Orange County Theatre Reviews

The Woman in Black @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis

October is the time of the year for themed plays –particularly horror themed. Sadly, the horror genre is not all that popular in the modern theatre scene –at least with standard plays. However, I’m noticing some real horror innovations in Immersive Theatre these days. Usually when people want to put on a horror play, we are taken back to the classics. One of these classics is The Woman in Black. It’s so popular the play opened in 1989 and has consistently run for 28 years, which makes it one of the longest running West End (London Theatre) shows ever. This two-hander play is a slow burning thriller with an old-school approach to horror (they take a long time to do anything). While the cast and overall stage work in this production is well executed in many areas, the long, (unfortunately) necessary, expository monologues in this play does drain some of the plot’s forward momentum and demands its audience to be very patient theatre goers. Still it’s a classic for a reason and a good study on some of the basics of the genre. Continue Reading

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A new Frankenstein has risen : Frankenstein @ California State University, Fullerton – Review

(photo courtesy : Jordan Kubat) 

Written by Daniella Litvak 

It’s October, and with October comes opportunities to wear costumes, eat pumpkin-flavored treats, and enjoy the thrill of a horror story.  What better way to start the month of frightful delights than with a real classic —the monster story all other monster stories aspire to —Frankenstein!  As is the case with most classic tales, there are numerous versions of Frankenstein for everyone to experience, but the iteration currently running is unlikely to be one you’ve seen before.  It’s an original production that is so new it did not even exist six months prior to its debut. Continue Reading

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The Merchant of Venice @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Nothing says summer like Shakespeare –am I right?  Of course I’m right.  Theater upon theater, stage upon stage, and actor upon actor are racing to prepare elegant monologues for the benefit of theater goers all over this luscious orb we call Earth.  Ok, I might be exaggerating.  However, the fact remains that the season for Shakespeare is here, so it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more than one.  The first in the lineup is STAGEStheatre with their production of The Merchant of Venice and HOLY TOLEDO have they set the bar high.  I do not recall the last time I wished to see The Merchant of Venice twice. Continue Reading

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The Killer Angels, Soldiers of Gettysburg @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review

(photo courtesy : Brian Newell)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

As one might surmise from the title “The Killer Angels, Soldiers of Gettysburg”, this is a play about the Battle of Gettysburg and the soldiers that fought in it.  It’s an attempt to peer closely into the hearts and minds of men fighting on the opposite sides of the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil and effectively “humanize” them.  Whether they ever lacked the humanization this play seeks to grant them is a question worth exploring in and of itself, but I digress.  “The Killer Angels, Soldiers of Gettysburg” is pretty much a social studies lecture–habitually informative, occasionally thrilling, but often dull. Continue Reading

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Kill Me, Deadly! @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

The fictional world of the hard-boiled private eye, known in cinema as film noir, has been endlessly lampooned; its arch dialogue, cynical perspectives, femme fatales, low life criminals and world-weary detectives are wide open for ribbing. Now, Bill Robens’ “Kill Me, Deadly!” – originally produced in 2009 by Theatre of NOTE in Los Angeles – has found its way to STAGEStheatre in Fullerton. Relying on genre archetypes, well-worn hard-boiled dialogue and an impossibly complicated plot (Raymond Chandler was once asked by the producer of the filmed version of his novel “The Big Sleep,” who killed the chauffeur? to which he responded with a shrug – he had no idea), “Kill Me, Deadly!” is an often sharply written and frequently hilarious parody that is not without its faults. Continue Reading

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Green Day’s American Idiot @ Fullerton Community College in Fullerton – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Green Day’s American Idiot was created by Billie Joe Armstrong from the pop punk group Green Day and was based off the band’s albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.  Since Armstrong is not known for being part of the musical theatre scene, it was a surprise to find out in 2010 that he was releasing a musical on Broadway.  What wasn’t surprising was the tone and message coming out of the musical.  It was textbook Green Day –punk rock with polish.  American Idiot (the album) was released during the time of the George W. Bush administration, so some of the play’s politics are anchored to that time frame. Still Director Tim Espinosa made sure to keep this version more current and committed to the musical’s rebellious spirit: taking jabs at Trump, Islamophobia, xenophobia and much more. The theatrics and music in the show are quite overwhelming, but the stage is a treat to behold. The story on the other hand feels rather weak and –when compared with the other outside theatrics –make the show feel imbalanced at times. Continue Reading

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