Orange County Theatre Reviews

Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on On The Edge Productions presents: Into the Woods @ Laguna Hills Community Center – Review |

On The Edge Productions presents: Into the Woods @ Laguna Hills Community Center – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

In case the movie release hasn’t already initiated you, Into the Woods (“ITW“) is sort of a big deal. Actually it’s been a big deal for quite a while now, except that –before the movie came out –it was primarily known in theatre circles. ITW was not the first –nor the last –time someone took a collection of well known stories and turned them on their heads, but it has definitely been the most successful, despite some gory onstage moments. On The Edge Theatre Productions’ Into the Woods doesn’t shy away from the original gruesome nature of the show but instead purposely glosses over it, presenting a more sanitized, humor and solo focused production. Continue Reading

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Review, Theater, Theatre Out, Uncategorized Comments Off on Short But Sweet – Wolves @ Theatre Out in Santa Ana – Review |

Short But Sweet – Wolves @ Theatre Out in Santa Ana – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

People love re-imagining fairy tales.  The popularity of well-known stories such as Into the Woods, Wicked, and every single re-created plot point on ABC’s Once Upon a Time proves  audiences everywhere are still willing to sit through the same basic storylines -so long as the tale is presented in a different, somewhat more “clever” way.  In Theatre Out’s production of Wolves, we get our “redone fairy tale” fix in the form of one man’s delusional worldview, which resembles a horror film version of Little Red Riding Hood.  Wolves is brief, amusing, and thoroughly, throughly weird.

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photo courtesy : David C. Carnevale

Via edification by an omnipotent narrator who possesses the ability to stop time, we learn Ben is a young man from a small town currently living in a big city where he does not fit in.  We also learn he is living with his infinitely more confident roommate, Jack, who just happens to be his former boyfriend.  Despite their breakup, Ben still has feelings for his roomie and doesn’t  cope well when Jack decides to go out for a night on the town.  

I don’t want to give too much away, but I do think it’s important to note this is not your typical fairy tale re-telling. This is not a re-imagined version of the original “Little Red Riding Hood.” This is a modern version of the story. Ben provides us with the main perspective rather than the Narrator.  The Narrator is there to clarify facts about Ben more than anything else.  The most important perspective in the story is undoubtedly Ben’s because he is the reactor to everything that happens.  

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photo courtesy : David C. Carnevale

In the best possible way, Jeffrey Fargo is disgusting as Ben.   He is a miserable, terrified, quivering like a mass of jell-o every moment he is onstage.  From the beginning to the end there is absolutely no difficulty believing the wretchedness of this sad and pathetic person.  But it is possible to be too miserable, and I do believe that line is crossed with Ben.  The Narrator gives us a condensed version of Jack and Ben’s history together, but it is too brief.   Ben and Jack do not really make sense either as roommates or lovers simply because Jack is so down to earth, and Ben is so…not.  Yes, opposites have been known to attract, but we as an audience never get to see anything appealing about Ben.   It might have made more sense for the two men to be brothers if only because the bond of familial love might make Jack’s willingness to humor Ben more understandable.  Otherwise we are simply left with our own bewildered thoughts of “Why on earth is Jack still here?” With a running time of just under sixty minutes, we still have plenty of time to get into the richer details of their relationship, so it’s somewhat surprising they choose to focus on overly-long dialogues between Jack and his friend Wolf.

The Narrator is well-written and has some of the best lines in the show.  Her consultations with the audience coupled with her eerie intentions towards Ben pretty much makes the show. Played by Lori Kelley, the Narrator had the audience laughing almost every time she spoke.  Kevin Carranza is perfectly believable as Wolf in every stage of his development.  Dylan Wallace seems to really come to life during the second half of the show when he gets to go through a bit of a personality development.  During the first half, his average joe persona seems to be reciting his lines rather too much by rote. 

 The show is under an hour long and could stand a bit more character development, but what is shown is shown pretty well.   Don’t go in expecting a lot of depth, just go in for some fun. 

7.8/10

April 3 – April 25

Podcast Interviews with the cast by Ashton Marcus:

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Into the Woods – They Still Got It (Thoughts on the Reunion and the Show In General) @ Segerstrom Center of Performing Art in Costa Mesa

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE SHOW

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

 It has been confirmed.  That spark of electricity that made the original Broadway cast of Into the Woods so unutterably unique still remains.  I can say this with absolute certainty, because I just attended the Into the Woods reunion performance this past weekend at Segerstrom Center of Performing Art in Costa Mesa.  It was so beautiful, I fell in love again.

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Costa Mesa, Into The Woods, Musical, Uncategorized Comments Off on “Into The Woods” Celebration (Into My Heart) – Preview |

“Into The Woods” Celebration (Into My Heart) – Preview

(Left to Right) Danielle Ferland, Ben Wright, Kim Crosby, Chip Zien and Bernadette Peters in a scene from "Into the Woods" at the Martin Beck Theatre.

(Left to Right) Danielle Ferland, Ben Wright, Kim Crosby, Chip Zien and Bernadette Peters in a scene from “Into the Woods” at the Martin Beck Theatre.

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

A celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods will be presented  on November 9th at California’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts.   The evening will be part conversation and part musical selection and (drumroll please) will feature original cast members Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien, Bernadette Peters, Robert Westenberg, Kim Crosby, Danielle Ferland, Ben Wright, and of course, the inestimable composer and lyricist Mr. Sondheim himself, as well as Bernadette Peters.  So essentially every character you immediately think of when you think of Into the Woods.   Continue Reading

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