Saturday, July 29, 2017

Terrific productions fight summer blues -- hot theater, cool diversions

NorthCoast Repertory Theatre ends its 35th season with a bang.
"At This Evening's Performance" is a thoroughly likeable tale about a troupe
of actors in a Soviet bloc-like police state, struggling to make magic on stage.
Cygnet Theatre's acclaimed production of
"Animal Crackers" offers unadulterated fun.


and theater marketing departments

NOTHING LIKE a couple hours in an air-conditioned theater, with plenty of laughs and revelry to beat the heat and tickle the funny bone.
We've seen a satisfying medley of prize-winners this week, so we sing the praises of tasty theatrical confections here in southern California.
For me, theater is not just an idle pastime.  It is my life blood.  Since I harmonized with my late sister, Peny, in "Count Your Blessings" as a three-year-old in a small Montana town, I was hooked.
When I was a teen-ager, our family re-enacted the Covent Garden scene in "My Fair Lady," -- the scene in which Professor Higgins first lays ears on Eliza. ("Buy a fl'aar off a poor gil.") Never mind that my mother cast me as Col. Pickering. My sister Peny, tall and willowy and a lyric soprano, made a lovely Eliza and brother Rick was the eccentric Henry Higgins.
"At This Evening's Performance" is held over at NorthCoast
Repertory Theatre in Solano Beach, north of  San Diego.
Image result for cygnet theater san diego photos animal crackers
As the hilarious Captain Spaulding,Josh Odsess-Rubin brings down the house
in Cygnet Theatre's rollicking performance of "Animal Crackers."
THIS WEEK'S theatrical outings took us to a refreshing NorthCoast Rep production of "At this Evening's Performance," by Nagle Jackson. A crackerjack cast play the denizens of a touring theater troupe in a corrupt 1970s Soviet-era police state.
We've never seen a less than stellar performance at this North County gem, and the tradition continues with this delightful, fast-paced production, set in "Strevia," in two dressing rooms.
The acting is top drawer, the set delightfully detailed (as always in this charming, small venue). It's a play for theater goers, who know the language and can recognize and appreciate the spoofing yet reverential nature allusions to the stage. The play is held over through Aug. 13.
Terrific acting and deft direction keep the laughs coming
in NorthCoast Repertory's "At This Evening's Performance."
IN SAN DIEGO'S Old Town, Cygnet Theatre, get ready for wickedly witty, magnificently costumed Marx Bros humor with "Animal Crackers," loosely based on the laugh-a-minute Broadway musical and film with the Marx Bros and Margaret Dumont.
Sean Murray's talented stable of actors delivers brilliantly.  Not a weak link in this stellar cast, with cameo numbers for each actor, from the fabulous "straight woman" Dumont character, to a wonderfully rendered Harpo, a sterling pair of scheming social climbers and several multiple-role scene stealers.
YOU'LL BE amused at Mrs. Rittenhouse's posturing, and Captain Spaulding is superb -- all in fabulous costumes.  Harpo's delightful miming and Zeppo's stooge exhibit the troupe's tremendous energy. This tap dancing kid was thrilled at the impeccable specialty numbers and there are sight gags, generous ad libs and athletically rendered physical bits. Top it off with Groucho's insoured ad libs and you'll be engagingly entertained.
The production is light on its feet -- and the ensemble work cohesive and admirable. As veterans of many performances -- on both sides of the footlights -- we salute the Sunday matinee production, the first of two that same day.
The play runs through Aug. 13.

AT THE OLD Globe, "Guys and Dolls" is selling out its smashing production of this mid-century American classic. The can't-miss score of Frank Loesser songs includes “Luck Be a Lady,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Sue Me” and more. A top-drawer ensemble tells the sassy Runyon stories. in a whiz-bang production.
The Old Globe's "Guys and Dolls" is delightfully
rendered with snappy choreography and lavish costumes.
"Evita" comes soon to San Diego Repertory Theatre. Sam
Woodhouse, Rep founder, directs a much heralded production.

COMING NEXT: Summertime and the living is easy. These lines from another famous musical, are perfectly tuned for our photo essay of an easy-going summer idyll in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana.  Join us for a serene look at life along the West Fork of the Stillwater River in Big Sky Country.

AND DON'T NEGLECT San Diego Musical Theatre, for lively productions of mostly vintage works. SDMT's "Damn Yankees" in May was a stellar production and you'll enjoy sitting in the historic Spreckles Theatre, or the inviting house at Horton Grand. Always a treat to visit the best of Broadway in top-notch SDMT shows.
THERE'S MORE: If you have yet to see "Buddy:  The Buddy Holly Story" New Village Arts in Carlsbad, it is as high energy treat. And coming soon to downtown San Diego, a much heralded production of "Evita."
Plus don't overlook the brilliant and caring works at Intrepid and Diversionary theaters.


  1. Aussie Theater LoversJuly 29, 2017 at 12:05 PM

    Wow. Lucky you two. Wish we were there....did catch the Globe musical and Cygnet, both delightful.

  2. You two see more plays in a week than we see all year. Setting an energetic pace to be sure. Happy continued adventures.