White Noise shocks, ultimately disappoints at Berkeley Rep

Oct 04

<i>White Noise</i> shocks, ultimately disappoints at Berkeley Rep

Suzan-Lori Parks' White Noise is an intensely interesting play. Just not a very good one.

And that's surprising given that Parks, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, has bent, molded and shaped contemporary theater to her will through sheer force of intelligence, powerful writing and the courage to configure theater as she needs it to be configured.

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Churchill is tops in ACT’s Top Girls

Sep 26

Churchill is tops in ACT’s <i>Top Girls</i>

The mind of Caryl Churchill is an extraordinary place to spend an evening. Happily, this theater season, the Bay Area will see an abundance of Churchill, beginning with American Conservatory Theater's season-opening Top Girls from 1982.

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Berkeley Rep’s Great Wave crashes

Sep 20

Berkeley Rep’s <i>Great Wave</i> crashes

Director Mark Wing-Davey layers an intricate sound design (by Bray Poor and even more intricate projection design (by Tara Knight) onto the play in a way that makes it seem he doesn't fully trust Turnly or the actors enough to convey the emotional weight of the show. And he may be right.

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Identity crisis renders Anastasia dull, derivative

Sep 05

Identity crisis renders <i>Anastasia</i> dull, derivative

As much as we might like to think that the future of Broadway looks like Hamilton or Hadestown, I'm pretty sure the future looks more like Anastasia, the inconsequential musical based on the 1997 animated film (in turn based on the 1956 movie starring Ingrid Bergman) that is now touring the country. Given how uninspired this show is, the fact that it ran for two years on Broadway is surprising, but perhaps lukewarm rehashes are just what audiences want.

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Come to the Cabaret at SF Playhouse

Jul 12

Come to the <i>Cabaret</i> at SF Playhouse

San Francisco Playhouse's Cabaret is, to put it simply, a wow. A big, debauched, delightful wow. Everything in director Susi Damilano's production just clicks. The look, the feel, the sound of this John Kander and Fred Ebb classic are all securely in place, so this well-constructed musical (Damilano is using the 1998 Broadway revival as her base) can connect directly with its audience.

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