Orange County Theatre Reviews

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Reaches For The Stars & Grabs It : Abundance @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

Alina Mae Wilson 

South Coast Repertory presents “Abundance” by Beth Henley, directed by Martin Benson. Cast: Larry Bates (Professor Elmore Crome), Adam Haas Hunter (Jack Flan), , Daniel Reichert (William Curtis), . Segerstrom Stage, October 16 - November 15, 2015

Photo Courtesy : Debora Robinson South Coast Repertory Lily Holleman (Bess Johnson) Paige Lindsey White (Macon Hill)

Every once in a while you come across a show that causes you to feel a genuine emotional investment.  It is the type of show that speaks the truth about human nature without being totally grim and allows us as viewers to feel for and understand each of the characters onstage.  A show like this makes us want good things to happen for these people onstage because the people we are watching are us.  They are every person at their best and worst moments in life.  And as in life, a show like this keeps us guessing.  Abundance at South Coast Repertory is one of these shows. Continue Reading

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Sherlock Holmes : The Maple Leaf Murder @ Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano – Review

Patrick Chavis 

Sherlock Holmes is without a doubt the most famous detective in recognized detective fiction. Sherlock is an archetype of the brilliant but eccentric crime-solver. I say archetype because he’s been copied over as  different book characters to literal adaptions, to shows, and re-imaginings (see House).  In Sherlock Holmes and the Maple Leaf Killer, we find ourselves watching maybe the most Un-Sherlock Sherlock Holmes story imaginable–partly because the man is rarely there. This is actually the story of Sherlock’s protégés (not Watson) Oscar Dove and Busby. Can they solve the crime? Will the brave detectives survive? Or will the dangerously cold Canadian climate be too much for our heroes? Continue Reading

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OC Premiere – Can’t (Hand)le It : A Behanding in Spokane @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

Daniella Litvak 

A Behanding in Spokane (hereafter referred to as “Behanding”) is God of Carnage meets Edgar Allen Poe.  Like God of Carnage, it is (or rather, is advertised as) a dark comedy about four characters, who feel varying degrees of dislike towards one another, going through a traumatic experience while trapped in one room together.  Both plays even have a subplot about a character receiving phone calls from his sick mother. As in many of Poe’s works, Behanding features death traps, grisly violence, and acts of twisted human behavior (ok, that last one could apply to God of Carnage too).  However, Behanding’s playwright, Martin McDonagh, gets away with more cursing than Poe.     Continue Reading

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The 39 Steps is a Galloping Good Time @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Scotty Keister 

Patrick Barlow’s madcap adaptation of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller, “The 39 Steps” (from the novel by John Buchan) seems like it’s getting staged a lot these days, and that’s easy to understand. It requires very few props, no scenery, only four actors, and when done well, it’s a freaking hoot. Stages Theatre takes on the task and succeeds admirably about 97% of the time. The unique aspect to this show is, it not only is slapstick, abstract and always on the move, but it actually has a recognizable mystery plot, a genuine character arc and a nifty surprise ending, very true to Hitchcock. This production features four adept and funny performers, some silly and hysterical ideas from director Jill Johnson and onstage piano accompaniment by Jeffrey Larson, which helps to cover some of the slower scene changes. In this show, any pause longer than 5 seconds seems like a lifetime. The pace is that frenetic. Continue Reading

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