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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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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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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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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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

Nikki Corona Proves Not Only Untranslatable, But Un-Developed and Nearly Un-Watchable.

By Patrick Hurley

There doesn’t seem to be a good place to start to discuss the inscrutable and confounding play that is Jose Rivera’s The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona, playing now at the Geffen playhouse.   (more…)

‘Sweat’ Still The Standard

By Patrick Hurley

The lingering racial tensions of an ever shifting America takes center stage in Sweat, the 2017 Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Lynn Nottage, playing now at the Mark Taper Forum.  (more…)

School Girls Will be Mean Girls

By Patrick Hurley

Borrowing tropes and devices from teen clique films such as Mean Girls and Heathers, School Girls or, The African Mean Girls Play, playing now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, is a story of assimilation as much as it is a comedy about the universal struggle of fitting in. (more…)

More of the Same: An Examination of Relevance in Contemporary Theatre.

By Patrick Hurley

I set out to write a review of The Geffen Playhouse’s world premiere production of Our Very Own Carlin McCullough, written by Amanda Peet, who is probably known to most from her film and television work as an actress. I grappled with the same questions that accompany most of my theatre experiences in Los Angeles, the largest of these being why.  I decided after dozens and dozens  of reviews, and years of patronage in the theatre, to voice an honest response about my experience with this play.  And that turned into a much bigger exploration. I don’t usually make personal statements when writing on this blog.

That changes today. As this may very well be my last review.  (more…)