TAGGED WITH BITTER LEMONS IMPERATIVE

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Groundlings' Action Playset is a Mixed Bag

The venerable Groundlings have launched a new sketch comedy review, utilizing seven regulars (Matt Cook, Allison Dunbar, Chris Eckert, Heidi Gardner, Ryan Gaul, Patty Guggenheim, Greg Worswick) culled from its 27-member Main Company, helmed by Groundling alumna Holly Mandel. Following the well-worn path of interspersing prepared sketches with audience-suggested improvisations, opening night proved to be a mixed bag, featuring an array of inspired playlets, some pedestrian fare and a pair of woefully undernourishe...
8048353

"Good People" Lacks "Fuse" But Abounds In Acting Talent

Post cards from home. That’s the feeling one derives from David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” now at the Hudson Theatre.But before going into that aspect, let’s talk actors.There are, in case you never noticed, a gazillion of them in L.A. One result of this fact is known as the actor-driven production, and this staging has the feel of one to me.Now at the low end of such undertakings you have “vanity-productions” which tend to be...
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Psst. 20 Bitter Lemons Reviews Have Been Pre-Purchased for the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival (Don't Tell Anyone).

Oh, the horror! Oh, the humanity! Oh, the convenience! Theater critics getting paid! Theater companies paying to be reviewed! People getting quality coverage! Transparency bordering on exhibitionism! Me shouting! Where and when will it all end?Well, not here and not today.That’s right, folks, that dastardly, paradigm-bending, appearance-of-impropriety-inducing Bitter Lemons Imperative (BLI) continues to clank along – and has been clanking...
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"The Big Snake" is Hard to Swallow

As ambitious as its title, The Big Snake or How I Got Eaten Alive on National Television and Lived to Tell About It! is writer/director Tom Cavanaugh’s attempt to sen...
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This "Virgin" Puts Out

In the 2006 film, The Holiday, Cameron Diaz says to Jude Law at the end of a romantic afternoon, “Sex makes everything complicated. Even when you don’t have it, the not having it makes things complicated.” Those words certainly characterize the experiences of one 30-year old virgin who tells her own complicated story in How to Be a Virgin (in 12 morally ambiguous steps).Playwright Carla Neuss lays it all out there in this autobiographical two-hander, starring Katelyn S...
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This Updated "Cyrano" Gets a Good Jump but Loses the Race by More than a Nose

It’s a play whose time has come: An updating of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac in which the educated but less-than-gorgeous Cyrano is transformed into a yo...
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"Hello Susanna," Your Dead Ancestors Want More

Susanna Leonard’s solo show, Hello Susanna, starts with a Facebook post to acknowledge an ending and ends with a blessing to declare a beginning. As the newly-divorced young woman struggles to make sense of her life, she looks to her ancestors for guidance, finding it in her Aunt Clara’s memoir and a visit from the ghost of her great, great grandmother, Anna Ruth.From them, she hears stories of how they overcame challenges in the old country, where starting over was a fact of life. P...
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You Win Some, You Lose Some, in Love and "War Stories"

According to the website DiscoverLosAngeles.com, there were 4 million people living in the City of Los Angeles in 2015. If you add all of LA County, the number grows to 10.1 million. That’s a lot of hearts falling in and out of love at any given time.In Sarah Kelly’s new play, War Stories, we meet four of them: Chelsea (Sarah Schreiber), an actress constantly attracted to catastrophe; Sam (Clayton McInerney), a writer whose motto is ‘never fall in love with an actress’; J...
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This "Wheel" is Missing Too Many Spokes

Writer/Director Brandon Beck has divided this supposed cautionary dystopian excursion into mankind’s dubious future into two sections. Part One offers a thematically jaundiced glimpse into a theme park universe envisioned and ruled over by megalomaniac Herman J. Weintraub (played to the basso profundo hilt by Sokratis Frantzis). The fictional Weintraubsylvania, in West Nyack, New York grotesquely exaggerates the sins of today’s monumentally overpriced and suffocatingly overproduced mega theme parks, w...
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"Porn Rock: An Unintentional Comedy" - Intentionally Explicit

In 1985, the Parent’s Music Resource Committee put together a list of songs they dubbed the Filthy Fifteen for what they said contained explicit lyrics unsuitable for children. Among them were Prince’s “Darling Nikki,” Judas Priest’s “Eat Me Alive,” Mötley Crüe’s “Bastard,” Madonna’s “Dress You Up” and the song that would become their poster child for attack, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sist...