Theater antireviews

A stream of consciousness akin to the art of Faulkner

Once we speak the truth and align with reality, things begin to get better.

It is a play based on a book based on an online advice column which was called “Dear Sugar”. I had previously read some of the Dear Sugar material, and found it to be spotty ...

Guys and Dolls from a grifter’s perspective

We’re all motivated by self-interest, right?

To most, Guys and Dolls is a light-hearted, toe-tapping musical about streetwise gamblers who find redemption through the power of love. But consider how it looks from a grifter’s perspective. These guys and dolls cover ...

Black Panther’s Danai Gurira highlights the American immigrant pastoral in Familiar

The story isn’t about Zimbabwe; it is about America

To assimilate or not to assimilate, that is the issue in Familiar, which plays at The Old Globe through March 3, 2019. This mixed cocktail of comedic cultural exchanges was written by Danai Gurira, who ...

Sister Rosetta; the queen of rock and roll

She exuded confidence and strength, taking the stage with fur-coated bravado

Led by a generation of young dudes from England, rock and roll was enjoying its hair-flying heyday in 1973, the year Sister Rosetta Tharpe was laid to rest, without a tombstone. While British guitar heroes ...

Moon Over Buffalo: the great thing about a bad scene

Breaking through the fourth wall can create an intimacy with the audience

The crisis in this play-about-a-play comes when an actor doesn’t make his entrance, leaving an increasingly desperate actress on stage alone, ad-libbing. It is hilarious. The real thing: not so much. The scene brought me ...

Why I love community theater

His reactions to the jokes are pure delight, and make me wistful for innocence

The theater is in a strip mall, up an ugly staircase. On the landing stands a sad, dusty, fake ficus. The door is unmarked and doesn’t look inviting, but it’s the only door, so I ...

Most of us deserve better than a celebrity BFF

It's tough to compete with the bitch goddess Fame

In the play Always… Patsy Cline (which ran December 12 through December 30 at North Coast Rep), a country music star befriends one of her biggest fans, forming a close relationship with someone who has ...

You suck, Scrooge

What do we make of a transformative story such as A Christmas Carol?

A Christmas Carol at Cygnet is unique in that the book and lyrics were adapted by Cygnet co-founder Sean Murray, with music by frequent Cygnet collaborator Billy Thompson. This year marks the fifth the show ...

Those were the days

We see the family change as the years go by — moving backwards

With 2019 only weeks away, I watched world premiere play The Year to Come open at the La Jolla Playhouse. Every scene in the play takes place at a family New Year’s Eve party, and ...

The inseparability of church and theater

It’s always been a pretty dysfunctional parent-child relationship

I arrived at the theater dressed in my usual inconspicuous black dress pants, simple blouse, and low heels, only to realize immediately that I hadn’t gotten the memo. Among all the red and sparkles, I ...

Christmas remains irony-proof

The onslaught of crassness, exploitation, and greed is relentless.

They can’t completely ruin Christmas — the commercialization, the gaudy lights, the atrocious, omnipresent, fake-happy “holiday” music that is the very antithesis of holy (it’s just “day” music if you think about it). Then the ...

New meaning to “flying reindeer”

Miracle makes a strong case for the importance of the myth of Santa

What interests me most about Miracle on 34th Street is the way it juxtaposes belief in Santa Claus against common sense and practical thinking while expounding upon the Santa Claus archetype. Over the past six ...

The art of (avoiding) audience participation

Presume all actors are sadists seeking to torture introverts

In theater’s early days, did a budding playwright sit through a performance, hoping and praying the actors might suddenly pause in their dialogue, turn toward the audience, and specifically include him or her as part ...

Christmas is never not coming

What did the Grinch hate about Christmas?

Somewhere well into the wee hours of a Christmas in the not-nearly-distant-enough past, as the adults in my family labored to finish with the wrapping of presents, the curling of ribbon, the printing of tags, ...

Devastating consequences

The problematic debate over he said/she said

Most of the stories we tell have happy endings. A preponderance of stories making national headlines tell of tragic ones. In either case, once the story ends, we can react to it, learn from it, ...

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