Orange County Theatre Reviews

The Whale @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

Photo credit: Kerrin Serna

Written by Patrick Chavis

Peter Hilton, Mia Anderson

The Whale will have a full cinematic release in movie theaters in early December 2022. It has already accrued early accolades on the film festival circuit with standing ovations for Brendan Fraser, who plays the lead character. The movie, mainly known by the theatre community, is based on the play produced in the early 2000s and garnered some prestigious theatrical awards. The Costa Mesa Playhouse puts on a whale-sized, powerhouse production of this powerful, dark, and crudely honest story about family, regret, and life. Continue Reading

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Noises Off @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

(Photo credit: Mike Brown)

Written by Patrick Chavis

A British farce is a particular type of comedic play that originated in England. It often centers around an improbable situation causing chaos and distress for the zany characters involved. I’ve always seen it like a cartoon on stage. Under the careful direction of Kathy Paladino & David Rodriguez, the Costa Mesa Playhouse puts on a hilarious and well-executed physical comedy. Costa Mesa’s production of Noises Off is a strong rendition of this modern meta-theatrical farce. Continue Reading

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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare @ Costa Mesa Playhouse in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis

Sammie Moore,Hayley Jackson,Ana Funjimoto

What would typically be backstage is in the front of the stage in this production.  The costume rack is set upright in the center of the stage. Red curtains that would typically be in the front are in the back of the stage. Looking at the reversed set, you know this play will be told in a unique way.  This show is a gag that goes on for about 90 minutes. The gag is the original performers can’t perform, so the audience is going to watch the stage crew perform the show. Hayley Jackson, the dramaturg, Ana Fujimoto, the lighting assistant, and Sammie Moore, the costume assistant, haphazardly go through condensed versions of Shakespearian classics with minimal regard for accuracy. Continue Reading

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Silent Sky @ The Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson

The Costa Mesa Playhouse presents Silent Sky. A historical fiction by Lauren Gunderson, Silent Sky imagines the personal and professional life of iconic American astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Stacked with a charming cast and a starry background that evokes feelings of solemnity, Silent Sky should be considered a competent story but not necessarily an entertaining one.

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Lost in Yonkers @ The Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

It’s been two years since Neil Simon, one of the most well-known playwrights of his generation, passed away. He had a very successful career in writing more than 30 different plays, which were often adapted into feature films.  Simon’s plays were famous for being comedic but also dramatic.  Even before I started a deep dive into theatre, the name Neil Simon was a well-known, like Einstein or Mother Teresa.  Lost in Yonkers won the Pulitzer prize in 1991, and in a career that resulted in the creation of so many plays, it’s often known as one of the highlights of his career.  The Costa Mesa Playhouse has now put on a production of this famous play. Under the precise direction of Wendy Ruth, the charm, the comedy and dangerous side of families are well performed, almost the entire way through.

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Alchemy Theatre Company presents : Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play @ The Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

(Photos by Amy Lauren Gettys)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Ladies and gentlemen, the apocalypse has occurred.  Doomsday has come.  Let chaos and sorrow reign.  In Mr. Burns (playing at the Costa Mesa Playhouse) millions are dead, whole cities are abandoned, and electricity is a thing of the past.  So what is at the forefront of everyone’s mind? The Simpsons.  It’s actually not that surprising, the idea that survivors of a mass tragedy would steadfastly cling to pop-culture references that are familiar to so many people.  What IS a bit startling is a the evolution of such a reference, the gradual change from a mere source of entertainment to a mythology that only loosely resembles its source material.   Continue Reading

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