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This, my second viewing of the smash hit Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, was even more joyous than the first. This little show, like a Sesame Street for adults, plays out like life - only bigger - with funny situations, great one-liners and tantalizing music, each and every tune a winner. The show leaves you craving more, but unfortunately you only have until Sunday, March 6 to see it, before it moves along on tour.
The amazing artistry of manipulating these puppets onstage entails far more than just pulling the strings and supplying the voice for the appropriate character. Each actor behind the puppet is giving a full-out emotional performance. You have to watch the puppet in motion and the actor to get the full effect. Directed expertly by Jason Moore, the cast of characterizations include Princeton and Rod played by David Colston Corris, Kate Monster and sexy slut Lucy played by Ashley Eileen Bucknam
Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton
Is The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity a one-woman show or is it a two-hander play? Now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake, and written by and starring Anne Hendy, this light comedy feels somehow as if it is both. Or perhaps it began life as a one-woman show but later was expanded?
Whatever the case, The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity starts off well, with its first two scenes involving two actors, but quickly reverts back to its true core, a one-woman confessional with direct to audience address. Thankfully, the introspective monologues are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of great scenes between our hapless heroine and a motley assortment of men who might prove to be the recipient of her virtue.
Cyrus Alexander is the guy playing all the other male roles – and even one hilarious woman in drag – and he gives an exceptional performance throughout the evening. A highlight is a scene where our Mid-western virgin participates in an evening of ‘speed dating’. This calls for a virtuoso exercise in lightning-quick costume changes from Alexander as he whizzes through a parade of deviants and weirdos. Hendy’s play is a gift to any talented male actor, seeing as he gets to play so many diverse roles. Alexander is so brilliant as each of his distinct characters that he almost overshadows our leading lady and playwright. Director Gregg W. Brevoort deserves some credit for eliciting superb performances from his cast, given the slight material.
One aspect of the staging was a bit awkward, with our leading lady all but grunting as she shifted a central, padded bench set-piece around the stage that seems unnecessarily weighty given its apparent need for mobility. The remaining sets of solid-looking, semi-arch shaped ‘brick’ walls, designed by Keith Mitchell, served their purpose.
While mildly amusing, Hendy’s play doesn’t offer much that is revelatory about a Catholic woman’s guilt, sexual repression, conscience-wrestling and ultimate sexual liberation. But it does provide some funny and poignant scenes and proves a pleasant diversion.
The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity
4252 Riverside Drive in Burbank,
Runs until Sunday, March 6, 2011
Wed.—Sat. at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm
Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission
$29.50 – $32.00
Purchase tickets here or call (818) 955-8101
Some Like It Freaky By Christine Palau In writer-director, Adam Neubauer's play, MELODRAMA, which runs through March 12 at Zombie Joe's Underground, John (Robert Walters) suffers mild bouts of hysteria after his father's death a couple years earlier. His inept struggle to find his dad’s assassin lends itself to a deluge of perversity and high-jinx. Part musical, part sitcom, it's the quintessential, self-conscious, Valley romp that both haters and 818-ers are sure to get a kick out of. It's Weho Meets Noho...with a dash of Chatsworth.
The GROUP rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre’s 37th season begins with a welcome addition to the NoHo Arts District theatre scene of THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL by Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Price-winning dramatist and Oscar-winning screenwriter. This is a beautiful, compassionate play with memorable performances about a small fictional Texas town called “Bountiful”, the childhood home of Carrie Watts.
Pre 20th century, the horse, unlike the dog, was man's most vital companion. Travel, simply getting around, would have been practically impossible without the horse. Today we tend to forget that fact and also tend to overlook the genuine beauty of this most precious animal. Now in a spectacular show - no,event - Normand Latourelle, creator of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, brings man and horse together in a breathlessly singular way in Cavalia.
Yafit Josephson gives an accomplished performance in her solo show about a Jewish actress facing down Hollywood's cultural stereotypes. It's marred only by a poorly designed slideshow. Josephson slips easily into various personae, combining characters with caricatures to good comedic effect. The opening has her switching from a formidable military officer to her nervous young self on her first day of compulsory military training in the Israeli army. Highlights include a hilarious mime sequence where she uncomprehendingly attempts yoga and another scene where she gives a goofy impression of a macho guy in an Israeli nightclub. Josephson's tall, slender build, piercing eyes and chiseled face lend her a commanding presence, but it's her prominent proboscis that relegates her to the usual gamut of villainous roles, from terrorist to evil witch - "And no, they didn't have to use a fake nose," she jokes. Her adult journey takes her from the New World back to Israel, where she touches base with her culture, returning to Hollywood with newfound strength of character. Beneath the comedy lies a serious undercurrent stemming from the ongoing war in the Middle East: Land equals identity.
By Pauline Adamek
The Troubadour Theater Company, led by writer-director-star Matt Walker, is back at the Falcon Theatre for its annual Christmas show. This time, it's the nativity story set to 18 of Billy Joel's songs.