Entering heavenly Pastures

Jun 06

Entering heavenly <i>Pastures</i>

Spectacular things are happening at the Bruns Amphitheater – on stage and off.

At long last, California Shakespeare Theater is getting a performance venue worthy of its status as one of the Bay Area's foremost theater companies. Improvements to the Bruns include a new box office, new landscaping and, most importantly, a beautiful new 7,850-square-foot building to house its food operations and some spectacular bathrooms (if you ever used the bathrooms in the old endlessly "temporary" facility, you'll appreciate just how spectacular these new facilities really are).

The improvements aren't quite done yet, but they're already upping the ante on the Cal Shakes experience – and just in time for Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone's 10-year anniversary with the company.

So many things to celebrate ̶ not the least of which is the world-premiere production on the Bruns stage.

Read More

No equivocating: this is good theater

Apr 30

No equivocating: this is good theater

Marin Theatre Company's Equivocation is enormously enjoyable theater.

I liked Bill Cain's play last summer when I saw it at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and I still like its muscular, hugely entertaining theatricality. The Marin production, directed by Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis, is more intimate but just as rewarding.

The cast boasts some of the Bay Area's finest – Anna Bullard (the lone woman in the cast), Lance Gardner, Andrew Hurteau, Craig Marker, Andy Murray, and Charles Shaw Robinson – as they crawl around J.B. Wilson's scaffolding set that reminds of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Where else would you want to set a story of William Shakespeare, or Shagspeare as he's called in the play?

As Cain's play imagines Will attempting to write a piece of propaganda theater for bonny King James (and his henchman, Sir Robert Cecil) and discovering that what he writes has to be the truth or nothing, something very interesting happens. Cain's immense knowledge of Shakespeare's plays and British history coalesce into a drama that feels recognizably human yet epic in its scope and more than just a little bit contemporary.

Read More

Marin Theatre Company’s `What the Butler Saw’

Jun 10

I reviewed Marin Theatre Company’s production of What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton as my first reviewing assignment for the Marin Independent Journal. You can read the review here. The show has been extended through July 5. Stacy Ross is Mrs. Prentice and Andy Murray is Dr. Rance in the Marin Theatre Company production of What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton....

Read More

Review: `The Best Man’

Sep 05

The cast of the Aurora Theatre Company’s The Best Man by Gore Vidal includes (from left) Tim Kniffen, Deb Fink, Charles Shaw Robinson, Michael Patrick Gaffney, and Michael Cassidy. Photos by David Allen   Vidal’s `Best Man’ wins at Aurora (three ½ stars) Just in case you haven’t already had it up to here with presidential politics, you...

Read More

2007 theater Top 10

Dec 27

I can always tell whether a theater year has been good or not so good when I sit down to hammer out my Top 10 list. If I can summon five or more shows simply from memory, it’s a good year. This year’s entire list came almost entirely from memory (which is a feat in itself as the old noggin’ ain’t what it used to be), so it was a good year...

Read More

Review: `The Crowd You’re in With’

Nov 20

Opened Nov. 17, 2007 at the Magic Theatre Gilman’s Crowd stands out Four stars Pleasingly provocative There aren’t many plays, especially new plays, that stick with you days after seeing them. Rebecca Gilman’s The Crowd You’re in With, which had its world premiere last weekend at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, is, in many ways, an astonishing play. It...

Read More