Orange County Theatre Reviews

Newport Beach, Newport Theatre Arts Center, Review Comments Off on Strong & Tender : Steel Magnolias @ Newport Theatre Arts Center – Review |

Strong & Tender : Steel Magnolias @ Newport Theatre Arts Center – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Steel Magnolias sounds like the perfect name for either a Guns N’ Roses cover band or a post punk, feminist rock group. It turns out to be neither (at least I don’t think so). Steel Magnolias is mostly known for the 1989 film with the all-star cast: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, and more. I could continue, because this movie was pumped with as much talent as Ocean’s 11. Before it hit the big screen, Steel Magnolias was a successful play because of its unique take on women, southern life, and death. Newport Theatre Arts Center’s talented cast gracefully pulls you into their southern Louisiana world. There’s no acting here, just six very unique women baring their souls on stage. On the surface it’s a show about a sad event that changes the lives of these women in a beauty parlor. Once you go deeper, the show really is about a bunch of Chatty Cathys that love to bicker about anything and everything, and having the strength to do it.

DSC_0089 (1)

Yara Wilde (Shelby)

The play is set in a shop in Chinquapin, Louisiana, and centers around a lot of different conversations that occur while the women are getting their hair done. The dialogue in this play is funny but not over the top. It’s the kind of everyday humor that kind of pops out at you, and you can’t help but chuckle a little bit.  The things that really make this show enjoyable are the relationships between the characters and how each one of them interacts with one another. This play is truly an actor’s piece. Just fifteen minutes in you already have a good idea where the plot is going, and you know it’s going to be sad.  Still that inevitable sadness takes a backseat to the often funny and whimsical conversations and gossip the characters have.  Continue Reading

Read more

Newport Beach, Newport Theatre Arts Center, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Bang, Bang : Postmortem @ Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach – Review |

Bang, Bang : Postmortem @ Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Postmortem fits in quite well with the paradigm of  the mystery play.  It follows the rules of a typical mystery to the tee.  On one hand, following tradition allows for wonderful dialogue and drama.  However, the traditional mystery structure also has weaknesses and when a show’s direction is almost none existent, the weaknesses become very obvious.  Even avid lovers of mystery theatre will have a hard time enjoying the Newport Theatre Arts Center’s production of Postmortem.  The stakes are so low, the authentic gun shots used in the play may be the only thing keeping your attention on the stage. 

The year is 1922.  Our protagonist, William Gillette, is not a detective but merely an actor who has become famous for playing a detective.  Whereas some leave the acting fantasy for the script, Gillette fancies himself a detective on and off the stage.  With his intentions shrouded in mystery, Gillette invites guests to an isolated mansion (because that makes it creepy) to perform a séance. Continue Reading

Read more

Dinner Theatre, Newport Beach, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Get Cartier @ Gourmet Detective in Newport Beach – Review |

Get Cartier @ Gourmet Detective in Newport Beach – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

2014-11-08 22.02.22

photo : Patrick Chavis

A night of murder, humor, and intrigue. In “Get Cartier” we are witnesses to the before and after affects of the murder of a wealthy man. In this dinner theater performance,  the audience gets to play the part of the deceased’s dinner guests. The experience will leave you with a wonderful night to remember but hardcore theatre devotees, might find it a little too cliche and devoid of enough actual storyline and passion to make for a fulfilling mystery. Continue Reading

Read more