Orange County Theatre Reviews

Frighteningly Dull : The Haunting of Hill House @ Costa Mesa Playhouse in Costa Mesa – Review

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A group of people, a haunted house. A large and ominous mansion that at times seems to have a will of its own, psychologically controlling its hosts and keeping viewers on tenterhooks. This premise is used in many ghost stories, including the classic horror film The Haunting, adapted from Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House. Imagine a story based on psychological torment, spiritual manipulation, and desperation for safety that contrasts sharply with despair for belonging–now imagine a stage production of that story that methodically strips away most of that tension, and you’ve summed up the Costa Mesa Playhouse show.  

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Politics As Usual : Zealot @ South Coast Repetory in Costa Mesa – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Political intrigue has the potential to be complicated and fascinating. What happens behind closed doors is a mystery that tempts the interest of many. This temptation might prompt one to attend Theresa Rebeck’s Zealot. Sadly, Zealot brings nothing new to the political drama genre, and it seems to regurgitate important facts but fails to provide a genuine emotional connection to the audience.    

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Anaheim, podcast, The Chance Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on 2015 Show Preview @ The Chance Theatre in Anaheim: Orange Curtain Podcast #4 |

2015 Show Preview @ The Chance Theatre in Anaheim: Orange Curtain Podcast #4

Shows & Dates (directly from the press release) :
World premiere of Loch Ness – The Musical
January 30 – February 28, 2015

A scientist’s young daughter discovers herself – and a small, magical, and very reptilian creature – on the waters of the Scottish Highlands.

Southern California Premiere
After The Revolution
April 10 – May 10, 2015

One Idealistic woman’s beliefs into chaos when her inspiration is rocked by a family revelation.

West Coast Premiere
Samsara
April 30 – May 31, 2015

Katie & Craig are desperate to have a baby. When and indian surrogate becomes their only viable option, their lives unfold in a whirlwind of imagination and irresistibly.

Hair Spray
July 10 – August 9, 2015

Full-figured Tracy Tunrblad only wants to dance- and dance she does, through her downtrodden neighborhood, through the harsh word of her schoolmates, and through the racial barriers dividing 1960’s Baltimore.

West Coast Premiere
The Dragon Play
July 23- Augusts 23, 2015

One Dragon, her need for freedom, her desire for human love, and the men who get trapped in between.

A Bright New Boise
September 25-October 25

A mans attempt to reunite with family he never knew. Little does the man suspect that this experience will test the man’s endurance, his love,and, most potently, his faith.

Anne of Green Gables
November 27 – December 27,2015

Classic story of a young orphan girl who works her way into the hearts of her adoptive parents.

The Eight : Reindeer Monologues

December 8 – 23, 2015

This show contains Foul mouth reindeer and very inappropriate Humor. For Adults.

Alice in Wonderland
Feb 26-March 8, 2015

Alice falls down a rabbit hole to a world in which she encounters strange creatures and even stranger poetry.

Fancy Nancy – The Musical
May 29 – June 7, 2015

Fancy Nancy and her friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel are going to be performing in their very first show. Can Nancy bring fancy flair to her role, even though it isn’t the one she wanted. Perfect for kids.

World Premiere
The Legends of Sleepy Hollow
October 8-18,2015

The theatrical adaption of the timeless tale of Ichabod Crane.

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Garden Grove, Gem Theater, Musical, Review, Uncategorized Comments Off on Just pull your little finger : Assassins @ Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review |

Just pull your little finger : Assassins @ Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review

Adriana Sanchez as Sara Jane Moore and Gretchen Dawson as Ly

Adriana Sanchez as Sara Jane Moore and Gretchen Dawson as Ly

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Everyone has the right to be happy–especially the people who want to kill the president(s) of the United States.   This exploration of a killer’s humanity occurs in GEM Theater’s musical Assassins. Lively, well-cast, and somewhat educational, Assassins succeeds in keeping the viewer’s attention throughout.

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Garage Theatre, Long Beach, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on History with a dash of Burton : Pink Milk @ Garage Theatre in Long Beach – Review |

History with a dash of Burton : Pink Milk @ Garage Theatre in Long Beach – Review

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Pink Milk is a mixed-up bag of actors, diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity. While some characters’ personalities shine through, others are grimacing weak. It would be a strange and rewarding combination of surreal and historical concepts, pretty high-level material if the whole thing didn’t resemble an ambitious high-school play.

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Craig Johnson and Blair Allison

The story is that of Alan Turing, a British scientist credited by some as making the single “largest contribution” to defeating Nazi Germany and was chemically castrated for the crime of homosexuality.   In Pink Milk, we watch Turing grow from a tender and misunderstood child to a tender, misunderstood adult who is eventually forced to use his talents for a harsh society that ultimately destroys him.

The theater itself is small (understatement). It’s a four-sided stage surrounded by the audience. This leaves the viewer with a less-than-easy feeling as everyone settles in. It takes a while for this feeling to dissipate, but it does. Although it isn’t a musical, some dancing manages to impress. In such a small space, the fact that they can pull us into this strange little Alan Turing world is surprising, but the movement and blocking are intriguing enough to prompt the viewer to focus on the slightest of motions. They also successfully showcase the emotion and overall feel of the scenes. For this, I pat Pink Milk on the back.

 

Although Alan Turing lived during WWII, Pink Milk has a distinct sci-fi feel. Things like dangling metallic jewelry and Turing’s inventions give the viewer a sense that this is perhaps the not-so-distant future. One of the best examples would be Turing’s contribution to breaking code. In the play, it’s simplified and magnified through the use of humanoid robots (all played by the same actor) that inexplicably helps win the war. Though it’s based on a natural person, this play is not overly concerned with portraying real life but more focused on giving us a basic sense of what Turing’s life might have been like.   With disjointed scenes and such a heavy emphasis on his need to be aggressive for the sake of the war, I can only assume that Alan Turing’s life was a Hot Topic-themed Wonderland without Tim Burton. I suppose this weird obsession with apples is relevant because the real Alan Turing may or may not have eaten a poisoned apple before his death and also allegedly liked Snow White. Additionally, many actors play multiple characters but aren’t that good at being more than one person convincingly, so the acting takes a pretty substantial hit there, even though some of them are skilled. Overall it just isn’t decisive or strong enough.

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Matthew Vincent Julian and Maribella Magana

6.8/10

Performance Dates & Times
Friday, October 3rd- Saturday, November 1st. Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Doors open at 7:30p.m. It shows at 8 p.m.

Show Location
The Garage Theatre
251 E. 7th Street
Long Beach, CA 90813
Metered street parking is available on 7th street and LB Blvd.
Open street parking is available on Palmer Ct and Locust St, west of LB Blvd.

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