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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.

Monday, January 27, 2020

"Up & Away" @Broadway Rose

"Up and Away" is a slight departure for Broadway Rose. It is far goofier than their typical offerings. In fact, my favorite part was the intentionally low-tech props and effects. It's a parody of superhero stories, most obviously Superman, but the rogues gallery of comic villains (in both senses of "comic") could fit in any universe. This light comedy was a welcome respite from some particularly somber productions elsewhere. Let Broadway Rose lift your spirits "Up & Away."

"School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play" @ PCS, co-prod w/ Artists Rep

"School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play" has undeniably interesting themes: Race, Class, definitions of beauty, and the role of all of them in society, shrunk down into a Girl's School in Africa. It does what it sets out to do, but with its remarkably brief 70 minute running-time, I was left with the feeling that the play had barely scratched the surface of any of the issues it raises. I mean, most shows in Las Vegas are at least 90 minutes and they have the ulterior motive of rushing guests back into the casinos. On top of its brevity, the ending was particularly unsatisfying. There are wonderful performances, so if that's enough, then by all means, buy a ticket, but be forewarned it is among the shortest pieces I've ever attended.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

"Wait Until Dark" @ Lakewood

Lakewood's "Wait Until Dark" is the show I've been looking forward to the most since the theatres announced their Seasons. It did not disappoint, to say the least. I would put this at the very top of your "Must-See" List. Lakewood did Frederick Knott's Dial 'M' for Murder" last Season, and returns to his work with this production. I've always considered Lakewood the best venue in which to see an old-fashioned, but still crackling thriller. Not only have they done quite a few over the years, the building itself just has that vibe: classy with a dash of gloom. With the play closing in mid-February, you may wait until dark, but not much longer.

Monday, December 30, 2019

"THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART" By Artist's Rep @ The Tiffany Center

The Tiffany Center is the best ART On Tour benue yet. The immersiveness of the show, taking place on all sides of the ballroom "pub"is innovative, as is the idea of eating a pre-show meal pf pub-fare pre-curtain. But, sometimes one performer steals the whole show. In this case, that actor is Darius Pierce. It would be a monumental spoiler to reveal to you what role he really playsm but as one of Portland's most fully-committed actors, who seems most comfortable in odd roles that allow him to let genuine strangeness shine through, this is a role he was born to play. His big-reveal occurs at the very end of Act I, just as the comedy mined from Academic Politics was growing a little tiresome. His performance lends the show some badly needed momentum. It's worth seeing the show for, all by itself.

Monday, December 2, 2019

"It Happened One Christmas," @ Broadway Rose

With "It Happened One Christmas," Broadway Rose reclaims its rightful place on the Nice List. For years on end, Broadway Rose has been the go-to theatre for holiday cheer. Then came last year's "A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol"a show with a decidedly melancholy tone. I remember that a few audience members were not shy in expressing their disappointment in the shift. Much of this was surely due to the fact that audiences had come to count on Broadway Rose as the one theatre seemingly immune to the impulse to skew their holiday production in any direction other than festive. I'm happy to report that "It Happened One Christmas" has them back on the right track. I'll be sure to inform Santa. Also, if memory serves, there seem to be quite a few new songs in this one, which is always nice. If you want to get into the spirit of the Season, this is where to go.