By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation
Pulp got its due with Bart DeLorenzo’s psychologically voluptuous staging of this story -- written by Robert David MacDonald, based on James Hadley Chase‘s novel -- about Depression-era outlaws ransoming a kidnapped heiress. As, respectively, the story’s heartless gangster matriarch and her sentimental lieutenant, actors Pamela Gordon and Mickey Cottrell shone in this bleak diorama of greed and human bondage.
The Greeks: The CursedThe Blessed, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Director Ron Sossi‘s ambitious undertaking paid off big-time in a two-evening, six-hour production of 10 Trojan War plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. John Barton and Kenneth Cavander’s adaptation employed spare but fluid language, while Sossi‘s sensitivity to the works’ gender themes, and the committed ensemble‘s respect for the plays’ gravity, ensured that these timeless tragedies would be available to a new generation of theatergoers. At least during 1999.
Shakespeare‘s Villains, Odyssey Theater
Trust writer-performer Steven Berkoff to present an engaging lecture on stage evil, based on the Bard’s bad guys (among whom he counted Hamlet), while delivering dishy comments about the state of British theater -- at the expense of Sirs Laurence Olivier and Ian McKellen, among others. Mixing malevolent satire with social commentary, Berkoff‘s evening was simply one of the year’s great solo shows.
Aliens in America, Tiffany Theater
With this latest monologue (actually, three of them), writer-performer Sandra Tsing Loh created her most intricate and, dare we say, revealing memoir to date. The evening covered growing up with an idiosyncratic Chinese-immigrant aerospace engineer father and a happy-time German mother who had a flair for storytelling and a reverence for musk perfume. Loh‘s own storytelling prowess was honed to perfection, producing that rarest of autobiographical shows, a confession free of recrimination or guilt. Director David Schweizer worked wonders and Jason Adams’ drolly “oriental” set balanced the needs of kitsch and function.