Orange County Theatre Reviews

You’re Trapped Underground! : Floyd Collins The Musical @ Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach – Review

(photo credit: Ron Yee)

Written by Scotty Keister 

Spelunking, or the exploring of caves, seems to be an odd topic for a stage musical. Floyd Collins, based on the true story of a Kentucky man stuck underground for seventeen days in 1925, proves a little too odd to be a complete success. The musical, now running at the Newport Theater Arts Center, is a handsomely produced show featuring a remarkable set design and solid performances, but there is something missing in the play itself. Continue Reading

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Blues in the Night @ Laguna Playhouse – Review

(PHOTO CREDIT:  Ed Krieger)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Make of this what you will, but to me, the “blues” was only something that plays in the background while at restaurants (quietly of course so as not to distract from the table chatter).  I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed at the prospect of spending an evening attending a show called Blues In The Night.  Yet once the show began, my biases were proven completely unfounded. Almost against my will, I was lured into the music and into the lives of the characters onstage.  Though I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as ‘riveting’ all the way through, Blues In The Night varies in range, tempo, and soul.  It is one of the most pleasant surprises I have had in a while. Continue Reading

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Wait Until Dark @ Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano – Review

Written by Daniella Litvak 

A common complaint about movies and tv shows these days is that they devolve into overindulgent CGI-fests.  Sure, entire galaxies could be at stake or an endless horde of zombies could overrun humanity, but sometimes when the scope is so broad and the images are so over the top, the ability to connect with the story on an emotional level is lost.  Theater in general, and plays like Wait Until Dark in particular, are a great reminder of how stories with smaller stakes and more intimate settings can be far more intense than any blockbuster.     Continue Reading

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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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Bickering Royalty : The Lion In Winter @ Costa Mesa Playhouse in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

New way, new day, new play—new things abound.  I had not seen this play before.  Although the name is something I’ve heard often enough.  Costa Mesa Playhouse is currently running The Lion in Winter –an impressive title if ever there was one.  (The Chronicles of Narnia can just step aside because the war of the titles is over).  The storyline is about a king and his captive queen living in a castle while their three sons argue and scheme to inherit the throne.  It’s a basic story with what turns out to be some great characters, but the acting is not as impressive.

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Twilight Zone @ STAGEStheatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Scotty Keister 

It’s summer, so that means one thing: The Twilight Zone returns to Stages Theatre. This year’s offering presents one classic and two lesser-known episodes, one of them is a real champ. Every year, producer/director Darri Kristin pores through the entire TZ catalog to find episodes that would be possible to stage. With the new addition of a backdrop projector, the list just got a little easier, making scene changes more dramatic and recognizable.

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Photo courtesy: STAGEStheatre

The trouble with these available stories. The Zone was not above a certain number of clinkers. When you’re pouring out a new episode every week, you have to take what you get. TZ had a propensity to repeat itself a lot and fumble with tired scifi clichés. In this instance, opening episode “Back There” is not a well-written or particularly original offering. A group of card players at a Washington DC gentleman’s club argue about time travel, and before you know it one of them finds himself transported back to 1865, the day before Lincoln’s assassination. Even though we know it’s impossible, he tries to prevent the murder from happening. We’re never sure why. Just because he wants to, I guess. The twist ending to the story occurs when he’s transported back to modern times, right back at his club. Things are not as he left them. Aside from Mark Coyan’s off-beat portrayal of John Wilkes Booth, this episode doesn’t offer much bang. Continue Reading

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