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Saturday, July 16, 2022

"The Kiss" @ Lakewood

 "The Kiss" is a musical conceived by Will Vinton, I was friends with from a very young age, when I was making stop-motion animated short films, and a frequent attendee of his Portland Creative Conference.  So, it was nostalgic for me just to enter the lobby, and see the early sketches of various things in the production. (Make time to loiter a bit, it's well worth it.)

My favorite moments in the production are, unsurprisingly those that are reminiscent of animation. Those moments in which one is struck by an actor's ability to execute movements that would seem to be in the realm of cartoons. Such as, when Keaton Fields does his "seduction dance," insisting in song how easy it will be to procure the kiss he needs to turn him back into princely-form.  (Mr. Fields is a fresh from Acting School, his trajectory derailed by the pandemic. This is his debut-role, but --mark my words-- we'll be seeing much more of him.)  Another actor deserves similar praise for his fully-committed portrayal of a rodent, but doing so by name would be a major-spoiler. 

I felt honored to be among the first to see "The Kiss," Vinton's final creative work. Yes, it took me back to my past, but it also cemented my faith in Portland's artistic-future.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

"Gem of the Ocean" @ PCS

An August Wilson play is always appoint-viewing.  Add in top-flight Portland actors, (many of whom have done several Wilson productions over the years,) and you have unmissable, (and dearly-missed) theater. Wilson's often lyrically beautiful dialogue is the main-course. But, the dazzling implementation of the magical-realist themes should also not be given short-shrift. It's a classic, and deservedly so. As such, it almost seems arrogant of me to add any personal feelings. But,  I must say, of PCS' scheduled Season, "Gem of the Ocean" was the one I most fervently hoped would not be a casualty of CoVid. If ever there was a show worth venturing out for, this is it.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

"The Great Leap" @ PCS

 Take 2! 

I tried to attend Opening Night of ArtistsRep/PCS's production of "The Great Leap." The show was called off at Curtain for positive tests. 

It was worth the wait. 

"The Great Leap begins as a sports-story, but becomes far more:  A story about parents and their children amid the backdrop of Revolution. Playwright Lauren Yee is a voice I haven't otherwise encountered, and "The Great Leap" made me wonder what audiences had missed with "'Cambodian Rock Band" a musical by Yee, set to premiere Pre-Lockdown, and not yet mounted at PCS.

The Great Leap" is worth your time. It's full of the kind of drama we've missed for so very long.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

"Murder on the Orient Express"

 "Murder on the Orient Express" is the play I was looking most forward to, as live performances slowly crackled back to life on local stages. An added bonus is that this show is directed by my former teacher David Sikking. 

"Murder" is the kind of play I associate most with Lakewood Theatre since I first began going in earnest. The classic Agatha Christie tale, with its snowbound train is perfectly suited for a Winter's night. While I am far from a Christie expert, (my tastes gravitate more toward the grittier Raymond Chandler,) I'd say that "Murder on the Orient Express" is likely her best. 

As I sat in the theatre, waiting for the show to begin, I reflected upon how this was an ideal way to cautiously resume "normalcy." I was proven right. It really felt like "we're back!" I urge you to join me in that feeling. It's like feasting after a fast, and what a feast it is.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Crippled Critic Ice Cream Review: The Village Ice Cream Factory

With stages and screens still dark for over a year, this website has gotten no use.  The Crippled Critic himself, as an immunocompromised individual, has been under extraordinary lockdown since mid-March 2020. Then when I became eligible for the vaccine, it reached full-effectiveness on Feb 20th, 2021. Soon after, during an unseasonably warm March day, I ventured out to Multnomah Village Ice Cream Factory. My ever-vigilant twin sister, who knows of my obsessive-love of Blue Raspberry Slurpees/Icees, noticed that they had a Blue Raspberry flavor on a day she passed by. On this day, that flavor was not on the chalkboard. I had a Cookie Monster milkshake instead. ("Cookie Monster" is a delightfully decadent twist on Cookies & Cream, with a far more extensive list of cookies, I am certain it would do its muppet namesake proud.) Nikki, (the aforementioned twin,) decided to bring home a couple pints to-go. Among the pre-packed pints, was Blue Raspberry. Oh. My. God.  I think this flavor typifies the unusual--but never veering into bizarre--flavors that Village Ice Cream Factory serves. I love this place. Hopefully, as Summer approaches, they'll be open longer hours than their current  hours of 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM M-F, & 12 PM-8:00 Sat-Sun. 

The Village Ice CreamFactory

Multnomah Village

7709 SW Capitol Hwy

Portland, OR 97219

(971) 279-5047

Sunday, March 8, 2020

"The Odd Couple" @ Lakewood

"The Odd Couple" was written in the sixties, it would stand to reason that something would make it slightly dated. No, there's nothing, except for the use of the yellow-pages and a rotary dial phone, and perhaps that characters smoke indoors. The point being, nothing in the plot makes it feel the least bit stale. Even with the film and tv series versions being classics in their own right only increased my desire to see the original, which somehow I hadn't yet seen on stage. I find this particularly odd because there was even a Broadway revival in the not so distant past. One would think that would have spurred a host of regional productions, but I don't recall any. The description "laugh out-loud funny" is over-used an often hyperbolic, I reserve its use to occasions where it's literally true, and this production qualifies handily. See it. The comedy sparkles as if it were brand-new, and the set, (an often unsung element is gorgeous. It is also the lightest fare currently running, which I must say is quite welcome. 

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" @ PCS

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" is strange in all the best ways. Its protagonist has a deliberately unspecified neurological disorder. It makes him averse to touch, extremely skilled in certain academic subjects, and quite observant, which serves him well for the "detective story" element of the play. You may have noticed my omission of symptoms typical of such disorders, ones that are more debilitating than those I've mentioned. They too are shown in the play, but given the first-person perspective, significantly more downplayed than they otherwise may have been. I found this refreshing. By focusing on those attributes that could be considered assets, it makes those of us who might be broadly described as "introverts" feel less self-conscious about our various quirks. If someone in y0our life is, to use the term that's en vogue, "neuro-atypical," they might enjoy this show very much. If their enjoyment would be enhanced by a more "sensory-friendly" presentation, those are offered as well. One thing to note,  however, is that I was advised to select the wheelchair-seats in the rear-orchestra, due to the configuration of this particular show, so the wheelchair-using readers of this site should keep that in mind. Still, I'd highly recommend attending.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Joshua Radin @ Revolution Hall

Experiences like this don't happen every day. I am a huge fan of Joshua Radin, and had happened upon William Fitzsimmons on a double-bill with Griffin House. Seeing Radin and Fitzsimmons on the same stage was quite a treat. The third artist on the bill was Ben Kweller. whom I had never encountered. He was a pleasant surprise. I'll have a chance ti get better acquainted with all of them , because when I visited the merch booth in search of a large T-shirt, they were out, but as I was leaving the clerk gifted me Cds by all three men. That was the highlight of a night full of contenders.

Monday, February 24, 2020

"Indecent" by Artists Rep @ PSU's Lincoln Hall

I love Paula Vogel's work. I read "How I Learned to Drive" in college, and the local production of "The Long Christmas Ride Home" at Theatre Vertigo in collaboration with Tears of Joy is among the best productions I've seen.

"Indecent"has its strengths as well, particularly Michael Mendelson as a tailor who becomes enamored with the play-within-a play, "God of Vengeance" a real-life work that got the entire cast arrested for the "obscenity" of the first lesbian kiss on Broadway.

I must note that significant bits of text are projected on a teeny-tiny screen attached to the set. I'm aware that I have subnormal vision, but even from my fairly close seat, I had a very hard time seeing. Perhaps the can adjust that? 

All in all, "Indecent" is worth seeing for its exploration of censorship, assimilation, and the power of theatre itself. It's worth seeing.....provided you can see.  

Crippled Critic Concert Preview: Joshua Radin at Revolution Hall Feb. 29th

Joshua Radin is a wonderful singer. I often describe him as Simon & Garfunkel in one body. I am looking very forward to his concert, which also features William Fitzsimmons, the man who holds the record for the longest show I've ever seen. So long that he ended up turning off the mic and playing in the audience. Radin is one of the few artists who, when I saw my first show I raided the merchandise booth. I highly recommend both artists, and Revolution Hall is among my favorite venues in the city. If you've never been, Joshua Radin's show is a great place to start.