Orange County Theatre Reviews

Rockin’ Lizzie Borden : Lizzie The Musical @ Chance Theater – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

(All photos by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio)

“Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.”  -anonymous

I had heard of Lizzie Borden before this production, and I had previously heard the folk rhyme that I posted on the top of this article.  However, that was the extent of my Lizzie Borden knowledge.  While I can definitely say I know a little bit more now after watching the show, I wouldn’t say Lizzie the Musical is the place to satisfy your itch for accurate history.  What I would say is this: unlike Rent, which was a rock musical with lots of theatricality and some rock thrown in, the Lizzie production at the Chance Theater felt like a rock concert with a small dose of theatricality thrown in — but most importantly — it does ROCK!!!

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King Kong @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Alina Mae wilson 

I’ve not seen the old movies, the new movies, nary a graphic novel nor a review about the famed beast have I laid eyes upon–until now.  Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, where I have feasted my eyes on The Eighth Wonder of the World King Kong! And I am so glad I did, it was actually a lot of fun. Continue Reading

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Wait Until Dark @ Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

A common complaint about movies and tv shows these days is that they devolve into overindulgent CGI-fests.  Sure, entire galaxies could be at stake or an endless horde of zombies could overrun humanity, but sometimes when the scope is so broad and the images are so over the top, the ability to connect with the story on an emotional level is lost.  Theater in general, and plays like Wait Until Dark in particular, are a great reminder of how stories with smaller stakes and more intimate settings can be far more intense than any blockbuster.     Continue Reading

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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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The Glass Menagerie @ Modjeska Playhouse in Lake Forest – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson

It’s kind of funny that even though I remember reading the play for school, before last night, I don’t think I would have been able to tell you that much about the story.  Perhaps I only partially read the script.  Or perhaps I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.  I suppose it would be fitting then for me to only recollect part of it, because, as the narrator and leading man Tom is kind enough to inform us at the start, this is not a true-to-life depiction of the events as they happened in his life.  This is, as he says, a “memory” and an “illusion.”  More specifically it’s his memory, and he’s weaving the illusion.  Needless to say, a plot that starts off so clearly committed to pondering the question “What is real?” is a story that promises to be interesting, if not downright thought-provoking.   Continue Reading

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