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Posts from the ‘Theatre Reviews’ Category

22
Apr

Singin’ in the Rain is a Delightful Revisit to A Glorious Feeling.

By Patrick Hurley

There are very few movie musicals that are so well-written, solidly structured and infused with such joy that a mere re-creation on stage almost seventy years later actually works. Singin’ In the Rain, playing now at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, is such a show.

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18
Apr

Falsettos Does Set Oh So Typical Standards.

By Patrick Hurley

Photo by Joan Marcus

In the pantheon of Musical theater, where originality has been ebbing farther and farther away from the reboot, remake, revival culture that is Broadway- we find ourselves, quite inexplicably, stranded on the nearly three-hour island that is Falsettos, playing now at the Ahmanson.

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6
Apr

Didion’s Search for Meaning Opens a World of Wonder

By Patrick Hurley

The intersection between past and future, between meaning and chaos- all the lingering inertia that implies a sense of false permanence and comfort come together in the telling of Joan Didion’s masterwork, “The White Album,” a seminal essay that deals with the struggles, both visceral and cultural, that defined a generation of Americans, and gives voice to the uncertainty, the freedom, and the impossible thrust toward more progressive modernity. The time was the late 1960s, the place was Los Angeles and the voice was Joan Didion. CAP UCLA in association with Center Theatre Group presents the essay as a performance piece created by Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera.

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19
Feb

A Masterful Performance Breathes New Life into Othello

By Patrick Hurley

One could call it an exercise in theatrical scaling-down, as if the piece were literally and figuratively constricting itself and its characters as it moves along, tightening its grip until at last, nearly out of breath, it culminates in a final claustrophobic moment. Shakespeare’s Othello, playing now at A Noise Within, is yet another example of the bard’s brilliance for metaphor and symbolism and is one of his more accessible tragedies.

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8
Feb

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella is a Darkly Beautiful Fairy Tale

By Patrick Hurley

Nearly twenty years after its premiere, Matthew Bourne’s dazzling production of Cinderella once again graces the stage of the Ahmanson theatre. The piece, like the choreographer/director himself, is still going strong, and is a great testament to the power of storytelling.

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25
Jan

A Beautiful Inspector Discovers More Style Than Substance

The responsibility that we all have as human beings toward our fellow human beings is illuminated and exaggerated into the dark parable An Inspector Calls playing now at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Written by J.B. Priestley in 1945, and set in a fictional British town in 1912, the story takes place in real time as the wealthy Birling family is visited by a mysterious inspector who informs them that a young woman has committed suicide and they all may have had a role to play in it.

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22
Jan

There’s Not Much Substance There For Hir.

By Patrick Hurley

There is a continuing theatrical narrative of patriarchal and hegemonic representation. A plethora of American stories that deal with the lower to middle class American family through a very traditional lens, highlighting struggle. For the last decade or so, the surge of identity politics, awareness of a need to be more inclusive and  over-correction of the aforementioned narrative, there has been a shift in the collective narrative from the white heteronormative expectancy of canonical works into one of many colors, shapes, sexual orientations, gender identities and cultural re-appropriations. Read more »

1
Dec

Grounded Come From Away Flies High on First National Tour

By Patrick Hurley

In today’s volatile and divisive political climate, where lines are being drawn separating ideology from humanity, it’s heartening to see a work of art that not only demonstrates how small the divide actually is between all of us, but also shows how kindness and benevolence, charity and goodwill are indeed still a thing to which we can all aspire.  Come From Away, on its first National Tour, playing now at the Ahmanson Theatre, is a high spirited, evocative and fascinating true story about the capacity of human kindness and the indelible spirit that we all long for in times of crisis. Read more »

19
Nov

Beckett Demonstrates Longevity In Double Bill With Weaker O’Neill

By Patrick Hurley

Hughie and Krapp’s Last Tape, playing now at the Geffen Playhouse, prove to be a contrasting but thematically compatible pair starring two time Tony Award Winning actor Brian Dennehy in a double bill that showcases not only his gravitas as an actor, but the disappointments and disillusionments of life as perceived by perhaps the two greatest dramatists of the twentieth century. Read more »

15
Nov

Game is Highly Charged and Relevant

By Patrick Hurley

Agitprop theatre is a highly politicized liberal leaning style that came out of Europe in the 1920s. The plays of Bertolt Brecht are still the most notable examples of this particular movement.  With his sudden shifts and lack of theatricality, Brecht wanted the audience to be witness to how theatre was made, to the artificiality of it so they could ignore everything but the message of the play. The Bitter Game, written and performed by Keith A. Wallace, playing for a limited engagement on the terrace of the Wallis Annenberg in Beverly Hills is an exciting reminder that highly charged political pieces of art have the ability to stir and surprise while inciting you to some kind of political action. Read more »

Patrick Hurley

Writes. Plays. TV. Film.

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