ARSENIC AND OLD LACE

The Brewster Sisters are at it again, bumping off their elderly male lodgers in the name of human kindness, in Odyssey Theatre Ensemble’s delectably performed, gorgeously designed intimate revival of Joseph Kesselring’s 1941 Broadway hit Arsenic And Old Lace.
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TROUBLE IN MIND

Pioneer African-American playwright Alice Childress takes a surefire theatrical genre (the backstage comedy à la Moss Hart’s Light Up The Sky or Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo) and transforms it into an examination of mid-20th-century race relations in Trouble In Mind, every bit as relevant at Theatricum Botanicum in 2017 as it was in its 1955 off-Broadway debut … and every bit as hilarious as it is thought-provoking.
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WELCOME TO THE WHITE ROOM

Theatre Of NOTE welcomes a generation raised on virtual reality to Theater Of The Absurd with the West Coast Premiere of Trish Harnetiaux’s overly cryptic but still mostly quite engaging Welcome To The White Room.
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KING OF THE YEES

Chinese-American playwright Lauren Yee pays affectionate, rib-tickling, ultimately quite touching tribute to her dad Larry in King Of The Yees, a Center Theatre Group World Premiere now both delighting and illuminating audiences of all racial-ethnic-cultural persuasions at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
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WELCOME TO YOUR ALTERNATIVE REALITY

Open Fist Theatre Company gives late-night-TV-style sketch comedy an entertaining go in Welcome To Your Alternative Reality, a more-hit-than-miss collection of Trump-era-inspired sketches that could stand a trim but serves as an often quite funny showcase for company members in SNL-meets-MadTV mode.
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LETTERS FROM A NUT BY TED L. NANCY

Despite its inventive multimedia staging and Beth Kennedy’s kaleidoscopic supporting turn, the Geffen Playhouse’s wacky, wispy Letters From A Nut By Ted L. Nancy, even at a mere sixty-eight minutes, runs about half-an-hour too long, and with full-price tickets going for as much as $85 a pop, anyone minus money/time to burn would do better to order a copy of Nancy’s book from Amazon where used copies start at fifteen cents.
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CRIMES OF THE HEART

The Mississippi Magrath sisters have set up housekeeping at Long Beach’s International City Theatre with all their quirks and charms and ups and downs intact in the best of the seven productions I’ve now seen of Beth Henley’s crowd-pleasing down-home comedy gem Crimes Of The Heart.
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THE MONSTER BUILDER

A topnotch cast attack The Monster Builder with gusto, but a rather creepy lead character and a bit too much of the quirky and bizarre make Amy Freed’s South Coast Repertory World Premiere satire of architectural pretention more miss than hit despite occasional forays into the weirdly hilarious.
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