Review: “Silence! The Musical” at Ray of Light Theatre

For 20 minutes, Silence! The Musical is the funniest musical ever written. The delirious and relentless parody of the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs coasts by on its plethora of references to indelible Academy Award-winning feature along with gently poking fun at Jodie Foster and company, conjuring up a fair share of belly laughs, including a moment featuring the most disgusting and screamingly funny usage of silly string imaginable, before completely running out of gas. After that, the evening commits the worst crime imaginable for comedy: failing to make the audience laugh. Continue reading “Review: “Silence! The Musical” at Ray of Light Theatre”

For Viewing: “Submissions Only”

Submissions Only is one of my favorite TV shows, despite the fact that it never aired on television. It’s not exactly riveting drama, but it’s fun and quirky and it actually achieves some accuracy in what it’s like to be a working actor in New York (I’m looking at you, Smash). The whole series is on YouTube, but here is the first episode:

Review: “Isaac’s Eye” at The Custom Made Theatre Co.

San Franciscan theatergoers have a unique opportunity right now: Lucas Hnath, a major up-and-coming playwright whose first play premiered in just 2012 and will make his Broadway debut this spring, has not one but two productions of his plays running right now, both playing until March 11th. The Christians at the San Francisco Playhouse, which I reviewed here, is an absolutely first-rate night of theatre, both in play and production, and if Isaac’s Eye, which is currently running at the Custom Made Theatre Co. (just a block away), isn’t quite as good, one should not be discouraged in the slightest from going to see it, both as a highly interesting and entertaining night of theatre and as a perfect way to gain an introduction to a playwright who, this reviewer truly believes, will eventually be considered one of the most important voices of his generation. Continue reading “Review: “Isaac’s Eye” at The Custom Made Theatre Co.”

Review: “A Thousand Splendid Suns” at American Conservatory Theatre

A Thousand Splendid Suns, currently being presented at the American Conservatory Theatre, is a major theatrical event no matter how you slice it. Khaled Hosseini’s 2007 novel was a major literary sensation, the follow up novel to the 2003 cultural event that was The Kite Runner and a New York Times #1 bestseller for fifteen weeks after publication. It is therefore automatically of note that the first major adaptation is being presented not on Broadway, but in San Francisco, where it is running until the end of February. Not having read the novel, I cannot speak to its quality, nor can I speak to how well playwright Ursula Rani Sarma has adapted the material for the stage, but I can say with some assurance that A Thousand Splendid Suns simply doesn’t work as a piece of stagecraft, being both overly-melodramatic and unfortunately shallow, despite good intentions. Continue reading “Review: “A Thousand Splendid Suns” at American Conservatory Theatre”

Review: “Hand to God” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

From it’s original incarnation in 2011 to the 2013 MCC production to the original Broadway run, critics seem to almost unanimously agree about one thing: Hand to God is absolutely hysterical. With a humor style a few shades darker than pitch black and a plot structure of pure insanity, it’s hard to walk away from Hand to God doing anything but clutching your aching belly from laughing so hard. What many critics didn’t always pick up on, however, was Hand to God‘s surprisingly enormous sociological implications and thematic sweep, which elevates the unassuming play from a typical comedy to a genuine modern day masterpiece. Continue reading “Review: “Hand to God” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre”