Of mice and music: Berkeley Rep’s Despereaux charms

Nov 26

Of mice and music: Berkeley Rep’s <i>Despereaux</i> charms

There are so many charming, astonishing, inspiring moments in PigPen Theatre Co.'s The Tale of Despereaux you have to stop logging them and simply realize that, from beginning to end, this is exactly the show we need this holiday season.

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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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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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Vivacious Aztec tunefully reclaims, re-writes Latinx history

Jun 07

Vivacious <i>Aztec</i> tunefully reclaims, re-writes Latinx history

After 33 years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre – 22 as artistic director – Tony Taccone is taking a final bow with Kiss My Aztec, a world-premiere musical that serves as a fitting farewell. Hatched from the fervid mind of John Leguizamo, the show hits a lot of Taccone hot spots. It attempts to stick it to the white man (in this case, the Spanish conquistadors who colonized, destroyed and attempted to erase Aztec civilization) while re-writing history with a focus on those who should have had a hand in recording it in the first place. It's a sprawling, inclusive, celebratory explosion of energy that continually lobs truth bombs at its audience through crude, incisive, often hilarious lines and lyrics.

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Berkeley Rep’s Good Book is a revelation

May 04

Berkeley Rep’s <i>Good Book</i> is a revelation

Let's just admit it. The Bible is a clusterf**k. How in the world did such a literary hodgepodge, political football, myth collection become one of the most influential – if not the most influential book – ever created? That is the mammoth question asked by playwrights Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare ask in their fascinating play The Good Book now at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

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Berkeley Rep’s HOME is where the (he)art is

Mar 27

Berkeley Rep’s <i>HOME</i> is where the (he)art is

What Dorothy Gale said is true: there's no place like home. But in this particular instance, there is no place and no show quite like HOME, the creation of the marvelous Geoff Sobelle, whom we last saw rummaging through boxes and file cabinets on stage at the Curran in The Object Lesson (read my review here). Sobelle is back with another inventive, wholly unique theater piece, this time at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where he and a mighty crew of designers and actors are homing in on the lives we lead.

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