Orange County Theatre Reviews

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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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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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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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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

You don’t have to be a fan of Chekhov to appreciate “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” but it certainly adds icing to an already delicious cake. Now running at Stages Theatre, Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony winner for Best Play is not only a hilarious homage to Chekhov’s four main plays (Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters, The Seagull) but also a spoof of modern life, clinging to the past while the present tramples all over it. Continue Reading

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Raised in Captivity @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

You know that famous Tolstoy quote — it’s in the opening line to Anna Karenina, and it goes, “All happy families are like one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Seeing STAGEStheatre’s production of playwright Nicky Silver’s Raised in Captivity reminded me just how true that quote really is.   Continue Reading

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