Orange County Theatre Reviews

Canada Rocks : Come From Away @ Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Even though Come From Away is set against the tragic backdrop of 9/11, it focuses more on the tension, feelings, and emotions of the time — as opposed to a more strait-laced recap of the period. The characters we see stranded in Canada remind us of the pain felt by all Americans at home and abroad alike. Yet even in tragedy, the characters were about to find a silver lining.   Continue Reading

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The Barber is In: Sweeney Todd is Back in Town @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo by Jordan Kubat)

Written by Scotty Keister 

Chinese proverb: He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.

The legend of Sweeney Todd is a long and storied one. Todd began life in the mid-19th century in a penny dreadful tale. In this original version Todd was a secondary character. He soon came to life in a stage version penned by George Dibdin Pitt. His legend continued throughout the 20th century in dozens of stage, film and television versions. Ultimately, when British playwright Christopher Bond created Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1973, new life was breathed into Sweeney’s aging, bloodthirsty barber. The tale was fleshed out, making the story into more of a revenge tragedy, and not simply a bloody horror tale. This is the version that first brought Sweeney to Stephen Sondheim’s attention and led to him creating  what might be considered the ultimate edition in 1979. Continue Reading

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Costa Mesa, Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Culture Clash (Still) In America @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

Culture Clash (Still) In America @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(Photos by Jordan Kubat/SCR)

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Culture Clash (Still) In America running now at South Coast Repertory is composed of the Latino comedy group Culture Clash, that has been performing on theatre stages since the 1980s. As one of the comedians mentioned when they started, Ronald Reagan was president.  Their brand of comedy has always been politically charged. Even in 2019, with a lot of the controversy over comedians going overboard with their jokes and a very tense political atmosphere, these comedians pulled no punches and unloaded jokes on everyone: African-American preachers, Filipino Republicans, Trump voters and much more.

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Costa Mesa, Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Shrew! @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

Shrew! @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo by Debora Robinson)

Written by Daniella Litvak 

Time to brush up on your Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s most popular —actually his second most popular according to a survey the Royal Shakespeare Company conducted in 2003. The story goes like this. In sixteenth century Italy, Padua to be exact, there lives a rich gentleman named Baptista. He has two daughters. Several suitors clamor for the hand of Bianca, the younger daughter. Unfortunately, Baptista refuses to permit any of the suitors marry Bianca until his elder daughter, Katherine (whose name varies from production to production), is wed first. Katherine is deemed a shrew —aka an abusive woman who does not know her place. Bianca’s suitors convince Petruchio —a gentleman of Verona —to woo Katherine. Attracted to her dowry and the idea of breaking her, Petruchio goes after Katherine’s hand while the rest of them continue to scheme for Bianca’s.  Continue Reading

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

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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Costa Mesa, Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Gem of the Ocean @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

Gem of the Ocean @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

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(photo courtesy: Jordan Kubat)

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Gem of the Ocean, now playing at South Coast Repertory, is the first play in a 10-play series by August Wilson, which covers every single decade of the twentieth century.  These plays were not written in order, nor was Gem of the Ocean the first play written. Regardless, all of them demonstrate Wilson’s talent for getting to the point of serious issues –predominantly African-American issues but a few other topics as well –while also creating dramatic, honest and entertaining theatre.  South Coast Repertory’s rendition of this classic play is a strong production, but more importantly, its lessons about what is right, wrong, and truthful are still incredibly relevant more than a decade later.   Continue Reading

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