Orange County Theatre Reviews

Canada Rocks : Come From Away @ Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Even though Come From Away is set against the tragic backdrop of 9/11, it focuses more on the tension, feelings, and emotions of the time — as opposed to a more strait-laced recap of the period. The characters we see stranded in Canada remind us of the pain felt by all Americans at home and abroad alike. Yet even in tragedy, the characters were about to find a silver lining.   Continue Reading

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The Barber is In: Sweeney Todd is Back in Town @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo by Jordan Kubat)

Written by Scotty Keister 

Chinese proverb: He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.

The legend of Sweeney Todd is a long and storied one. Todd began life in the mid-19th century in a penny dreadful tale. In this original version Todd was a secondary character. He soon came to life in a stage version penned by George Dibdin Pitt. His legend continued throughout the 20th century in dozens of stage, film and television versions. Ultimately, when British playwright Christopher Bond created Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1973, new life was breathed into Sweeney’s aging, bloodthirsty barber. The tale was fleshed out, making the story into more of a revenge tragedy, and not simply a bloody horror tale. This is the version that first brought Sweeney to Stephen Sondheim’s attention and led to him creating  what might be considered the ultimate edition in 1979. 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, Costa Mesa Playhouse, News, Press Releases, Uncategorized Comments Off on Costa Mesa Playhouse Looking For New Performance Space 2017 |

Costa Mesa Playhouse Looking For New Performance Space 2017

Written by Patrick Chavis  

“We have been given notice that one of the two buildings we lease from the Newport Mesa School District, housing our dressing room and storage, will be demolished this summer.  In addition, we will only be allowed to renew the lease on the theater building for one year until June 2017.  The school district wants to turn our theater space into a tech center to teach the kids computers, etc.”  – Costa Mesa playhouse President Mike Brown

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Costa Mesa, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on OC Premiere – Can’t (Hand)le It : A Behanding in Spokane @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review |

OC Premiere – Can’t (Hand)le It : A Behanding in Spokane @ Costa Mesa Playhouse – Review

Daniella Litvak 

A Behanding in Spokane (hereafter referred to as “Behanding”) is God of Carnage meets Edgar Allen Poe.  Like God of Carnage, it is (or rather, is advertised as) a dark comedy about four characters, who feel varying degrees of dislike towards one another, going through a traumatic experience while trapped in one room together.  Both plays even have a subplot about a character receiving phone calls from his sick mother. As in many of Poe’s works, Behanding features death traps, grisly violence, and acts of twisted human behavior (ok, that last one could apply to God of Carnage too).  However, Behanding’s playwright, Martin McDonagh, gets away with more cursing than Poe.     Continue Reading

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Costa Mesa, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on VietLove or VietLust? : Vietgone @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review |

VietLove or VietLust? : Vietgone @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

In 2013 Qui Nguyen was part of the South Coast Repertory’s CrossRoads Initiative, a playwright residency program in Orange County.  During his time, Nguyen visited the Southeast Asian Archives at the University of California, Irvine.  There he found photographs of a subject near to his heart –Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, one the refugee camps where hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees, including his own family, were relocated to following the fall of Saigon.  Seeing those photos finally made Nguyen commit to the project he wanted to write about for so long –a sex comedy starring his parents.  Continue Reading

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