For all the latest new theater reviews and stage listings, see below.
Our list of the top 10 plays in 2013 is this week's theater feature.
This is the last posting of Stage Raw at this location. Watch for Stage Raw in February at www.stageraw.com. For more information, feel free to contact me.
Happy New Year.
NEW THEATER REVIEWS, scheduled for publication Dec. 27, 2013:
GO: BOB BAKER'S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR What would Christmas in the City of Angels be without the seasonal magic of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater? This year's holiday special showcases the theater's universe of colorful, exquisitely designed puppets. Guests are invited to accompany the Merlin-esque Wizard of Fantasy and his traveling companion, Demi Star (who also sings a fetching version of “When you Wish Upon a Star”), as they take off on a journey with a crew of 100 “helpers” to revel in everything from the eight days of Chanukah to a memorable stop in Santa's Workshop. For the uninitiated: The show takes place in a large, carpeted room with chandeliers, immense red curtains and lots of space for the little ones to take a front-row seat surrounding the floor/stage, where they can interact with the puppets. Variety is the operative word here, and it applies to the puppets as well as to the astonishing assortment of costumes they wear. The puppeteers show complete mastery of the art, and they know how to entertain the little people. It's also loads of fun for the grown-ups, who will be tickled at the messy chatter of overstimulated kids and sounds of innocent laughter. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 1345 W. First St., dwntwn.; Tues.-Fri., 10:30a.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Jan. 5. (213) 250-9995, bobbakermarionettes.com. (Lovell Estell III)
THE QUEEN FAMILY'S VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL If you like your Christmas shows as twisted as a piglet's tail, this quirky tour de force is straight up your alley. In director Will Thomas McFadden's quick-witted production, it's the 33rd anniversary of the legendary Christmas telethon hosted by the teeth-rottingly wholesome Queen Family — but this year, things seem to be falling apart, with family patriarch Joe (Brian T. Finney) severely in debt to the mob, two of the sons turning gay and Grandma (Mary Eileen O'Donnell) boozing it up. Still, amidst the hideous Christmas sweaters, there are variety acts performed by a rotating cast of guest visitors and even a visit by that merry old elf (no, not Santa — this would be the child-eating demon Krampus). From a script by Speedo Belini and Shadow King (but developed by the ensemble), this show undeniably possesses charm and dark wit, but McFadden's staging is rather chaotic and unfocused. It's hard to evade the feeling that the actors are having a much better time than those of us in the audience, as we sometimes strain to follow the choppy narrative threads. Actors Gang at the Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City; Thurs.- Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 & 10 p.m. (310) 838-4264, theactorsgang.com. (Paul Birchall)
ONGOING SHOWS REGION-WIDE: