Review: “The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident” by Barry Eitel, presented by Faultline Theatre

Something wild and wonderful is happening in San Francisco right now. It goes by the name of The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident, and it’s an absolutely unmissable night of theatre. It’s impossible to say if you will actually like the play—it’s far too strange to be everyone’s cup of tea—but you owe it to yourself to see it with your own eyes. Love it or hate it, you certainly will not be able to forget it.

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Review: “City of Angels” at the San Francisco Playhouse

Few genres of movie went out of style as quickly as noir. Ushered in with the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca and proving to be one of the most popular genres with audiences, the last recognizable entries in the genre were in 1959. Though it’s doubtful many modern audiences have watched a true film noir from start to finish, the imprint that these films left on the public consciousness can not be erased. City of Angels, a musical from 1989, was written specifically to parody and comment upon the generally vague concept of noir that audiences have. It’s not a wholly successful show, mostly because noir tropes just don’t translate to live performance, but it is unlikely that you will ever get to see a better production of the show than the one currently running at the San Francisco Playhouse, which continues the company’s legacy of extremely high quality live theatre in the best way. Continue reading “Review: “City of Angels” at the San Francisco Playhouse”

Review: “La Cage Aux Folles”, presented by Bay Area Musicals

La Cage aux Folles was as timely when it opened as shows like Hamilton are today. Despite the show’s old-fashioned sensibility and slightly drippy sentimentality, it celebrated being gay at a time when gay men were dying by the thousands due the AIDS epidemic, all while their own government refused to even acknowledge them. This was a panic-stricken time in New York’s history, and La Cage was so vital because it clung to a sense of desperate optimism at a time when many felt that it would be impossible to be optimistic ever again. Modernity has brought with it an acceptance of the gay-rights movement, so the show has lost its edge, but that does not mean that its boundless joyfulness can not still resonate with audiences. Thankfully, that spirit is still very much alive in Bay Area Musicals’s production of La Cage Aux Folles, which is highly entertaining, if rather pointedly imperfect.

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Thoughts On: Movie Musicals

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Wicked was officially coming to theaters in 2019, with Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) set to direct. For many fans of the show, this was exciting news, with the movie having been teased for years. The musical movie itself appears to be having a bit of a renaissance, with Into the Woods and Annie being recent examples and about a dozen more in the pipeline, including adaptations of Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, In the Heights, and West Side Story (directed by Steven Spielberg with a new screenplay by Tony Kushner). All these new movies may be great news for the vitality of musical theatre, but I remain unconvinced that modern movie musicals ever actually work artistically. Continue reading “Thoughts On: Movie Musicals”

Read This: Hangmen by Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh is a master of the morbid farce. In his world, a slammed door can kill you, the vengeful lover is never ultimately harmless, and victims, er, characters don’t slip on banana peels so much as they do on blood and guts. But the audience is usually laughing all the way to the end, leaving the heavier moments of the play to stew in playgoers minds long after they go home. Which is why it is surprising to report that McDonagh’s new play Hangmen actually becomes rather heavy before it ends, but is no less finely wrought than his emotionally detached work that readers may be accustomed to. Continue reading “Read This: Hangmen by Martin McDonagh”

Thoughts On: Live-streamed theatre

On June 30th, BroadwayHD broadcast the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of the 1963 Bock and Harnick musical She Loves Me to anybody who had paid the $9.99 fee and had a working internet connection. This stream was the first of its kind and has been very well received by those who have seen it, but it raises some interesting questions about the relationship between theatre and the internet in the near future. Continue reading “Thoughts On: Live-streamed theatre”