Orange County Theatre Reviews

Review, Theater, Uncategorized, westminster community theatre Comments Off on Sabrina Fair @ Westminster Community Playhouse in Westminster – Review |

Sabrina Fair @ Westminster Community Playhouse in Westminster – Review

Written by Zack Johnston 

The Westminster Community Theatre’s humble production of Sabrina Fair finds itself at the crossroads of unfortunately underplayed, and surprisingly charming.


photo courtesy : Westminster Community Theatre

After spending five years of her young adult life in Paris, Sabrina Fairchild returns home to her father, a chauffeur to the wealthy Larrabee family living on the North Shore of Long Island in the mid 1950s. After discovering that Sabrina’s life in Europe has made her an eccentric and worldly young woman, her relationship with her father and with the Larrabee family will forever be changed.

Sabrina Fair is a classic story of love, marriage and finding one’s place in the world. Its pleasing and relatable themes must be matched by a developed and substantial performance, which is where this production, directed by Kirk Larson, falls somewhat short.

For a good portion of the performance it is less characters interacting, and more actors running through dialog and blocking, but the redeeming moments of the show are the ones that are filled with sincerity and tenderness.

The mother of the Larrabee family, Maude, is played by MarLee Candell. Candell’s performance initially comes off as rigid and underdeveloped, however she has her moments when she exudes sophistication and grace as the caring and poised mother.

Alison Mattiza plays Maude’s dear old friend, Julia, referred to as Aunt Julia by Maude’s two sons. Mattiza brings a smoothness to her performance that brings out her humor and authenticity.

As Sabrina gets comfortable back at home, her charismatic attitude draws the attention of the Larrabees youngest son David, played by Scott T. Finn. Finn’s performance falls flat as his character pursues Sabrina. David may be soft spoken, but the narrow range of emotion shown by Finn constricts his performance.

The elderly father of the Larrabee family, Linus Larrabee Sr., is played by John Francis. Linus is a character of authority, as well as humor. Although at times stumbling over his lines, Francis portrays the forgetful old man with excellent comedic timing, and balances out his character with his domineering presence.

The vivacious Sabrina is played by Tiffany Berg, who brings to life Sabrina’s bubbly spirit and alluring demeanor. Whether Sabrina is reminiscing about the years in Paris or figuring out her future at home, Berg is alive and committed to her character.

The Larrabee’s eldest son, Linus Larrabee Jr., is played by Mike Martin, who brings a clever wit and charm to his character. The successful sailing enthusiast shares a spirited dynamic with Sabrina after knowing her for so long, and Martin and Berg create this dynamic through their energy and intimacy.

Despite its shortcomings, this production’s heartwarming message of love is one all can enjoy.

Side note: Sabrina was made into a film two times. Once in 1954 with Audrey Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart & then again in 1995 with Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond. buy



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Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Uncategorized Comments Off on Quasimodo Gone Bad: The Phantom of the Opera @ Segerstrom Center of the Arts in Costa Mesa – Review |

La Habra, Mysterium, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Mysterium Theatre presents : As You Like It @ Brio Park in La Habra – Review |

Mysterium Theatre presents : As You Like It @ Brio Park in La Habra – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

When you think of Shakespeare’s plays, As You Like It doesn’t immediately come to mind.  If the list is limited to Shakespeare’s comedies, it might barely make the top five.  Still for some reason, it’s a perennial favorite of summer Shakespeare in the park productions, lets explore the reasons why.

Here’s what happens.  Rosalind is the niece of a Duke who usurped and exiled her father.  For a while he tolerated Rosalind, but then one day he decided she had to go too.  So Rosalind and Celia –the usurping Duke’s daughter and Rosalind’s cousin/BFF –disguise themselves –Rosalind passing herself off as a boy –and run away.  Meanwhile, Orlando –the young nobleman Rosalind has fallen for —is fed up with his brother’s mistreatment and runs away too.  They all wind up in the Forest of Arden and encounter hippies.  (Did I mention Mysterium Theatre sets the play in the 60s?  Or it might be Mysterium thinks people from Shakespeare’s time dressed in and listened to music from that decade.  I’m not sure which).  Anyway, everyone ends up falling in love with or hating one another, and it’s up to Rosalind to straighten out this love dodecahedron.    Continue Reading

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Fiddler on the Roof @ Aldergate Church in Tustin – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Family, tradition, and moral values –no matter what culture or religion you subscribe too –these things matter. They appear in the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, and in many more religious and cultural traditions all over the world. The stories may be different, but many of the lesson are very much the same.  Aldergate Church in Tustin, California –a Methodist church by association — putting on the most famous Jewish musical of all time, demonstrates their belief in this very concept.  Some may say it’s an odd choice, but Aldergate doesn’t think so. 


Photo Courtesy: Aldergate Church

A little history: Fiddler on the Roof was at one time the longest running show to hit Broadway for quite a while.  Fiddler’s long reign on the great white only lasted until Grease came along.  At the time Fiddler first came out, many people thought the production might be too Jewish for a mainstream audience and not Jewish enough for a Jewish one. Both were wrong –like any well written story —Fiddler straddled the line of being to appealing to all demographics while staying true to it’s Jewish roots.  The musical is based on a story written in the 1800’s about a Jewish dairyman man named Tevye who has six troublesome daughters. Continue Reading

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Anaheim, Review, The Chance Theater, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Low Flying Dragons – The Dragon Play @ The Chance Theatre in Anaheim – Review |

Low Flying Dragons – The Dragon Play @ The Chance Theatre in Anaheim – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

There is so much fascination centered around dragons.  These magical creatures appear in different forms in legends from all over the world and continue to be featured in stories to this day.  In the Chance Theatre’s production of The Dragon Play, some seemingly average folks’ encounters with real life dragons give new meaning to the ideas of love and freedom.

In modern day Minnesota a Woman and Man are living in a house with their son. They are experiencing some marital tension, which the sudden arrival of an old friend of the Woman’s (who incidentally is a Dragon) exacerbates.  In Central Texas, a Loser Boy (I did not name these characters) meets a stranded Dragon Girl, and their friendship is tested to the limits when one of them is forced to leave the other.

The scenic/costume designer, Sara Ryung Clement created a beautiful set.  With an icy blue and white setting, the cold atmosphere placed before us is simple yet easily attributed to so many things: the high altitude dragons experience, the chilly environment the irritable couples create, and of course, the barren land known as Minnesota during winter.  I don’t think the stage’s appearance could be more any appropriate. As for the costumes, tight leather clothing and studded motorcycle vests allow both the Dragon Girl and the Dragon to retain their sex appeal while being believable as a separate species.

The performances are solid throughout.  Despite his possible status as the “least exciting” member of the bunch, special mention goes to John J. Piston.  As the Man he makes two of the best speeches in the entire show. While Piston insists that the monologues are “well written,” in the hands of a different performer they could easily be overblown.  During these moments Piston uses just the right touch of anger and humor.  Another standout performer is Elena Murray who plays Dragon Girl.  She is all scales and grace from beginning to end, which is very pleasing to watch.

The Dragon Play‘s storyline is something of a mystery, but it does not present itself as such, nor does it bother to disguise itself.  It simply spends a lot of time tossing out some interesting ideas.  The idea behind the plot is to provide an experience that blends both everyday life and mysticism.  The play delivers on the everyday but never truly takes us anywhere magical. 





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8 Overall
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