Crit­ics’ Choices

Los Angeles Times - - The Guide -

Becky’s New Car Fe­lic­i­tous wit and ex­is­ten­tial ache drive Steven Di­etz’s com­edy of man­ners, which speeds by on plucky charm. The won­der­ful Joanna Daniels makes a de­light­ful hero­ine, her col­leagues uni­formly solid. This hy­brid screw­ball-ro­man­tic ve­hi­cle is smoothly en­joy­able ride (D.C.N.). Pa­cific Res­i­dent The­atre, 703-707 Venice Blvd., Venice. To­day, 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends next Sun. $20-$25. (310) 822-8392.

Bed­room Farce Alan Ay­ck­bourn’s droll 1975 study of mar­i­tal dis­ar­ray turns on pop­ulist re­gard, which pro­pels its as­sured Odyssey The­atre mount­ing. Di­rec­tor Ron Bot­titta wisely keeps this souf­flé in pe­riod, and his play­ers form a first-rate en­sem­ble. (D.C.N.). Odyssey The­atre En­sem­ble, 2055 S. Sepul­veda Blvd., West L.A. To­day, 2 p.m. $25-$30. (310) 477-2055.

The Glass Menagerie As Amanda Wing­field, Ju­dith Ivey mag­nif­i­cently in­car­nates this dis­traught and de­ter­mined South­ern mother mak­ing a last-ditch ef­fort to get her grown chil­dren onto a path of re­spectabil­ity and se­cu­rity af­ter a long de­tour of fam­ily hard­ship. Gor­don Edel­stein’s pro­duc­tion takes some bold in­ter­pre­tive risks, es­pe­cially with Patch Dar­ragh’s Tom, a portrayal that height­ens the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal di­men­sion of Ten­nessee Wil­liams’ drama. The stag­ing takes the play­wright at his word that this is a me­mory play. But what makes the work live again in all its hu­mor and heart­break is Ivey’s lu­mi­nous per­for­mance (C.M.). Mark Ta­per Fo­rum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. To­day and next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $20-$65. (213) 628-2772. La Razón Blin­dada (The Ar­mored Rea­son) This funny, har­row­ing play by writer-di­rec­tor Aris­tides Var­gas, who fled his na­tive Ar­gentina in the 1970s and whose own brother was im­pris­oned and tor­tured un­der that coun­try’s bru­tal dic­ta­tor­ship, is writ­ten from the deeply per­sonal per­spec­tive of one who has suf­fered un­der a sys­tem gone mad. Var­gas’ story of two po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers who es­cape into the world of Cer­vantes’ “Don Quixote” is an oc­ca­sion­ally di­dac­tic but

deeply hu­man­is­tic play with over­tones of Kafka and Beck­ett that il­lus­trates, quite heart­break­ingly, the hu­man im­per­a­tive for con­nec­tion (F.K.F.). Pre­sented in Span­ish with English su­per­ti­tles. 24th Street The­atre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A. To­day and next Sun. 3 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $24. (213) 745-6516.

Love, Loss and What I Wore Nora and Delia Ephron’s stage adap­ta­tion of ll­lene Beckerman’s sweet sar­to­rial mem­oir is an evening of mono­logues. Noth­ing too de­mand­ing here, just the kind of af­firm­ing chick out­ing that makes you want to rip off your Spanx and have an­other Cosmo (C.S.). The cur­rent cast fea­tures Maria Con­chita Alonzo, Jami Gertz, Jenny O’Hara, Harriet San­som Har­ris and Chris­tine Lahti. On Thurs­day, the show con­tin­ues with JoBeth Wil­liams, Glenne Headly, Edie McClurg, Erica Ash and Winslow Cor­bett. Au­drey Skir­ball Ke­nis Theater at the Gef­fen Play­house, 10886 Le Conte Ave., West­wood. To­day and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Thu.Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 24. $69-$74. (310) 208-5454.

Misal­liance Like their cre­ator, Ge­orge Bernard Shaw’s char­ac­ters are blessed with the gift of scin­til­lat­ing gab. The talk that con­sti­tutes “Misal­liance,” now re­ceiv­ing an at­trac­tively mounted pro­duc­tion cour­tesy of di­rec­tor Martin Ben­son, is like a river over­flow­ing its banks. This highly in­tel­lec­tu­al­ized ro­man­tic com­edy, filled with sur­real events that only ac­cel­er­ate the chat­ter, may not rep­re­sent the play­wright at his most dra­mat­i­cally re­ward­ing. But only a true comic vir­tu­oso could pro­vide such in­tel­li­gent wit (C.M.). South Coast Reper­tory, Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Cen­ter Drive, Costa Mesa. To­day and next Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 10. $20-$66. (714) 708-5555.

Neigh­bors Bran­den Ja­cobs-Jenk­ins’ provoca­tive, highly the­atri­cal play takes a sit-com set-up — an as­pi­ra­tion bup­pie em­bar­rassed by the ghetto ways of his new black neigh­bors — and spins it into an al­ter­nately fierce and ten­der med­i­ta­tion on the co­nun­drum of race and role-play­ing. Messy, bold, desperately funny and deeply felt. For ma­ture au­di­ences (C.S.). Ma­trix The­atre, 7657 Mel­rose Ave., L.A. To­day and next Sun., 2:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; ends Oct. 24. $25. (323) 960-7774.

Opus The Foun­tain The­atre scores with its brisk and en­ter­tain­ing stag­ing of Michael Hollinger’s in­side look at the pas­sions and be­tray­als within a string quar­tet. (C.S.). Foun­tain The­atre, 5060 Foun­tain Ave., Hollywood. To­day, 2 p.m. $25-$35. (323) 663-1525.

Par­adise Park Charles L. Mee’s ab­sur­dist com­edy re­ceives a break­neck, breath­tak­ing L.A. pre­miere at City Garage, the com­pany’s fi­nal out­ing in its al­ley space. Di­rec­tor Frédérique Michel’s sig­na­ture blend of loopy and sar­donic is on full dis­play, de­signer Charles Dun­combe turns spe­cific col­ors and iso­lated el­e­ments into pure ethos, and the cast is ter­rific. To miss this rep­re­sen­ta­tive vale­dic­tory is un­think­able (D.C.N.). City Garage, 13401⁄ 4th St. Al­ley, Santa Mon­ica. To­day

2 and next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Nov. 7. $25. Pay what you can on Sun­days. (310) 319-9939.

Ru­ined Grip­ping, sus­pense­ful and oc­ca­sion­ally har­row­ing, Lynn Not­tage’s Pulitzer Prize-win­ning drama, which be­gan as an adap­ta­tion of Brecht’s “Mother Courage and her Chil­dren” set in the Congo, has more light­ness than one might ex­pect from a saga about a group of women bru­tal­ized by war who have found a kind of sanc­tu­ary in a brothel. Di­rected by Kate Whoriskey, the pro­duc­tion has the lively tempo and many of the same cast mem­bers of the Man­hat­tan The­atre Club pro­duc­tion. The dra­matic sit­u­a­tion is grimly chal­leng­ing, but this is ul­ti­mately a story of re­siliency and the heal­ing po­ten­tial of com­mu­nity (C.M.). Gef­fen Play­house, 10886 Le Conte Ave., West­wood. To­day and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Tue.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $65-$85. (310) 208-5454.

The Tam­ing of the Shrew Fetch­ing leads Jonno Roberts and Emily Swal­low bring real chem­istry and imag­i­na­tive em­pa­thy to this agree­able re­vival of the Bard’s un-PC crowd-pleaser, cre­at­ing a gen­uine ro­mance that car­ries the show. (D.C.N.). The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Ends to­day. $29-$67. (619) 2345623.

Yel­low “Sor­did Lives” play­wright Del Shores has been shift­ing ever more res­o­lutely from com­edy to­ward drama. Still, his new tale will knock many fans off their bear­ings. Emo­tion runs high in this look at a per­fect fam­ily that faces tests of faith, in many senses of that word (D.H.M.). Coast Play­house, 8325 Santa Mon­ica Blvd., West Hollywood. To­day and next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Oct. 17. $54-$60. (800) 595-4849.

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