Category Archives: Review: Current Production

Review for plays that are currently playing.

Forbidden Zone and TAPE this weekend.

I saw Forbidden Zone last week, but didn’t have time to write up a full review before heading off to vacation. When I get back I may do a bigger, for realsies review, but do yourself a favor and go see this play this weekend at Sacred Fools. It has a dwarf with a wakazachi, boobies, kissing, frogmen, big-huge-devil-cock-with-severed-head-testicles, awesome music, great performances and simply brilliant costume design. Sacred Fools is one of my favorite theatre companies in Los Angeles and this is the closing weekend for this great production. What’s most important about it is that it’s fun. You will go to the theatre and enjoy yourself and smile.

Opening this weekend is a show that I’m looking forward to: TAPE by Stephen Belber at EXPO at 4321 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. I’m not too familiar with the play or the venue, but the actors in it are artists who I greatly respect and if they’re doing a show together for the first time in years, I’m definitely going to go see this play in a few weeks. You can reserve tickets for this show at 562-639-2659 or by email at lonecollectiveproductions@gmail.com.

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Kill Your Television at the Hollywood Fringe

Last night I saw Kill Your Television at the Elephant Stages, which is one of the many productions with the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It’s a fantastic one-man show, written and performed by Jeff Gardner, directed by Vicky Silva.

The show itself is one man watching television in his pajamas. He’s alone, except for his stuffed monkey. You watch his, as well as your own, ritual of watching television. The show is completely without any actual dialog, and it feels at times like you’re watching a silent film. It’s Gardner’s simple, yet complex, reaction to the brilliant sound design.

Having slept on it, I’m still left speechless. This is one brilliant show that just does everything right. There’s one more production of this show at 2 PM on Saturday. Go see this play. You won’t be disappointed.

Fiddler on the Roof at the Gem Theatre

I drove down to Garden Grove on Saturday to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Gem Theatre. Why would anyone drive an hour to see a show? Because my friends are in it and I wanted to support them and I’m classy like that. Also, there are good theatre companies in Orange County and One More Productions is one more of them.

This production of Fiddler is like most things in Orange County. It’s a bit too clean compared to LA’s grittiness and when you look close you see things that are wrong. Nothing big, but stuff that stands out.

The set design was decent, with hanging flats of rooftops surrounding an empty stage. Other flats and set pieces are brought on later to convey the different locations. The style of these was kind of retro, a throwback to fabulous musicals in the 60’s.

The acting, singing and dancing were decent, with some people better than others. It’s that way with all shows. I was pretty fortunate to have a seat in the front row. Some actors projected better than others and I think that if I sat in the last row I wouldn’t have enjoyed the show as much.

I feel that the real linchpin scene in Fiddler is the Fruma-Sarah scene, where we see the ‘ghosts’ invade Tevye’s dream. What you see on stage is indeed what nightmares look like and I’m still trying to figure out how they got Fruma-Sarah to fly. It wasn’t wires, it wasn’t just a rolling cart. There’s something there that I just can’t figure out and that’s a good thing. Theatre should be magical and keep you guessing.

The costumes were decent, but the lack of period shoes and spectacles and obviously fake facial hair really put me out of the experience, but I could see that’s not the case for everyone. They do use college ruled notebook paper in one scene that made me go *facepalm.*

The lights were limited but effective. Not a criticism, just an observation. Lights are expensive and they did a good job with what they had.

The program doesn’t warn you about the fog-machine or strobe lights. I’m pretty photo-sensitive so that would’ve been nice to know.

Ultimately, my final say is that it’s a fun show and that’s the most important thing about it. Theatre needs to be enjoyable and this production is incredibly enjoyable. So, if you live near Garden Grove or really love Fiddler on the Roof, check it out this weekend. You’ll have a fun time.

Venue:

The Gem Theatre really is a throw back to when theatre was an outing that brought the community together. The lobby is large, the venue beautiful, concession plentiful and they even have a raffle. It’s a wonderful place to spend an evening.

Other Notes:

Damien Lorton, Director, Musical Director and Artistic Director for One More Productions, should really teach other theatre companies stewardship. He does a superb job of introducing the audience to the production and making everyone feel welcome. He even got the mayor pro-temp of Garden Grove to attend and introduced donors. good for him.