Orange County Theatre Reviews

Shakespeare for Breakfast : Five Knaves For Breakfast @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton

Written by Scott Keister 

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of John Hughes’ 1985 film, The Breakfast Club. I’m not of that teen-era, and I found it to be simplistic teen melodrama (possibly my least favorite genre) flat and one-dimensional characters built on stereotypes that “grow” only within the ninety minutes of the film. That being said, an adaptation of the film for stage has to stand on its own merits. It can’t rely on foreknowledge of the film. Five Knaves for Breakfast, running currently at StagesTheatre, relies far too heavily on love for the film to entrance its audience. Without that devotion, there is not much interest.


Photo courtesy STAGEStheatre

 The idea was to create a version of the film as a Shakespearean mash-up of sortsThe Breakfast Club written in faux Elizabethan versevery faux. If Hero P. Carlisle’s script had set out to be either a parody of The Breakfast Club or Shakespeare it may have had more to offer. But aside from a few neat turns of Elizabethan phrase to echo actual snippets of dialog from the film, there is very little to chuckle at, and you’d have to be a fan of the film to recognize those. Even that strategy vanishes after the first fifteen minutes or so as the play sinks into a very direct recreation of the movie—albeit set in Florence, Italy during the Middle Ages. One wonders if the teens of that era would really be as concerned with the troubles that so worried the modern day teens of the film. Considering life expectancy in Elizabethan times was around 50 and there were small things like the plague and war to worry about, you’d think being unpopular or being bullied would be minor quibbles. But no. Apparently teenage dilemma has never changed. 


Photo courtesy STAGEStheatre

I have a hard time figuring out what this production was aiming for. The story itself is so well-worn, merely changing the era does nothing but muddy it. The performances, for the most part, do little to bring any depth to the characters: Five teenagers of disparate stations in life are thrown together for one day as a punishment for some infractions they have committed. The idea is they eventually open up to each other, resolve their differences and learn people are not really so different. Whatever. Cameron Moore as the teenage rebel, Jon (Judd Nelson from the original) is the lone standoutelectric, jaunty and bold. The others have one or two nice moments, but overall they fall victim to the flatness of the concept. Jill Johnson directs with energy, but is handcuffed by the stale material.

Shakespeare himself wrote his own treatise on teenage turmoil—agitation with parents, rebellion against authority, trouble with the law, the pain of love—and it was fairly successful. It’s called Romeo and Juliet. Check it out some time.


Five Knaves for Breakfast runs Saturdays and Sundays at 5 pm through February 21.

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fullerton, Maverick Theatre, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on A Few Good Men & Plenty Of Good Actors : A Few Good Men @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review |

A Few Good Men & Plenty Of Good Actors : A Few Good Men @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review


Photo Courtesy : The Maverick Theatre

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

A Few Good Men is a film so famous it can be described as iconic.  An underdog team of lawyers go against the big boys in a stressful search for what is right, what is wrong, and what is ultimately the truth (insert famous quote here). But before it was a movie with A-list actors hamming it up to honey-baked levels, then-bartender Aaron Sorkin scribbled onto cocktail napkins what would become the play A Few Good Men.  It quickly made its way up through the theatre ranks to the Broadway stage, proving itself invaluable to all parties concerned.  The history of this play alone makes tackling the script an ambitious endeavor in and of itself.   In the case of the Maverick Theater, that ambition was rewarded with a well acted and well staged performance. Continue Reading

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Moon Over Buffalo @ Attic Theatre in Santa Ana – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

moon over buffalo

Nicole Gerardi (Eileen) Courtesy: Attic Theatre Floyd Harden

Don’t let the fanciful  title fool you, Moon Over Buffalo is not a tragic and love-ridden romance piece.  It’s actually a comedic narrative which focuses mainly on former stars George and Charlotte Hay.  George and Charlotte are a flamboyant couple working as the stars in their touring company currently stationed in Buffalo, New York.  In the midst of a huge argument their daughter Rosalind  arrives at the theatre to introduce them to her new fiancé, while at the same time the famous film director Frank Capra calls to announce his plans to view one of their shows. The jokes and ultimately the plot of the play centered on the bickering and confusion brought on by these events. Continue Reading

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Dixie’s Tupperware Party @ Segerstrom Center of the Arts in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Segerstrom Center - Dixie Longate in Dixie's Tupperware Party - Photo by Bradford Rogne
Segerstrom Center – Dixie Longate in Dixie’s Tupperware Party – Photo by Bradford Rogne

 Before the show even started, Dixie was moving around in the house, mingling with the audience members, taking photographs and joking.  Once the show got rolling, she showered the audience with a large number of coarse jokes.  Her deep Southern drawl and constant references to her everyday life (both growing up and modern day) lent themselves to the idea that her humor was not specifically geared towards me but more towards women nearing, experiencing or past middle age.  She brought various audience members up onstage and made jokes about sex, marriage, sex after marriage or lack thereof and more sex.  The audience composed of married-or-were-once-married-women, cracked up.  But after awhile I found most of the jokes dull and predictable.

One of the more enjoyable portions of the night was learning about Brownie Wise, the pioneering American saleswoman that helped develop and popularized the Tupperware system. Brownie was an innovator in business during that not so long time ago when women weren’t expected to leave the home. She was the first women ever to appear on the cover of Businessweek Magazine.  I had never heard of her before, but Dixie’s enthusiasm and admiration for the woman, who would not let sexism and negativity wear her down, was infectious.  Listening to accounts of Dixie’s own success was nothing short of inspirational.

Side note:  Without the constant sexual jokes, it might have been an even better time. 


Dixie has out lived her run in the OC but you can follow this show on their website at the link below :

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Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on The Whipping Man @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

The Whipping Man @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

Adam Haas Hunter, Charlie Robinson and Jarrod M. Smith in South

Adam Haas Hunter, Charlie Robinson and Jarrod M. Smith Photo Courtesy: South Coast Rep.

Written by Scott Keister

At the time of the Civil War there were approximately 25,000 Jews living in the eleven states that seceded from the union. Many of these were slave owners, and several thousand actually fought on the side of the Confederacy. In this play, The Whipping Man, currently running at South Coast Rep, playwright Matthew Lopez explores the irony of how a race of people, the Jews, who struggled mightily to escape slavery, became a people who themselves owned and sold slaves. He digs the irony a little deeper by making two of his characters in the play black slaves who also follow the Jewish faith. The parallels of the Jews and the black slaves are layered on pretty deeply in what is occasionally an intriguing clash of characters—two former black slaves and a white man, all from the same household in Richmond, Virginia, gathered together in the final days of the Civil War—but is too often a mere polemic that goes nowhere.  Continue Reading

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