Orange County Theatre Reviews

A Moby Dick for a New Time @ South Coast Repertory – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

Let there be no mistake: Moby-Dick is a book about whales. Its full title, which does not even appear on my paperback copy, is Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. First published in 1851, it was poorly reviewed and derailed what was a budding literary career for Herman Melville, who went on to become a customs clerk and die in relative poverty, having sold only a little over 3,000 copies of the book in his lifetime. However, Moby-Dick lives on as a literary classic that has been championed by countless writers and debated endlessly. The story has fascinated generation after generation. There are a number of stage versions (including a worthy one by Orson Welles), but this newest one, adapted and directed by David Catlin for Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company, and now running on South Coast Repertory’s Segerstrom Stage, is—for my money—the best. Simply titled Moby Dick, it is a rollicking, spectacular, breath-taking and astonishing work of theater craft. Encompassing the arts of acrobatics, ballet, music and singing, aerial dance, creative costuming, and stunning light and sound work, the play manages to touch on most of the themes the novel pores over at length, using only minimal words and movement. Continue Reading

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A Piece of My Heart @ The Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

(Photo by Mike Dale Brown)

Written by Mike Martin 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Vietnam War was bad. If you agree with that statement or have consumed any sort of media about that conflict, then A Piece of My Heart has very few surprises in store. We’ve all read this book, watched this movie, and even seen this play before under a hundred other names. It not that it isn’t moving, well-written, or even true… But things like this are hard to get excited for anymore these days. Continue Reading

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A Murder Is Announced @ Newport Theatre Arts Center – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

Agatha Christie is the “Queen of Crime.”  Author of  sixty-six detective novels and fourteen short story collections, only the Bible and Shakespeare outsell her.  She is the only woman dramatist to have three plays running simultaneously in West End and the playwright of the world’s longest running play —The Mousetrap.  Please don’t worry, I am not about to spoil the ending of The Mousetrap because the Agatha Christie mystery (which Leslie Darbon adapted for the stage) I’ve investigated at Newport Theatre Arts Center is A Murder Is Announced.          Continue Reading

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Durang Strikes Again: Beyond Therapy @ The Modjeska Playhouse in Lake Forest – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

It’s Christopher Durang season in OC, and that just makes me happy. After a hilarious run of his most recent work, “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike” recently at Stages Theater in Fullerton, February finds “Beyond Therapy,” at the Modjeska Playhouse in Lake Forest. Though not probing as deeply into human fallibility, “Beyond Therapy” shares the same Durang penchant for silliness and terrifically funny wordplay. Continue Reading

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Behind the Orange Curtain #4 – FOR THE KIDS: FREE Theatre Education Opportunities in Orange County!

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Theatrical education is incredibly important.  Not merely for those who want to become performers, directors, or any other part of the industry–no, it’s been found that learning about the theatre is beneficial in everyday life (Studies) (Studies). After researching the county, I was able to find three different programs facilitated by South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa and The Chance Theatre in Anaheim that are working to get kids into theatre–and what’s even more impressive, the programs offered are free to students.  Continue Reading

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A Show You Can Jump On : Claudio Quest @ The Chance Theatre – Review

(All photos by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a new show in town! It’s a comedic musical that delves into the psyches of sentient video game characters as they go on their adventure.  Due to the plot and its format, I find myself instinctively giving writer/director Marshall Pailet points for creativity.  The show is bright, colorful, and positively peppered with pop-culture references, but at times it appears to be trying to be deeper that it actually is.  Nevertheless, the characters are engaging; a lot of the jokes land well, and for the most part Claudio Quest succeeds in holding the audience’s attention. Continue Reading

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