ 2 p.m.

FREE

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Orange @ South Coast Repertory – Review

(Photo by ​Debora Robinson/SCR)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

There is not a single person on earth who has never felt loneliness.  Most people, I am fairly certain, have had a desire to go off and do something wild, wonderful, exciting, or to simply put it –have an adventure.  If either of my assertions are wrong, you are welcome to correct me (since I am not you, I will have to take your word for it.)  Still I rather think I am right. It is part of humanity’s history and condition to desire companionship and excitement in some form or another.  Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Orange over at the South Coast Repertory is one of the finest depictions of these desires in the modern day.  Set right here in Orange County, Orange is exciting, funny, and compassionate in all the right ways.  It’s also complex enough to keep you alert and ready for more the entire time. Continue Reading

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Green Day’s American Idiot @ Fullerton Community College in Fullerton – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Green Day’s American Idiot was created by Billie Joe Armstrong from the pop punk group Green Day and was based off the band’s albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.  Since Armstrong is not known for being part of the musical theatre scene, it was a surprise to find out in 2010 that he was releasing a musical on Broadway.  What wasn’t surprising was the tone and message coming out of the musical.  It was textbook Green Day –punk rock with polish.  American Idiot (the album) was released during the time of the George W. Bush administration, so some of the play’s politics are anchored to that time frame. Still Director Tim Espinosa made sure to keep this version more current and committed to the musical’s rebellious spirit: taking jabs at Trump, Islamophobia, xenophobia and much more. The theatrics and music in the show are quite overwhelming, but the stage is a treat to behold. The story on the other hand feels rather weak and –when compared with the other outside theatrics –make the show feel imbalanced at times. Continue Reading

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