Orange County Theatre Reviews

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The 39 Steps is a Galloping Good Time @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Scotty Keister 

Patrick Barlow’s madcap adaptation of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller, “The 39 Steps” (from the novel by John Buchan) seems like it’s getting staged a lot these days, and that’s easy to understand. It requires very few props, no scenery, only four actors, and when done well, it’s a freaking hoot. Stages Theatre takes on the task and succeeds admirably about 97% of the time. The unique aspect to this show is, it not only is slapstick, abstract and always on the move, but it actually has a recognizable mystery plot, a genuine character arc and a nifty surprise ending, very true to Hitchcock. This production features four adept and funny performers, some silly and hysterical ideas from director Jill Johnson and onstage piano accompaniment by Jeffrey Larson, which helps to cover some of the slower scene changes. In this show, any pause longer than 5 seconds seems like a lifetime. The pace is that frenetic. Continue Reading

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Twilight Zone @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

It’s summer, so that means one thing: The Twilight Zone returns to Stages Theatre. This year’s offering presents one classic and two lesser-known episodes, one of them is a real champ. Every year, producer/director Darri Kristin pores through the entire TZ catalog to find episodes that would be possible to stage. With the new addition of a backdrop projector, the list just got a little easier, making scene changes more dramatic and recognizable.

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Photo courtesy: STAGEStheatre

The trouble with these available stories. The Zone was not above a certain number of clinkers. When you’re pouring out a new episode every week, you have to take what you get. TZ had a propensity to repeat itself a lot and fumble with tired scifi clichés. In this instance, opening episode “Back There” is not a well-written or particularly original offering. A group of card players at a Washington DC gentleman’s club argue about time travel, and before you know it one of them finds himself transported back to 1865, the day before Lincoln’s assassination. Even though we know it’s impossible, he tries to prevent the murder from happening. We’re never sure why. Just because he wants to, I guess. The twist ending to the story occurs when he’s transported back to modern times, right back at his club. Things are not as he left them. Aside from Mark Coyan’s off-beat portrayal of John Wilkes Booth, this episode doesn’t offer much bang. Continue Reading

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Who is the Green Man? : Green Man @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

Who the heck is this green guy and what does he want? Why do these three people seem to know him as someone completely different? How long does it take to get all that green crap off? These were the questions I kept asking myself during the West Coast Premiere of Jim Knable’s “Green Man,” currently running at Stages Theatre. These questions are all eventually answered, all except for the part about taking the green stuff off. That’s the one that really puzzled me. Continue Reading

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The House of Yes @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

Next to the Kardashians, the Kennedy’s are probably the best-known family in the U.S. or at least they were for a good thirty years, anyway. One could argue they’re the closest thing to a royal family we’ve ever had, and for a long time they inspired an equivalent kind of obsession in the American psyche. The many tragedies the Kennedy’s suffered left some deeply felt scars in that same psyche. Wendy MacLeod’s clever and funny play, The House of Yes, explores the myth of the Kennedy’s some twenty years after JFK’s murder. The Stages Theatre production, directed by Jack Millis, gets a lot of the dark laughs yet leaves many questions about the Kennedy legend unanswered.

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