Orange County Theatre Reviews

Laguna beach, Laguna Playhouse, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Ed Asner’s No Frills Recession Style FDR : FDR @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach- Review |

Ed Asner’s No Frills Recession Style FDR : FDR @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach- Review

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Ed Asner. You may know of him from works such as “The Mary Tyler Moore show” and “Roots”. If you’re a bit younger  you’ll know him from his voice in cartoons like “UP” and the hilarious character voice of Ed Wuncler in “The Boondocks”. Whatever age you are, Ed Asner has proven himself a great talent. His interpretation of FDR is comical (in a  ” *sigh* oh grandpa” sort of way), serious, and true to life but I left more entertained and laughing at Asner’s unique quirks and less from his portrayal of our 32nd president. Continue Reading

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Irvine, Theater, UCI, Uncategorized Comments Off on It’s All Greek to Me! : Metamorphoses @ University of California, Irvine – Review |

It’s All Greek to Me! : Metamorphoses @ University of California, Irvine – Review

Coliin Nesmith Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Coliin Nesmith
Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

The vicious tales of human error has been told in many different ways. Some of the most popular stories are those of Greek mythology, and for good reason.   The supernatural abilities possessed by the featured individuals coupled with commentary on the moral viewpoints of the time have fascinated people of all ages.  Some of these stories are retold in the form of vignettes in UC Irvine’s play Metamorphoses.

Metamorphoses is told in various short stories instead of a long story with a linear plot, it should not come as a surprise that some stories are simply more interesting than others.  The story of Cyex and Alcyone, for instance, is long (in comparison to the other events featured in the play) and deals with sorrow, but since a great majority of the plot consists of nothing more than a woman crying for her lost love interest, the audience is not quite invested.  Some of the other stories are much more intriguing and/or entertaining, but the lack of connection between each of the stories cannot be ignored.   Some of them (King Midas) seem to take place in a more contemporary setting while still others (Erysichthon) take place in the past.   Just when the viewer feels that some sort of consistent message might be breaking through, such as the transformative nature of death and love, the audience is introduced to Phaeton, who does not seem to have any sort of connection with those ideas, and thus breaks the suggestion that there is any sort of true meaning in the plot(s). If there is some kind of message. It would have to be that change is inevitable but it’s a flimsy connection at best. 

Jade Payton, Blake Morris, Rosie Brownlow, and Joshua Odess-Rubin in Metamorphoses Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Jade Payton, Blake Morris, Rosie Brownlow, and Joshua Odess-Rubin in Metamorphoses Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

The acting is fine and the set is very well done.  The blue coloring and the glassy set give a dreamy mediterranean feel to the whole experience.  While the play isn’t riveting, the acting and the feel of the atmosphere hold the play afloat. 

7/10

Date & Location :

Nov. 15 – 23

UCI Claire Trevor Theatre

Irvine, CA 92697

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Chapman, Orange, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on Tolstoy meets Havana : Anna In the Tropics @ Chapman University – Review |

Tolstoy meets Havana : Anna In the Tropics @ Chapman University – Review

Anna in the tropicsWritten by Patrick Chavis

Set in a Cuban immigrant cigar factory in 1929, the happiness and turmoil brought on by the classic Russian novel Anna Karenina brings to light hard universal truths about love, pride and tragedy. These concepts were explored thoroughly Thursday night in the Pulitzer winning play, “Anna In the Tropics” at Chapman University’s Waltmar Theatre.

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Garage Theatre, Long Beach, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on History with a dash of Burton – Pink Milk @ Garage Theatre in Long Beach – Review |

History with a dash of Burton – Pink Milk @ Garage Theatre in Long Beach – Review

 photo alinamae.jpg

 

Pink Milk is a mixed up bag of actors, diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity. While some characters’s personalities shine through others are grimacing weak. It’s a strange and rewarding combination of surreal and historical concepts, pretty high level material if the whole thing didn’t resemble an ambitious high-school play.

PinkMilk2

Craig Johnson and Blair Allison

 

The story is that of Alan Turing, a British scientist who is credited by some as making the single “largest contribution” to defeating Nazi Germany and was chemically castrated for the crime of  homosexuality.   In Pink Milk we watch Turing grow from a tender and misunderstood child to a tender misunderstood adult, who is eventually forced to use his talents for a harsh society that ultimately destroys him.

 

The theater itself is small (understatement), it’s a four sided stage surrounded by the audience.  This leaves the viewer with a less-than-easy feeling as everyone settles in.  It takes awhile for this feeling to dissipate, but it does.  Although it isn’t a musical there is some dancing that manages to impress.  In such a small space the fact that they are able to pull us into this strange little Alan Turing world is surprising, but the movement and blocking is intriguing enough to prompt the viewer to focus on the slightest of motions.  They also succeed in showcasing the emotion and overall feel of all of the scenes.  For this I give Pink Milk a pat on the back.

 

Although Alan Turing lived during WWII Pink Milk has a distinctly sci-fi feel.  Things like dangling metallic jewelry as well as Turing’s very inventions give the viewer a sense that this is in perhaps the not-so-distant future.  One of the best examples would be Turing’s contribution of breaking code. In the play it’s simplified and magnified through the use of humanoid robots (all played by the same actor) that inexplicably helps win the war. Though its based on a real person this play is not overly concerned with portraying real life but it’s more focused on giving us a basic sense of what Turing’s life might have been like.   With disjointed scenes and such a heavy emphasis on his need to be aggressive for the sake of the war, I can only assume that Alan Turing’s life was that Hot Topic themed Wonderland without Tim Burton.  There’s this weird obsession with apples that I suppose is relevant because the real Alan Turing may or may not have eaten a poisoned apple prior to his death, and also allegedly liked Snow White..  Additionally, many of the actors play multiple characters but aren’t that good at convincingly being more than one person, so the acting takes a pretty strong hit there, even though some of them are skilled.  Overall it just isn’t decisive or strong enough.

PinkMilk8

Matthew Vincent Julian and Maribella Magana

 

6.8/10

 

Performance Dates & Times
Friday, October 3rd- Saturday, November 1st. Thursdays, Friday & Saturday
Doors open at 7:30p.m. Shows at 8p.m.

Show Location
The Garage Theatre
251 E. 7th Street
Long Beach, CA 90813
Metered street parking is available on 7th street and LB Blvd.
Open street parking is available on Palmer Ct and Locust St, west of LB Blvd.

 

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Laguna beach, Laguna Playhouse, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on One Woman Show : Year of Magical Thinking @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach – Review |

One Woman Show : Year of Magical Thinking @ The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach – Review

YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING - 2

eActress Linda Purl

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

The Year of Magical Thinking is based on the award-winning book of the same name, taken directly from the true life horrors of author Joan Didion.  I choose the word “horrors” because The Year of Magical Thinking resembles nothing more closely than  a hostage situation in which the audience sits captive while performer Linda Purl acts out chapters of agony from Didion’s book.  We are treated to heavy doses of depression without any benefits of such a medicine.  At best it is dull, at worst it is painful.

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Costa Mesa, Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on S&M without the Guilt – Venus In Fur @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

S&M without the Guilt – Venus In Fur @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

There are not enough S words to describe the production of Venus & Fur at South Coast Repertory, but I’ll try. The show was simplistic, splendid, suggestive, and straightforward all at once. And don’t let me leave out sexy, there’s plenty of that.   

Venus & Fur is a 90 minute one act play about a new director named Thomas, who is about to give up on finding the perfect actress to star in his adapted version of the book Venus in Furs.  When he’s about to leave an actress named Vanda (coincidentally the same name as the character he is casting for) blazes through the door as a crazy mess.  She proceeds to audition for him, and he is shocked and pleased to find that this lunatic might be the performer he has been searching for.  But who is this Vanda?  Where does she come from?  What does she really want?  And where exactly will their relationship end?  All of these questions and more are answered in this simple but thickly layered show that will leave you thinking, way after you leave the theater.

Graham Hamilton (Thomas) Jaimie Paige (Vanda)

In addition to  flat out mystery, we are also witnesses to some delightful sensuality.  Jaimi Paige (Vanda) and Graham Hamilton (Thomas) play off of each other so well. Some moments in this play positively sizzle. But it’s not just about sex. There is actually more laughter than lust and the jokes are well done, not one boring moment.

9/10

Side note :

Roman Polanski just released an international film release of this play this year.  

Ticket Info at the website:

http://www.scr.org/calendar/view?id=6782 

Location & Dates :  

South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

October 5, 2014 – October 26, 2014

 


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