Thursday, November 01, 2007

October theatre reviewed

Surprisingly, October turned out to be a busy month to see theatre. We attended 10 shows. Here is a recap.
4*, Six Degrees of Separation - John Guare, San Francisco Playhouse
[A young man gains access to upper-class New Yorkers by pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier, in a witty, biting, social commentary on money, fame, community standing, and a desire for human connection. Earlier blog entry here.]

5*, Heartbreak House - George Bernard Shaw, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[“A masterfully moving comedy about smart and sophisticated people hopelessly adrift in a nation at war.” Earlier blog entry here.]

5*, Appomattox - Philip Glass, Christopher Hampton, San Francisco Opera
[World premiere opera. Haunting and socially prescient of the Civil War and its aftermath. Lee surrenders to Grant.]

Ron Campbell and Danny Scheie in The Triumph of Love4*, The Triumph of Love - Pierre Marivaux, adapted & translated by Lillian Groag, Frederick Kluck, San Jose Repertory Theatre
[Quick-witted Princess disguises herself as a man to win the heart of the rightful prince. Over done deception, gender confusions and complexities of l’amour. There were some strange choices in direction. Ron Campbell and Danny Scheie as the two clowns where hysterical. Was a joint production with California Shakespeare Theatre.]

5*, The Color Purple - Alice Walker, Marsha Normaan, Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray, Best of Broadway
[Family saga about an abused and uneducated black woman's struggle for empowerment. Even better a 2nd time. More detail review here. Jeannette Bayardelle is dong the lead role in the touring production with Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child, Latoya London from American Idol, and Tony Award nominee Felicia P. Fields.]

3*, Golda's Balcony - William Gibson, TheatreWorks (Camille Saviola)
[One woman show of Golda Meir, former Prime Minister and one of the founders of the State of Israel. Weaker performance than Tovah Feldshuh's at ACT' we saw in 2005.]

Ben Randle and Bradly Mena in Holding the Man5*, Holding the Man - adaptation Tommy Murphy, book Timothy Conigrave, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Australian love story of a 15-year relationship that weathered disapproval, separation and temptation. The book was a winner of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Non-Fiction.]

4*, Candida - George Bernard Shaw, ACT's Master of Fine Arts Program
[Questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, asking what a woman really wants her husband to provide. She must choose between a young poet and her husband the clergyman.]

Christopher Maltman in The Magic Flute5*, The Magic Flute - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Emanuel Schikaneder, San Franciso Opera
[The bird catcher, Papageno, searches for love and struggles to attain wisdom and virtue. Features Gerald Scarfe's eye-catching sets and costumes. He was the illustrator for Pink Floyd’s The Wall and is a British editorial cartoonist.]

Schoolhouse Rock Live! - David McCall, Scott Ferguson, George Keating, Kyle Hall, Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, Palo Alto Children's Theatre (no rating, children's theatre company)
[Based on ABC's short cartoon films featuring songs about grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and politics.]

Ratings Legend:
5* - Loved It – would see it a second time.
4* - Really Liked It – strong production but not worth seeing a second time.
3* - Liked It –good production but something is lacking or not clicking.
2* - Just OK – had at least one interesting element.
1* - Did Not Like It – waste of time.
No rating – A work in progress (reading or workshop), or children’s production.

Rating*, Show Title - Author, Presenting Theatre (comments)
[Synopsis or review]
TIP: Half-price tickets for many select performances, sporting events and family activities are often available on Goldstar Events. Areas include San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago.


A Bear in the Woods said...

"Heartbreak" is really grat theater. I've thought for a long time that shaw's reputation for wit actually obscures his greatness. It's an odd conundrum, but I think sometimes he hid behind his razor sharp wit.

A Bear in the Woods said...

Err, make that "great" theater.

Perhaps I should have checked my spelling...

Evol Kween said...

Holding the Man changed my life as a teenager. I live in Melbourne Australia and every time I drive past the school where Tim and John met I think about them and that book.

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