Orange County Theatre Reviews

Shakespeare for Breakfast : Five Knaves For Breakfast @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton

Written by Scott Keister 

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of John Hughes’ 1985 film, The Breakfast Club. I’m not of that teen-era, and I found it to be simplistic teen melodrama (possibly my least favorite genre) flat and one-dimensional characters built on stereotypes that “grow” only within the ninety minutes of the film. That being said, an adaptation of the film for stage has to stand on its own merits. It can’t rely on foreknowledge of the film. Five Knaves for Breakfast, running currently at StagesTheatre, relies far too heavily on love for the film to entrance its audience. Without that devotion, there is not much interest.

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Photo courtesy STAGEStheatre

 The idea was to create a version of the film as a Shakespearean mash-up of sortsThe Breakfast Club written in faux Elizabethan versevery faux. If Hero P. Carlisle’s script had set out to be either a parody of The Breakfast Club or Shakespeare it may have had more to offer. But aside from a few neat turns of Elizabethan phrase to echo actual snippets of dialog from the film, there is very little to chuckle at, and you’d have to be a fan of the film to recognize those. Even that strategy vanishes after the first fifteen minutes or so as the play sinks into a very direct recreation of the movie—albeit set in Florence, Italy during the Middle Ages. One wonders if the teens of that era would really be as concerned with the troubles that so worried the modern day teens of the film. Considering life expectancy in Elizabethan times was around 50 and there were small things like the plague and war to worry about, you’d think being unpopular or being bullied would be minor quibbles. But no. Apparently teenage dilemma has never changed. 

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Photo courtesy STAGEStheatre

I have a hard time figuring out what this production was aiming for. The story itself is so well-worn, merely changing the era does nothing but muddy it. The performances, for the most part, do little to bring any depth to the characters: Five teenagers of disparate stations in life are thrown together for one day as a punishment for some infractions they have committed. The idea is they eventually open up to each other, resolve their differences and learn people are not really so different. Whatever. Cameron Moore as the teenage rebel, Jon (Judd Nelson from the original) is the lone standoutelectric, jaunty and bold. The others have one or two nice moments, but overall they fall victim to the flatness of the concept. Jill Johnson directs with energy, but is handcuffed by the stale material.

Shakespeare himself wrote his own treatise on teenage turmoil—agitation with parents, rebellion against authority, trouble with the law, the pain of love—and it was fairly successful. It’s called Romeo and Juliet. Check it out some time.

3/10

Five Knaves for Breakfast runs Saturdays and Sundays at 5 pm through February 21. http://www.stagesoc.org/

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A Few Good Men & Plenty Of Good Actors : A Few Good Men @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review

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Photo Courtesy : The Maverick Theatre

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

A Few Good Men is a film so famous it can be described as iconic.  An underdog team of lawyers go against the big boys in a stressful search for what is right, what is wrong, and what is ultimately the truth (insert famous quote here). But before it was a movie with A-list actors hamming it up to honey-baked levels, then-bartender Aaron Sorkin scribbled onto cocktail napkins what would become the play A Few Good Men.  It quickly made its way up through the theatre ranks to the Broadway stage, proving itself invaluable to all parties concerned.  The history of this play alone makes tackling the script an ambitious endeavor in and of itself.   In the case of the Maverick Theater, that ambition was rewarded with a well acted and well staged performance. Continue Reading

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Comedy Show for Autism at the historic Fox Theater- Preview

Written by: Patrick Chavis 
 

Built in 1925, shut down in 1987 and now recently restored and open to the public, The Fox Theater is a true theatrical institution in Orange County. Whether you want to give to a good cause or just have a good laugh. Being able to sit in the Fox Theater and admire the atmosphere is something that was impossible to do just a few years ago. Seriously, step in and be transported in time, it’s so worth it.

 

 Buy tickets at this link:

http://www.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=677361

 

Location & Dates:

500 N. Harbor Blvd Fullerton, CA 92832

September, 12, 2014

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