Orange County Theatre Reviews

Interview with Writer/Director Vanda Egginton creator of The Beat Goes On @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa

An interview with Vanda Eggington creator of Boomers, American Rhythm, and Love Makes the World Go ’Round. We will be talking about her latest project present by The American Coast Theatre Company: The Beat Goes On a Rock and Roll road trip through the last half of the 20th Century with stops in small town malt shops, sunny California beaches, mirror ball disco halls, and MTV studio extravaganzas. 

June 2nd- July 30th

 

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Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Vanguard Uni Comments Off on Grimm Happy Tales : Into The Woods @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review |

Grimm Happy Tales : Into The Woods @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo credit: Susie SprinkleHudson)

Written by Patrick Chavis 

A few years ago if I had mentioned Into the Woods, I may have been lucky enough to run into a theatre goer who had heard of the musical.  Now that Hollywood has adapted it into a film, the show is about as hidden for theatre folks as Comic-Con is for geeks. Everyone knows about it now, and that’s not changing anytime soon.  As a consequence this is a well-known show and with that comes interesting challenges for the performers. How do we make this production ours?  What is this show about, and how can we communicate it in the best way possible?  Vanguard University took on the challenge of producing such an epic musical and, under the direction of Vanda Eggington, pulled off an entertaining night of theatre but also missed opportunities to capitalize on the show’s vital moments. Continue Reading

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Costa Mesa, Theater, Uncategorized, Vanguard Uni Comments Off on The Importance Of Being Earnest @ Vanguard University – Review |

The Importance Of Being Earnest @ Vanguard University – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

I wasn’t able to finish this review and send it out on time since I was out of the county and couldn’t find an adequate internet connection for a week. I would like to apologize to Vanguard University Theatre for not finishing this review on time.) -OCR 

Oscar Wilde has many plays, but the most famous and most oft repeated of these is The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve read and seen plenty of versions of this story, and there is no other way of putting this– The Importance of Being Earnest is challenging material.   It has great comedic moments, tons of dialogue, and the performers need the confidence to say some pretty wacky stuff. Vanguard meets the material with a steampunk gender bending version all their own. While the gender bending hits  well and brings plenty of hilarity, the steampunk ambiance is little more then an embellishment on the rest of the story. Continue Reading

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Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Uncategorized, Vanguard Uni Comments Off on Blame it on the movies @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review |

Blame it on the movies @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo credit Susie Sprinkel Hudson) 

Written by Mike Martin 

Blame it on the Movies, currently playing at Vanguard University, is a true cabaret style production. This has its benefits and drawbacks. The audience is spared the tacked on (and often tacky) “story” that gets written for most “Juke Box Musicals” (think All Shook Up, Ring of Fire, Crazy, and the like), which is a blessing. Instead this show is a collection of songs from the movies, pure and simple. While I appreciated dispensing the pretense of trying to make a full blown musical out of it, it does mean the show rests on the songs themselves and the performances, and that is where Blame it on the Movies has its ups and downs. Continue Reading

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American Coast Theatre Company, Costa Mesa, Review, Theater, Uncategorized, Vanguard Uni Comments Off on Hamlet Goes Gangster : American Coast Theater Company Presents Hamlet @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review |

Hamlet Goes Gangster : American Coast Theater Company Presents Hamlet @ Vanguard University in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo courtesy : Susie Sprinkel Hudson)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Many if not most leading characters in successful fiction today have qualities that endear them to the viewer, making them desirable as friends, lovers, or both.  But before there was all that nonsense about actually liking the star, there was someone else–there was Hamlet.  An angst filled Danish prince forever brooding about his castle, Hamlet is often described with words like “depressed” “whiny” and “cowardly”. As a result he has many times been the target of viewers’/readers’ scorn, derision, and annoyance.   In contrast with this is the portrayal from American Coast Theater Company’s Hamlet.  The young prince here is heavily sarcastic, bitter, and volatile. Not really likable or sympathetic, but he has an energy that is strange enough to keep you hooked.   Continue Reading

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Costa Mesa, Musical, Review, Uncategorized, Vanguard Uni Comments Off on The Addams Family @ Vanguard Uni in Costa Mesa – Review |

The Addams Family @ Vanguard Uni in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

It’s the beginning of April in 2016 and we are far and away from a time when a show like The Addams Family would feel relevant. For the benefit of the ten percent of people reading this review that aren’t familiar, I’ll mention that the Addams are a family that find pleasure in torture and all things Gothically strange–keeping that in mind, it’s fair to note that the show would probably be better suited to the cold dreary month of October than the hot spring days of April.  But strangely enough, Vanguard University’s production is anything but spooky. Instead the musical relies mostly (if not entirely) on comedic witticisms from the cartoon and television series, both of those stories lacked the darker, more sinister feelings from the 90s films.   This is the tamest rendition of The Addams Family I’ve ever seen, which is not necessarily a bad thing–it’s family friendly, and the cast mirror the original characters with skill levels which range from good to all-around-exceptional. Continue Reading

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