Theater Reviews

Here at News From The Pollywog Cafe, you will find a quick and easy way to find and check out local plays in and around the L.A. area. Below you will find some of our favorites and some not so favorites. No need to read those long rambling reviews, or a re-telling of the story – and you don’t have to worry about spoilers. We just get to the point so you can get to the play if it’s one not to be missed.

Since we grew up in the City of Los Angeles, we rate the plays by the grading system used by the Los Angeles Unified School District in the 1960’s and 70’s (maybe they still use it.)

We grade: the story, writing/script, the production value, and the acting.  So an “A” is outstanding; “B” is good; “C” is average; “D” needs to improve” and “F” is, well, fail (or forget it).  We will also use pluses (+) and minuses (-) as appropriate just like they used in school.  Also, we may also use “E” for excellent; “S” for satisfactory; and “U” for unsatisfactory which they used, in addition to the other letter grades, in the report cards for junior high (that’s what they called it before “middle school”).

We admit that we are tough theater critics but hey, L.A. is one of the entertainment capitals of the known world and we know you want to keep it that way. We are experienced theater goers and have seen theater all over the world, including other renouned theater districts like New York City and London.  And our tickets are never “comped” nor are we ever paid for our reviews so you know that they are honest and real.

So here are some plays that we’ve seen – they are not ranked in any particular order. Look through them all and if you see one, let us know what you thought. Check back often for the latest and greatest reviews:

  1. Heisenberg by Simon Stephens; with Denis Arndt and Mary-Louise Parker. This is currently playing at the Mark Taper Forum, Center Theater Group (CTG) at the Los Angeles County Music Center. CTG only tells us
    Heisenberg
    Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles County Music Center, 
    Cast List:
    Mary-Louise Parker
    Denis Arndt
    Written by: Simon Stephens

    “Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, Georgie spots Alex, a much older man, and plants a kiss on his neck. This electric encounter thrusts these two strangers into a fascinating and life-changing game.”

    Our ranking:  Story: A; Writing: A+ (Simon Stephens also wrote the adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which ran on Broadway and is coming to L.A. very soon); Production: A (simple and very effective); Acting: A+ for both Arndt and Parker – they are brilliant.  We obviously loved this play and it’s one of our favorites at the Forum this year.  Don’t miss it and try to sit on stage if you can for an even more interesting and up close and personal experience. Although there really are no bad seats at the Forum.