Stage Raw: Turbo Tartuffe
NEW THEATER REVIEWS and THIS WEEK'S OPENINGS
|Zombie Joe's Underground|
For the latest NEW THEATER REVIEWS press the More tab at the bottom of this page.
Coming on Wednesday: This week's stage feature takes us to Houston's Alley Theatre, where Rajiv Joseph's new play, Monster at the Door, is receiving its world premiere. This is Joseph's newest offering since Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and provokes thoughts about new play development in the regions.
NEW THEATER REVIEWS scheduled for publication May 12, 2011:
(Scroll down to the end of New Reviews for OPENINGS THIS WEEK)
NEW REVIEW GO ANTIMAN In the patois of St. Croix, population 60,000, the insult "antiman" means girly and weak. But if it sounds like it means "against humanity," that's not far off from the brutally bohemian upbringing of Sky Matthew Riel Paley, who as a baby was uprooted from Canada to the Caribbean after his dad died of a drug overdose. Paley's solo show howls with pain as he relives being a 5-year-old boy neglected by his hippie mom, Talia, and her abusive, drug-running boyfriend, Georgia Joe. The island howls, too, at its neglect by the Americans who shunned it after revolutionaries machine-gunned eight tourists on a golf course, and the best advice it can give young Sky is to simply try to stay alive. Director Michele Lonsdale Smith helps Paley shape the piece's passion and poetry, though it's the concrete details that resonate. It's hard to believe the thuggish Joe would name-check Georgia O'Keefe, but when mom screams at Sky for not thinking about her needs, the memory stings like a sore bruise. And when Talia declares she's going to raise Sky homeless so he'll learn to appreciate nature, could he be keeping that next chapter back for a sequel? St. Croix looks like paradise, but Paley argues that its failed economy and burnout culture offer its people -- especially the young -- no safe harbor. What lingers is a childhood and a culture with zero hope. That Paley escaped to the mainland with a sense of perspective and a sliver of humor about his misadventures makes this slender, personal show feel like a triumph. Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru May 22. (541) 517-3320, brownpapertickets.com/event/170468. (Amy Nicholson)
NEW REVIEW GO FLOWER TO FLOWER Tom and Anna (Joseph L. Roberts, Marie Lively) are Plano, Texas, newlyweds with plans for a future together. But four months into the marriage, they have yet to consummate their union, and Anna is starting to worry, in addition to becoming exceedingly horny. Youth pastor Tom is all thumbs and has neither confidence nor experience when it comes to sex. He believes the problem can be solved with petitions for help to the Almighty. Anna, however, is far more practical, and thinks the path to orgasms can be found in bed, i.e., making love with another woman. Thus is established the tug of war between Jehovah and Eros that gives this hourlong piece its comic firewood. The idea of a "threesome" repulses Anna's white-bread husband, whose scriptural references about the evils of homosexuality are lucidly rebuffed when she points out that the Good Book says nothing about lesbians or lesbianism. Things really turn humorously erotic when Martha (Amy Harmon) happens along selling Mary Kay products. Notwithstanding an anemic ending, Christina Cigala's script bristles with lively dialogue and whips up its share of laughs. John Ennis directs capably, and the cast, which is rounded out by Ben Fuller in the role of Tom's brother, turn in good performances. Brimmer Street Productions at the El Centro Theatre, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Thur.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru June 4. (213) 290-2782, BrimmerStreet.org. (Lovell Estell III)
NEW REVIEW HAMLET As it's written, evidence that nature has gone awry and foul deeds are afoot in Denmark is supplied in the crucial first moments of Hamlet, when Bernardo, Marcellus and Horatio spot the ghost of Hamlet's father. Following this early revelation, Shakespeare immediately introduces audiences to Claudius, the "smiling villain," whose nefarious actions have set the play's bloody outcomes in motion. It's disappointing then that new L.A. company Player King Productions reorders the play, putting the gravediggers on stage at the outset and cutting all the lines of Act I, scene ii prior to Hamlet's first soliloquy. The textual tampering continues throughout, but does not add up to an entirely off-the-mark production, just one that is frustratingly puzzling at times. In the title role, Samuel Dahl delivers his lines as naturally as an authentic Elizabethan thespian. His kinetic rendering of the character aligns with director Ty Mayberry's vision, which challenges Laurence Olivier's assertion that the play is about character who simply can't make up his mind. Denmark is, indeed, a prison in this production, but Dahl's Hamlet is on a frantic jailbreak from the get-go. The supporting cast supply uneven performances, particularly Jonathan Salisbury's Claudius and Ken MacFarlane's Polonius, both of whom lack essential layers. Danny Cistone's set and lighting design are entirely winning, as is the space, a high-ceilinged, warehouse-like stage at BelleVarado Studios. Mayberry's smart decision to present the show in the round lends to the exquisite overall aesthetic. Varado Studios/Stage 22, 2107 Bellevue Ave., Echo Park; Sun.-Tues., 7:30 p.m.; thru May 10. (310) 909-8629, brownpapertickets.com/event/166103. (Amy Lyons)
NEW REVIEW GO MAD WOMEN
NEW REVIEW GO THE MALCONTENT
NEW REVIEW GO TURBO TARTUFFE
|Zombie Joe's Underground|
OPENING THIS WEEK
Artifacts of Consequence: Stokastik Theatre Ensemble presents Ashlin Halfnight's story of a future world ravaged by climate change and the individuals trying to preserve modern culture. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Thru June 5. Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, stokastik.org.
The Au Pair Man: Hugh Leonard's comedy about an Irishman in London seeking the position of live-in employee of a mysterious wealthy woman. Starting May 14, Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Thru June 12. Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, ravenplayhouse.com, (818) 760-8322.
Bedtime Stories: Roadkill Productions presents 10 short plays that all take place in a bed. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Psychic Visions Theatre, 3447 Motor Ave., L.A., (310) 535-6007, psychicvisionstheatre.com.
Don't Believe Me: One-man spoken-word/hip-hop/comedy show by the performer known as IN-Q. Thu., May 19, 8 p.m.; Fri., May 20, 8 p.m. Greenway Court Theater, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., (323) 655-7679, plays411.com/dontbelieveme.
Dracula: Staged reading of Charles Morey's adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel. May 18-20, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 21, 2:30 p.m.; Sun., May 22, 4 p.m. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 440-4500, latw.org.
Eleemosynary: Lee Blessing's portrait of a grandmother, mother and daughter. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Thru May 29. Berg Studio Theatre, 3245 Casitas Ave., Ste. 104, Atwater Village, (323) 860-6569.
The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill: SkyPilot Theatre Company presents Jeff Goode's gay Civil War comedy. Starting May 14, Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat., 7 p.m. Thru June 19. T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., North Hollywood, skypilottheatre.com.
Evil Women: Kinetic Theory Circus Arts explores the nature and perception of the female sex through movement, trapeze, contortion, aerial hoop, dance and acrobatics. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Thru June 4. Kinetic Theory Theatre, 3604 Holdrege Ave., L.A., (310) 606-2617, kinetictheorytheatre.com.
Experience Magic!: Ryan Luevano's hybrid of magic show and musical theater. Sun., May 15, 7:30 p.m. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, (626) 355-4318, sierramadreplayhouse.org.
INAUGURal High School Theatre Festival: Eight local high schools each perform a musical selection from their theater program's repertoire. Sat., May 14, 10 a.m. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, (626) 356-PLAY, pasadenaplayhouse.org.
Four Clowns: Antics of four clown archetypes: the sad clown, the mischievous clown, the angry clown and the nervous clown, conceived and directed by Jeremy Aluma. Fri., 11 p.m. Thru June 10. Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., L.A., (310) 281-8337, sacredfools.org.
Funky Punks Circus Spectacular: Troubadour Theater Company's kid-friendly clown extravaganza. Starting May 14, Sat., Sun., 11 a.m. Thru June 5. Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, (818) 955-8101, falcontheatre.com.
Gypsy: West Coast Ensemble presents the classic showbiz musical, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Thru July 3. Arena Stage at Theater of Arts (formerly the Egyptian Arena Theater), 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., L.A., (323) 595-4849.
ImagoFest 2011: Three one-acts by Mark Donnelly, Tim McNeil and Alex Aves. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Thru June 12. Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., (323) 465-4446.
Jack and the Beanstalk: Storybook Theatre's interactive musical take on the classic fairy tale. Sun., May 15, 1:30 & 3:30 p.m. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, (562) 944-9801.
Juan and John: Roger Guenveur Smith's memories of his childhood, his parents and a Dodgers brawl. Thu., May 19, 8 p.m.; Fri., May 20, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 21, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., May 22, 6:30 p.m.; May 24-27, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 28, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., May 29, 6:30 p.m. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (213) 628-2772.
Julius Caesar: Theatre Unleashed's all-female version of the Shakespeare tragedy, set in an American community coping with the domestic effects of World War II. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Thru June 18. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A., (323) 463-3900, studio-stage.com.
Just for the Record: Paul Rodriguez's solo show on his life in comedy. (In Spanish on Sun.) Starting May 19, Thurs., Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 5 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. Thru May 29. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 508-4200, elportaltheatre.com.
Krunk Fu Battle Battle: East West Players' world-premiere hip-hop musical, book by Qui Nguyen, lyrics by Beau Sia, vocal music by Marc Macalintal, dance music by Rynan Paguio and Jason Tyler Chong. Starting May 18, Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru June 26. East West Players, 120 N. Judge John Aiso St., downtown, (213) 625-7000, eastwestplayers.org.
Lavender Love: World-premiere comedy by Odalys Nanin. Starting May 14, Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., June 5, 7 p.m. Thru June 18. Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, (323) 960-4429, plays411.com/lavenderlove.
Luv: Murray Schisgal's spoof of avant-garde drama. Starting May 18, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru June 26. Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 364-0535, theatre40.org.
Miss Coco Peru: There Comes a Time: The latest in song and story by drag diva Miss Coco Peru, written and performed by Clinton Leupp. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Thru May 22. Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Pl., L.A., (323) 860-7300, lagaycenter.org.
The Mistakes Madeline Made: Elizabeth Meriwether's comedy about a woman who rejects "all things complacent, pampered and clean -- including showering." Starting May 19, Wed;-Sat., 8 p.m. Thru June 4. Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., (323) 960-1054, plays411.com/mistakesmadelinemade.
No Word in Guyanese for Me: Hanna Jokhoe's story of a gay, Muslim immigrant who must reconcile her faith with her sexuality. Starting May 14, Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. Thru June 12. Sidewalk Studio Theatre, 4150 Riverside Drive, Burbank, (818) 558-5702.
Prom Re-Do: Relive that awkward high school prom and benefit Elephant Theatre Company in this retro-party fundraiser. Sat., May 14, 7:30 p.m. Elephant Stageworks' Lillian Theatre, 1076 N. Lillian Way, L.A., ElephantTheatreCompany.com.
Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins: Mitzi Gaynor's one-woman show of music and memories. Sat., May 14, 2 & 8 p.m. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, (562) 944-9801.
Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's romantic tragedy. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m. Thru May 28. The Attic Theatre and Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., L.A., (323) 525-0661, attictheatre.org.
Rumors: Neil Simon's farce about an affluent dinner party and a dead body. Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Thru June 12. Covina Center for the Performing Arts, 104 N. Citrus Ave., Covina, (626) 331-8133, covinacenter.com.
Tofu Treats and Other Stories: Vegetarian tales of "food, love and skillets" by Monica Palacios. Sun., May 15, 2 p.m. One National Gay and Lesbian Archive, 909 W. Adams Blvd., L.A., (213) 741-0094, onearchives.org.