The San Francisco Playhouse, the best regional theatre company in the area, is moving up in the world. After a few years of increasingly impressive productions, finally the company is producing a major world premiere. While I am thrilled that the Playhouse has been given such an opportunity, I’m less thrilled that the play is “Seared”, the new play by Theresa Rebeck. There’s no doubt it’s the best smelling play I’ve ever seen (the show features actual onstage cooking that may have hungry audiences swooning in their seats), but its dramatic integrity is severely lacking.
Tarell Alvin McCraney is just about to become a big deal. True, his plays have been produced all around the world, including in New York, but he has remained mostly obscure. That is all going to change when the 2016 film Moonlight hits theaters, which he has written the script for, based on his own play. It premiered Telluride in September to extremely positive reviews and is tapped to be a major contender this awards season. If you want to see one of the author’s earlier works before that film hits the mainstream, Theatre Rhinoceros is producing The Brothers Size in an effective, if slightly shaky, production.
Imagine in your head the most stereotypical 21st century American play possible. That play that you just imagined Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities, a perfectly tasteful and well-assembled yet mostly unexciting family drama that was by some miracle nominated for the 2011 Pulitzer prize for drama. There’s certainly a time and a place for this kind of play, though, and if you’re in the mood for something talky and political, City Lights has mounted a knockout production of the work.
Little Shop of Horrors is a…..
Today in Ashland I saw two productions. One, a classical and polished production of a Shakespearean romance, the other a rowdy and boisterous production of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Both were very high quality and absolutely worth seeing, continuing Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s excellent reputation for interesting and high-quality productions.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in their effort to produce the entire Shakespeare canon every decade, occasionally has to dust off one of Shakespeare’s far lesser-known works and attempt to breathe some life into it for a modern audience. Timon of Athens is one such play, and while OSF’s production isn’t exactly riveting, it’s a highly interesting evening of theatre that proves that the show is more than just a curiosity.
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.
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”