Theater antireviews

Angels in America: nigh a religious experience

Is it a work of genius, as the buyer insists?

Many years ago, in London’s West End, I saw a play called Art. The plot centered on the rather dysfunctional friendship among three male friends, one of whom — the most successful and ambitious — ...

Technicolor western Chaps! features tunes by Sons of the Pioneers and Will Rogers

British accents delivered in a cowboy twang. Hilarious.

Playing at Lamb’s Player’s Theatre until April 20, the musical comedy Chaps! mines most of its humor from a goofy, fish-out-of-water premise. Specifically, an American troupe of singing cowboys has failed to show up for ...

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and Gabriel struggle against Nazi reductionism

A story about WWII: the good, the bad, and the weak

Over the last several weeks I’ve read a novel, watched a film, and attended a play all set in WWII — specifically, the Nazi occupation of Guernsey and Normandy. Given that Schindler’s List and Life ...

Listen to The Witch

A person who is dangerous and aggressive but chooses to temper her aggression is a moral person

I’d never seen Into The Woods live, so I took a chance and went up to Torrey Pines to see Steven Sondheim’s fractured fairytale. The production was impressive but more importantly, the emotional content of ...

Diana: Fairy tale to soap opera to tragedy

She was plucked out of obscurity and forced to choose a role she didn’t necessarily want

Diana, a new musical at the La Jolla Playhouse, is running through Sunday, April 7. Given La Jolla Playhouse’s production of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical we might expect Diana to be The Diana Ross ...

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 ...

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