January 26, 1996 |
It's a highbrow premise chock-full of high-concept promise--combine the gothic brooding of "Phantom" with the fervent social conscience of "Les Miz" in a musical adaptation of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Unfortunately, the implementation doesn't make it over the professional hump. Grand ambition exceeds artistic reach in this elaborate, painfully earnest production at Culver City's Ivy Substation. Director-writer Gary B.
April 25, 1997 |
When it comes to class distinctions, nudity is the great leveler. In Britain, however, egalitarianism comes hard. Pity that a Cockney accent isn't easily stripped off. Nell Dunn's female-bonding drama "Steaming" is set in a London steam bath--a likely arena to explore just such considerations of class and circumstance.
August 16, 2004 |
For many emerging choreographers who are young and female, dance is a vehicle for self-discovery -- for understanding, that is, what it means to be young and female. But why are the results of such earnest investigations so often steeped in powerlessness? The latest example of this trend is Paula Present and her Ptero Dance Theatre's "Candle in the Sun," which on Friday opened a two-weekend run at the Ivy Substation.
October 29, 1999 |
When first published in 1939, James Hadley Chase's gangster classic, "No Orchids for Miss Blandish," pushed the envelope of propriety to a shocking degree and wound up a perennial bestseller. The 1978 stage adaptation by Scottish producer and playwright Robert David MacDonald, presented at the Ivy Substation by the Evidence Room, is more camp than cutting edge, a no-holds-barred melodrama that goes as far over the top as a vintage Cagney movie.
March 12, 1996 |
What do a Russian witch, a Colombian goddess and King Arthur have in common? They're all part of the comical "New Wives Tales," the second in a new, free series of performances by the We Tell Stories children's theater troupe at the Ivy Substation in Culver City.
April 20, 2001 |
An obscure footnote in the annals of jazz, Charlie Leeds was a brilliant bass player who sacrificed his talent to his heroin habit. After serving in World War II, Leeds returned to the New York club scene and found himself on a slippery slope leading to a lifelong addiction and a constant round of hospital stays and jail terms.
July 12, 2002 |
Cost issues have forced the Center Theatre Group to drop plans for a 100-seat stage at its proposed Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. The smaller space was to have supplemented the facility's primary 320-seat auditorium. The project, announced earlier this year, involves the renovation of the interior of the Culver Theater, a cinema that was opened in 1947, and the original plan called for the existing structure's balcony area to be used as a smaller stage.
June 15, 2001 |
"Legal Briefs" is a bill of four short plays about law. This Antaeus Company production at the Ivy Substation has some failures as well as some resounding successes. Billy K. Wells' vaudeville ditty, "The Ambulance Chaser," is a slight, throwaway piece with predictable jokes performed with over-the-top enthusiasm under the direction of Michael Clark Haney.
September 16, 2005 |
How cagey of the Actors' Gang to revisit "Blood! Love! Madness!" at its new Ivy Substation venue. Cagier still, director Brent Hinkley, some superb designers and a brilliant cast attack this 1992 omnibus of Japanese one-acts as full-scale reconception, to mesmerizing effect. The original notion -- to wed Kabuki traditions to modernist energies with a little Noh and much moxie -- remains unchanged.
June 24, 2005 |
Few plays by William Shakespeare remain as controversial as "The Merchant of Venice," which the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company clearly understands. Director-actress Lisa Wolpe and her all-female crew give the Bard's dark comic study of anti-Semitism and ambivalent romantic intrigue an invigorating boost. Wolpe aptly sets the action in 1942, with clashes unfolding amid the brick-and-marble levels and Christian icons of Katrina Coulorides' smart Ivy Substation set.