Publicist: Marcus J Freed

Jul

Solomon: King, Poet & Lover - A Comic Play About 1 Man & 700 Wives

Marcus J Freed's astonishing tour de force, Solomon: King, Poet & Lover is that rare event that fuses dramatic entertainment, humor, poetry, scholarship and a deep exploration of text into a an experience that illuminates & delights!! His acting skills are matched by his gifts as a writer."

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Jun

Loves Adventures

Loves Adventures is a beautifully-conceived Restoration comedy: in Hollywood shorthand, an “18th-Century Rom Com”. Or in this case, an 18th Century Feminist Romcom. Broads Words is a passionate company who have staged the lesser-known work of Margaret Cavendish, giving important exposure to the voice of a female playwright from the Restoration era, deftly cutting longer scenes into bite-sized chunks. Restoration Comedy was partly inspired by the idea of ‘Social Contracts' coming out of the French Revolution - the concept that we get into relationships (love, sex, marriage) but on a deeper level there is a contract between two people - e.g. the man will care for the wife, protect her and support her. Broads Words cleverly turn this on its head, showing strong powerful women who take the lead, like Esther Mira's graceful & artful performance as Lady Bashful. ‘Loves Adventures' is loosely set in the 1980s and the pre-show Britpop playlist sets the tone for an event which will be fun, upbeat & joyful. Loves Adventures is a great contribution to the Hollywood Fringe.

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Jun

Fuck Tinder: a love story

I am very glad to have caught the final performance of “F- Tinder”. David Rowdin takes you on this rollercoaster storytelling piece that leads you on an extraordinary tale of post-relationship Tinder dates, existential pain, exotic highlights and a seemingly endless array of romantic encounters. There is a spiritual message at the heart of it, as our narrator David notices how his heart is closing up through a string of emotional hurts. He then quotes the Biblical passage he'd learned at Hebrew School discussing ‘removing the covering around the heart' (literally the original Hebrew talks about circumcising or removing the foreskin of the heart). David Rodwin has a great storytelling technique that combines vulnerability, comic timing & a great selection of material. There is a tremendous pain underlying the piece as his character jumps from woman to woman in the pursuit of getting the love from the outside, although we see time and again how that love can never be found from an outside source until he learns to love himself. This means giving up on the women with low self-esteem who treat him badly and learning instead to find someone who loves themselves and has the emotional stability necessary to be part of a stable relationship. Despite the inner pain that appears to run at the core of the piece, there is a great lightness of touch and entertaining delivery, so this works well as a late-night show. The person in the audience seat next to me, slightly drunk/buzzed/high, punctuated comments throughout the performance like “true dat”, “so wise”, “yeah man I'm there”, as if to underscore that ‘F*** Tinder' landed in his heart. The spiritual quest of F- Tinder deepens amidst the story of frenzied physical lust: we hear how the narrator's yearning for creating a family is frustrated in a relationship which is purely physical, being with a partner who has no interest in having children, and David then quotes the “Shema” prayer which talks about love of God and teaching it to your children.

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Jun

There's No Place Like

The UK-based touring company Althea Theatre had a short run of performances at the Hollywood Fringe: their success with a string of bookings around California was our loss because this is a beautifully-written play and deserves a far greater exposure in the Los Angeles theatre scene. I would like to see it staged in one of the mainstream houses like the Ahmanson or Kirk Douglas - it is a beautiful two-hander that explores the concepts of home, returning to our birthplace, and creating new homes where we are. A kind of theatrical cousin to the notion of “if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with” (or love the place you're in). The two actors, Lilac Yosiphon & Sam Elwin, present beautifully understated performances, with very clear and subtle acting choices that have been refined in their years of training at top London conservatoires. Lilac is also the director & writer, a triple delight of talents that hint at her shining future ahead. She is definitely “one to watch” & deserves a place in the Hollywood Reporter-style articles of “30 Under [the age of] 30” as her writing suggests a great maturity and depth beyond her years. One dominant theme of the play is the question of identity and what is 'home' for a modern Israeli Jew. Questions about Israel are present in the vast majority of “Jewish” plays (and I use that term lightly in this context, since the action takes place in a great British pub!). Lilac Yosiphon presents a brand new take on this Israel question, playing an Israeli Jew who loves her homeland but has no plans to return, albeit partly because her character is living in England on an expired working visa, so if she goes ‘home', there is no easy way to get back to her new ‘home'. The climax of the play is a beautiful song, sung simultaneously in Hebrew and English with perfect harmony. Its haunting and melodic tune has emotional depth that leads us back to our own heart to ask “where is home for you?”. I would end the review by saying “Go and see this play” but last night was their last performance at the Fringe. Next best, look ‘em up online and watch out for their next performance in the city, or book them to come back. There's no play like it.

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Jun

WMMFEST 2017

WMMFEST is a fabulous film festival taking place in the heart of the Hollywood Fringe. We saw a great night of short movies from a range of extraordinary filmmakers – people who are talented, passionate, articulate, artistic & visionary. I'm a huge fan of We Make Movies and the way they say a full-body whole-hearted “YES!” to making films – they encourage people to make their movies, screen them, get them out there, and then make some more. I look forward to watching & participating in the stratospheric trajectory of LA's premiere Independent Movie Collective!!!

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Jun

Airplane Live!

YES!!! Airplane Live! is that rare theatrical event: tons of fun, family friendly (I could safely take my parents to it 🙂 ), sing-a-long, shout-a-long, audience response, the American equivalent of the Great British Panto. It was a great throwback to the classic airplane movie with a lot of new and updated material. Really tight, pacey direction that keeps the action moving, a lot of very well drawn characters who lead you along in the story, get you laughing, get you laughing a bit more, and suddenly the show is over and you want to keep going! Great work from the cast, really well-done direction, a Five Star experience. Highly Recommended!!!

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Jun

The Motherfucker With The Hat

YEAH! Gritty, full on, blood-sweat-and-tears-in-yo'-face-theatre!! Kickass work from the cast of MoFo W/The Hat. They work it, giving you a solid theatrical experience. This piece has depth, gravitas, grabs you by the cohones and takes you through a heart-wrenching theatrical rollercoaster of emotions. It has solid direction and a uniformly strong cast who play the junkies, abusers, abused and highly dysfunctional group of characters who are doing their best in life. The characters learn a little, grow a little, bounce around in their pain & try to better themselves. MoFo is a carefully constructed production that deserves to get an extended life. Great work!

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Jun

Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII

Excellent performances from James & the outstanding cast of Ladies in Waiting. I love the way they clearly delineate the different relationships and personalities of each of Henry's wives: every Queen is presented with beauty, grace and the drama needed to give you a multi-dimensional understanding of the challenges facing a lusty English monarch! Speaking as a native Englishman, I was particularly impressed with the quality of the English accents performed by American actors in the cast - their delivery was flawless & it leads you deeply into the Tudor court. 'Ladies in Waiting' is thought-provoking, enticing & dramatic, a kind of purgatory fantasy where the lust-filled King has to face his demons, and his beautiful ex-wives are there to present him with the opportunity to correct his ways. Bravo!

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Jun

Narcissus & Echo

So damn good. Narcissus & Echo is an Eco-musical that is breathtakingly well-directed/written by Elizabeth Lanier. It's like 'Hair' meets the environmental water crisis, set against the backdrop of post-coital Mount Olympus, replete with Ancient Greek shenanigans & mythological hi-jinks. The exceptionally well-cast actors nail it with 12-part harmonies, excellent timing & spot-on choreography. It left me yearning for more - to see a longer version, in a bigger theatre, with more set, costume & a bigger band. This is all a good thing: Lanier's production achieves great heights through creativity, tight rehearsal, strong cast and excellent writing. ‘Narcissus' is socially conscious and unashamedly funny - it has a lightness of touch and depth of feeling that elevates the theatrical form. 5-Stars & Highly Recommended!!!

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Jun

TITUS SHARKDRONICUS

Who would have thought that a Marine re-working of Shakespeare's gory classic could shed new light on the original? Titus Sharkdronicus does exactly that. From the outset it sounds silly. It looks silly. It is silly. But it works, and it gives Shakespeare scholars a run for their money, not to mention the titillated audiences who laugh through the tightly-directed hour of melodramatic Elizabethan tragedy. Fiona Austin's direction cleverly replaces two evil sons with sharks, one baddie becomes a shark man, and in addition to the laughs created by the setups, the underwater predators reveal the inner ‘sharkiness' of human nature. You get the point..but the deeper point is that she draws attention to the animalistic, predatory aspects of human nature, and in doing so we get a whole new experience of Shakespeare's minor villains. And it is fun. A lot of fun. Highly recommended!

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Jun

Pinata

Pinata is a joyful celebration of motherhood, cheap wine, social pressure, the intense social pressure to look good and the one-upmanship of childrens' birthday parties. The cast play well together with a lovely balance ensemble acting, presenting this kind of ‘Breakfast Club' for mothers who have just had enough! Pinata is the perfect night out if you're looking for a night away from the kids, and even better enjoyed if you play the ‘Pinata Drinking Game' (I just made it up), where you take a swig every time one of the characters has a drink. Cheers!

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Jun

Incantesimo

Incantesimo. Bellissimo! Take five highly talented mostly-Italian musicians & performers, put them on an intimate stage, mix it with mentalism, magic and the esoteric, and you have Incantesimo. Riccardo Berdini leads the charge with an outstandingly beautiful musical journey - he deftly engages the audience, creates a musical trance, lifts your spirits and strikes a home run with his mentalism and melodic abilities. See it!

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Jun

Human Hothouse: The Aftershow

'Human Hothouse' is a very creative journey into a future dystopian reality nightmare tv show. Fringe vet Jim Hanna has created a gripping play that takes you into the darker side of human nature, replete with comic interplay, desperately drunk on-air guests and the season finale to end all season finales. The audience laughed their way through the hour & the cast led the fun as they took us into their world. Writer Jim Hanna deals with some heavier issues through the play, such as the character of Bindi who is exquisitely played by the talented Emily Dorsett, as she displays the dark traits of human nature as a character who is anti-Semitic, murderous & relentless in the pursuit of her goal. Must-watch viewing for any fans of Big Brother & Reality TV afficionados, and a stark warning of where our reality-obsessed culture might lead! Good luck to the Human Hothouse.

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Jun

Quantum Entanglement

A sweet & charming theatrical exploration of love on the Quantum Level! Katelyn Schiller has created a beautiful & thoughtful romance that takes us into the realms of science, the universe and the human heart. The first movement of the play has an almost balletic quality about it as Payden Ackerman plays an astrophysicist exploring the nature of how our cells intertwine. "We are becoming entangled on a quantum level..it's the most romantic theory of physics". With elements of Interstellar, Tom Stoppard's scientific plays & Waiting for Godot, Katelyn Schiller takes you on a journey of human consciousness and heartfelt desire. She has some beautiful moments interplaying with the audience, displaying skilled improvisation and her warmth as a performer. Amy Shine's puppetry with the Cat was entrancing! Amanda Zarr brought a charming depth to the play as the relationships entangled as ever more deeply. Long may the quantum continue.

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Jun

Nicaea

Theatrical Brainfood with depth, breadth and commitment! A 4th-century political thriller, Nicaea is a bold & plentiful offering, refreshing for the Fringe in the way that it takes you deeply into the world of serious drama whilst maintaining a lightness of touch. The ensemble works well together and the play keeps a good pace. Nicaea has hints of Greek drama and Socratic dialogues, whilst keeping the action moving. Tricia Aurand's writing takes you deep into the arguments around the nature of God, as discussed by the early Church fathers, as she questions the Hebrew names of the Divine, "Adonai & Elohim are plural, El is singular...[why?]" - in doing so she frames the conversation of the play in the context caused rifts in the early Church, and she gets the audience thinking. The philosophical discussion is juxtaposed with interpersonal family drama, rape & incest, as early religious contractions are revealed and just desserts are served. Notable performances from Mikie Beatty, Brendan Haley, Anna Chazelle, Morris Schorr, Dontrail Brinson, Anthony Backman, Azeen Khanmalek & Kelton Lin. Wishing every success to Nicaea!

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Jun

Roughly Hamlet

Roughly Hamlet is a bold reimagining of the classic, where all of the action takes place inside one man's head. The simple and colourful costume design is reminiscent of Sir Peter Brook's famous 'Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Royal Shakespeare Company (UK) as Micah Watterson deftly switches between the entire cast at Elsinore, from Hamlet to Ghost to Laertes to Gertrude and on. Stephen Weston's thoughtful direction leads us the question the Hamlet within all of us - how we hold all the different voices of our past & present at once, where we may veer towards the edge, and how we ask the purpose of our being - to be..or not. 'Roughly Hamlet' takes you deep into the dream state, and the 'Shake the Fear' company name is a great descriptor as they open up Shakespeare to new audiences. Roughly Hamlet brings new light to an old play - maybe we were wrong about the Prince of Denmark all along. Was this one man in an asylum, imagining it all? Was Hamlet mad from the start? Get thee to a nunnery...

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Jun

Definition of Man

Beautiful! Nikki Muller & Jason Rosario deftly combine lyric poetry with physical theatre, taking you into a Dystopian future where the last two people on earth explore the meaning of love and the nature of relationships. Nikki's exquisite writing has hints of Pirandello, echoes of Beckett, and uses her wide-ranging literary and philosophical knowledge to present a script that is tight, engaging and thought-provoking. The company's ingenious use of the space lifts the production further, with a sparse, cardboard-box-floored set that contrasts the material poverty of the future world with the incredible wealth of the two characters' minds, a kind of post-Eden state where they are simply called XX & XY. 'Definition of Man' deserves a Pick of the Fringe & I look forward to seeing this dynamic company as they continue to develop their exciting artistry.

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