Dec 17, 2004

Last Hurrahs and Second Chances

For my final Review of Reviews Tally of 2004, I've summed up the offerings that close this weekend first--good luck choosing what, if anything, to spend your time and money on. Below that are the shows that have a few more weeks, even more than a month more of performances. Each listing orders the shows in sequence of best- to worst-reviewed, give or take.

Happy theatregoing...

CLOSING THIS WEEKEND:

EXITS AND ENTRANCES at the Fountain Theatre through Dec. 18. Four rave reviews (and probably more) for Athol Fugard’s memory play.

A VERY MERRY UNAUTHORIZED CHILDREN’S SCIENTOLOGY PAGEANT at the Powerhouse Theatre through Dec. 19. Four raves, one mixed-negative review. "A provocative mix of Christmas-pageant sincerity, Christopher Durang-like irony, and unexpected rage.”

OUROBOROS at the Road Theatre through Dec. 18. Three rave reviews for Tom Jacobson’s play about couples on a spiritual quest in Italy. ”An enchanting metaphysical etude.”

PEACE SQUAD GOES 99 at the Evidence Room through Dec. 19. Two rave and one mixed-positive review for this holiday extravaganza. This troupe's most inventive, therapeutic round of 99-cent necromancy yet.”

BASIC TRAINING at the 2nd Stage Theatre through Dec. 19. Two strongly positive reviews and two mixed-positive reviews. ”Nonstop energy and world-class humor.”

DEALING WITH CLAIR at the Matrix Theatre through Dec. 19. Two strongly positive reviews and one mixed-positive review for Martin Crimp's mysterious drama. "A production that shames us, shakes us... makes us think.”

BOLD GIRLS at the Matrix Theatre through Dec. 17. One rave, one mixed-positive review, and one all-around mixed review for Rona Munro's play about women in Belfast. “Artfully mingles the pedestrian and the profound… alternately wrenchingly funny and just plain wrenching.”

MODERN DANCE FOR BEGINNERS at the Little Victory through Dec. 19. Two strongly positive reviews, one mixed-positive review, and one mixed-negative review for Sarah Phelps’ sex comedy. “An abbreviated La Ronde, with more laughs.”

QUIET, PLEASE at Hollywood’s Sacred Fools Theatre through Dec. 17. One strongly positive review and one mixed-positive review Corey Klemow’s staging of two classic radio plays. “Succeeds in transporting us back [in] time.

A GIFT FROM HEAVEN at the Beverly Hills Playhouse through Dec. 19. Two positive reviews and one mixed-positive review for David Steen’s Southern tale. “Unadulterated Southern Gothic.”

THE MAIDS at Stage 52 through Dec. 18. Two positive reviews and one mixed review for this staging of Genet’s s/m power play. ”Kinetic and continuously visionary.”

CARROLLING at A Noise Within through Dec. 19. Two positive reviews for this cabaret-style anthology of Lewis Carroll stories, poems, and songs. “An elegant ensemble piece.”

URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL: DEAN CAMERON’S NIGERIAN SPAM SCAM SCAM at Sacred Fools Theatre through Dec. 18. Two positive reviews for this satire of an actual ongoing email exchange between a con artist and an actor. “Doubly hilarious for being true.”

ANATOL VS. at the Met Theatre through Dec. 19. Two positive reviews, one mixed review for L. Flint Esquerra’s boxing-ring adaptation of Schnitzler’s Anatol. The LA Weekly’s Deborah Klugman found the tweaking “Delightfully unpredictable.”

THAT MAY WELL BE TRUE at the Hudson Mainstage through Dec. 19. One positive review and two mixed-positive reviews for Jay Reiss’s play about a friendship strained by an authorship dispute. “High concept… for the most part stays airborne.”

THE NISEI WIDOWS CLUB at East West Players through Dec. 19. One positive review and one mixed review for this crowd-pleasing holiday tradition. ”Enjoyable for any culture, chocolate mochi for its targeted demographic.”

LAST SUMMER AT BLUEFISH COVE at the Davidson/Valenti Theatre through Dec. 18. One positive review and one mixed-positive review for this revival of Jane Chambers’ 1980 play about lesbian pals on holiday. “Exceptionally strong… ensemble work.”

FIREFLOW at the Ivy Substation through Dec. 19. Three mixed-positive reviews for Bottom’s Dream’s production of two Erik Ehn adaptations of Hans Christain Andersen tales. ”Invigorating viewing.”

THE CIRCLE at the Stella Adler Theatre through Dec. 18. One strongly positive review, one mixed-positive, and one mixed-negative for Shem Bitterman’s anguished post-Columbine drama. “A huge, almost unbearable concept… daring in execution, fierce in intention.”

2 ACROSS at the Santa Monica Playhouse through Dec. 19. One strongly positive review, one mixed-positive review, and one mixed-negative review for Jerry Mayer's romantic comedy. "Comically well-timed staging and two undemonstrative yet heartfelt performances.”

KITH AND KIN at the Hudson Guild through Dec. 18. One strongly positive, one positive, and one negative review for Oliver Hailey’s white-trash funeral comedy. “A specialized yet satisfying immorality play.”

CATERPILLAR SOUP at the Ruskin Group Theatre through Dec. 18. One positive review and one mixed-negative review for Lyena Strelkoff’s solo show. “Straightforward, pragmatic, cautionary.”

UNDERWEAR FOR CHRISTMAS at the Elephant Lab Theatre through Dec. 18. One positive and one negative review for this play about a dysfunctional blue-collar family holiday. ”Raucous taste of figgy pudding.”

A WORD WITH ORLANDO at the Odyssey Theaetre through Dec. 19. One mixed-negative and one negative review for David T. Chantler’s play about an American couple in Sicily. Little more than an exercise in dialogue writing.”
FREEDOMLAND at the Sidewalk Studios in Burbank through Dec. 18. Two negative reviews and one mixed-negative review for this revival of Amy Freed’s play about a multigenerational family. “Neither particularly funny nor insightful.”

SEARCHING FOR AMERICANA at the Hunger Artists Theatre through Dec. 19. One pan and one mixed-negative review for this play about a documentary film crew. ”A desperate let's-put-on-a-show exercise.”

CLOSING NEXT WEEK OR NEXT MONTH:

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at the Ahmanson Theatre through Dec. 25.
Four raves, one mixed-positive, and one mixed-negative review. “A whompin’ American hymn: half gospel, half davening, an ode to despair and a prayer for deliverance.”

LIKE A DOG ON LINOLEUM at the Elephant Asylum Theatre through Jan. 30, 2005. Three rave reviews for Leslie Jordan’s solo show. "House-shaking hilarity and heart-tugging candor.”

THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL at the Mark Taper Forum through Jan. 23, 2005. Three raves and one positive review for Brian Bedford’s revival of this 18th century comedy. “Woundingly witty.”

THE PARIS LETTER at the Kirk Douglas Theatre through Jan. 2, 2005. Three rave reviews and one mixed-positive review for Jon Robin Baitz’s big new play about an investment banker who can’t suppress his sexuality, with tragic results. “A resonant tragicomedy.”

LES MISÉRABLES at the Pantages Theatre through Jan. 1, 2005. Two raves for this touring revival of the 1980s musical hit. “Spectacular.”

DRY CLEANING at the 24th Street Theatre through Jan., 2005. One rave and two strongly positive reviews for Kronis and Alger’s espionage-styled retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth. “Jaw-dropping performance art at its finest.”

LETTING GO OF GOD at the Hudson Backstage through jan. 23, 2005. Two raves and one mixed-positive review for Julia Sweeney’s solo show about losing her religion. “Brave, hilarious, and ultimately moving.”

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at South Coast Rep through Dec. 26. One rave and one positive review for this 25th anniversary rendition. “An agreeably traditional model.”

THE LESSON at City Garage through Jan., 2005. Three strongly positive reviews. “If you've never seen any Ionesco, this serves as a great introduction.”

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO MOTOWN at the Falcon Theatre through Dec. 23. One rave and one positive review for this latest Troubadour Theatre romp. “Audacious, hyperactive and entirely over the top.”

FELLOWSHIP at NoHo’s El Portal Theatre through Jan. 22, 2005. Two strongly positive reviews for this musical Tolkien sendup. “You haven't lived until you've seen hobbits tap dance.”

HEY! I’M THE MAMA! at the Tamarind Theatre through Jan. 23, 2005. One positive review and one mixed review for this mother/daughter cabaret featuring Spanky Wilson and Angela Teek. ”An intimate and charming evening.”

CHRISTMAS TIME IS QUEER 3: NAKED CHRISTMAS at the Celebration Theatre through Dec. 31. One positive review and one mixed review for this revue of holiday fabulousness. “Zany, raunchy, hilarious and spiced with ‘festive nudity.’ ”

A F**KIN’ CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Stella Adler Theatre through Dec. 29. Two mixed-positive reviews for this foul-mouthed update of Dickens. “Precociously adolescent”

THE FOREIGNER at the Odyssey Theatre through Jan. 30, 2005. Two mixed-positive reviews for Larry Shue’s comedy. “Charm prevails.”.

PAINT YOUR WAGON at the Geffen Playhouse through Jan. 9, 2005. Three mixed-positive reviews, one mixed review, and one mixed-negative review for this reworking of Lerner and Leowe’s Gold Rush musical. “Far from bad theatre.”

MARVIN AND MEL at the Whitefire Theatre through Jan. 9, 2005. One mixed-positive review and one negative review for this revival of this comedy about scriptwriters battling ageism. “Sweet sitcom.”

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at the Met Theatre through Jan. 22, 2005. One pan, one mixed-negative review and one mixed review for this contemporary rendition of the Bard’s problematic comedy. “An object lesson in how not to play Shakespeare.”

TESHUVAH at the Write Act Theater through Jan. 25, 2005. Two mixed-negative reviews for this drama about Poland under Nazi occupation. ”Stilted.”



2 comments:

communicatrix said...

Dude, you, like, totally forgot BOB'S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY. Just because something doesn't get reviewed every one of its NINE YEARS doesn't mean it won't feel left out if you...er...leave it out.

xxx
c

Rob Kendt said...

Colleen: I leave a lot of shows off my "Review of Reviews," actually, because I need at least two reviews to show any consensus I can comment on. If I wanted to just encapsulate individual reviews, I could just post links to reviews. So far the only review I could find (this year) of BHOP is here. For complete listings of what's running, check here (and with Firefox, avoid the pop-ups that make the Weekly site so damn slow--again I thank you for the tip).