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January 28, 2014

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - ROBUST & ROLLICKING





JERUSALEM

PHOTO: JESSICA PALOPOLI 


THE BRITISH INVASION 

Into the woods is where we go. There is Johnny "Rooster" (Brian Dykstra), a local feisty wanted man. The cops want to serve him an eviction notice. That doesn't seem to bother Johnny, the opinionated eccentric teller of improbable stories - puts on Grand and drunk parties anyway. He gets a big supply of drugs - and even gives some to under-age kids. 

The Air is full of cigarette smoke (Pot). They roll around the garbage in the middle of a pleasant area, but don't breath the air. His motley crew hangs around the great trees. And there is a whimsical elderly professor (Richard Lewis James) that spouts philosophical nonsense. He is the funniest guy on the stage, and James is Glorious Fun. First Rate!  

There is a young teen, who has been hiding in a sofa bed. Very clever. Who would have thought that someone could hide in a sofa bed with people sitting on top of you. Well, it sure is not part of "The Royal Court". It scared the hell out of me. Don't get frightened by the ribald insane people on the stage. The ribald humour never stops. And that is somewhat of a problem. It goes on just a little bit too much in this defiant man that thinks he is King of the Jungle. Well, in the end -- his snickers get pulled right off of his butt. 

Jerusalem (the Play) by jez Butterworth opened at the downstairs theatre of the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2009. It's run was extended and from there it dragged its motley crew to other Theatres around the world. 

'Rooster' is the daredevil and tells his bunch of drunken young people of all the great things he has done. He's a modern day Pied Piper that just can't wait for someone to kick his butt around. He has a young son. Rooster hardly ever see's him except at a Carnival. His dad gives him a couple of gifts and off the kid goes on. 

Yes Sir - the preacher of the play is a drug dealing alcoholic who thinks of himself as a noble hero. His so called love of his estranged son, provides a refuge for abused teens. 

Unfortunately the overwhelming unpleasantness quickly alienates the audience. Getting water on people in the first row was not funny. Maybe it was a mistake. 

There is much to talk about this play in the woods. Sure -- it has Englands charms in many ways -- But England is not so green and not so 'pleasant land'. 

The play is way to excessive. Three Acts sort of wear people out. As they might say in Enland - "It's not my cup of tea." However, some (especially) hippies will find it to be divine. 

The play has received rave reviews around the world. And it has been a hit in many countries. 

THE SUPERB ACTORS ARE: Julia Belanoff, Ian DeVaynes*, Joe Eslack, Richard Louis James, Calum John, Riley Krull, Maggie Mason, Ian Scott McGregor*, Aaron Murphy, Paris Hunter Paul*, Christopher Reber*, Joshua Schell, Devon Simpson, and Courtney Walsh.  As far as the Actors go -- They have all hit high careers - nothing quite like it!

BY:  Jez Butterworth
Directed By: Bill English 
(still the master of his craft) 

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!***(stars) 



(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he as produced and Hosted a long-running Arts segment and Radio show on PBS KQED-7 years))) 






THE BRITISH INVASION 

Into the woods is where we go. There is Johnny "Rooster" (Brian Dykstra), a local feisty wanted man. The cops want to serve him an eviction notice. That doesn't seem to bother Johnny, the opinionated eccentric teller of improbable stories - puts on Grand and drunk parties anyway. He gets a big supply of drugs - and even gives some to under-age kids. 

The Air is full of cigarette smoke (Pot). They roll around the garbage in the middle of a pleasant area, but don't breath the air. His motley crew hangs around the great trees. And there is a whimsical elderly professor (Richard Lewis James) that spouts philosophical nonsense. He is the funniest guy on the stage, and James is Glorious Fun. First Rate!  

There is a young teen, who has been hiding in a sofa bed. Very clever. Who would have thought that someone could hide in a sofa bed with people sitting on top of you. Well, it sure is not part of "The Royal Court". It scared the hell out of me. Don't get frightened by the ribald insane people on the stage. The ribald humour never stops. And that is somewhat of a problem. It goes on just a little bit too much in this defiant man that thinks he is King of the Jungle. Well, in the end -- his snickers get pulled right off of his butt. 

Jerusalem (the Play) by jez Butterworth opened at the downstairs theatre of the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2009. It's run was extended and from there it dragged its motley crew to other Theatres around the world. 

'Rooster' is the daredevil and tells his bunch of drunken young people of all the great things he has done. He's a modern day Pied Piper that just can't wait for someone to kick his butt around. He has a young son. Rooster hardly ever see's him except at a Carnival. His dad gives him a couple of gifts and off the kid goes on. 

Yes Sir - the preacher of the play is a drug dealing alcoholic who thinks of himself as a noble hero. His so called love of his estranged son, provides a refuge for abused teens. 

Unfortunately the overwhelming unpleasantness quickly alienates the audience. Getting water on people in the first row was not funny. Maybe it was a mistake. 

There is much to talk about this play in the woods. Sure -- it has Englands charms in many ways -- But England is not so green and not so 'pleasant land'. 

The play is way to excessive. Three Acts sort of wear people out. As they might say in Enland - "It's not my cup of tea." However, some (especially) hippies will find it to be divine. 

The play has received rave reviews around the world. And it has been a hit in many countries. 

THE SUPERB ACTORS ARE: Julia Belanoff, Ian DeVaynes*, Joe Eslack, Richard Louis James, Calum John, Riley Krull, Maggie Mason, Ian Scott McGregor*, Aaron Murphy, Paris Hunter Paul*, Christopher Reber*, Joshua Schell, Devon Simpson, and Courtney Walsh.  As far as the Actors go -- They have all hit high careers - nothing quite like it!

BY:  Jez Butterworth
Directed By: Bill English 
(still the master of his craft) 





Courtesy Photo 






THE PAIN AND THE ITCH - "EXPLOSIVE!" 
by Bruce Norris 

O.K. here's the deal. "The Pain" may seem like a pain -- but the Technique draws dramatic tension. However this well constructed dysfunctional family is the most laughter you will find anywhere. 

Sure - there is anger. Lots of it. The way I see it - is that all of the actors in this play will all be big stars. Everyone will be talking about them. Everyone I talk too tell me about the impact it has on "The Pain". And that impact is like a Tornado. 

What we find is that this is a middle class couple goes to any lengths to keep the house in a blissful way. But things do not go on like you were ready to play house. To the contrary -- the house is about to explode. I can't imagine finding a theater group who would take this shouting self-hating gang. 

Yeh - they may all be related in this way or that -- but this angry family is headed for hell. They all seem to hate each other, and they bring out more anger motivation. 

The only one in the family (Mr. Hadid) - Dorian Lockett sits out most of the play until the end. It's a strong ending. In between though there is plenty of hysterical, funny vicious drama. 

I loved the play. I laughed at the concept and really enjoyed it. I mean that I really, really laughed hard. It's a High Energy Concept - and I think you will enjoy this funny hilarious evening. Many people at the show were bent over with constant laughter. 



RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE*****(stars) 
RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!***(stars) 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he as produced and Hosted a long-running Arts segment and Radio show on PBS KQED-7 years))) 

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - THE BRITS INVADE



JERUSALEM

PHOTO BY JESSICA PALOPOLI 

THE BRITISH INVASION THE PAIN AND THE ITCH - "EXPLOSIVE!" 
by Bruce Norris 

O.K. here's the deal. "The Pain" may seem like a pain -- but the Technique draws dramatic tension. However this well constructed dysfunctional family is the most laughter you will find anywhere. 

Sure - there is anger. Lots of it. The way I see it - is that all of the actors in this play will all be big stars. Everyone will be talking about them. Everyone I talk too tell me about the impact it has on "The Pain". And that impact is like a Tornado. 

What we find is that this is a middle class couple goes to any lengths to keep the house in a blissful way. But things do not go on like you were ready to play house. To the contrary -- the house is about to explode. I can't imagine finding a theater group who would take this shouting self-hating gang. 

Yeh - they may all be related in this way or that -- but this angry family is headed for hell. They all seem to hate each other, and they bring out more anger motivation. 

The only one in the family (Mr. Hadid) - Dorian Lockett sits out most of the play until the end. It's a strong ending. In between though there is plenty of hysterical, funny vicious drama. 

I loved the play. I laughed at the concept and really enjoyed it. I mean that I really, really laughed hard. It's a High Energy Concept - and I think you will enjoy this funny hilarious evening. Many people at the show were bent over with constant laughter. 

RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE*****(stars) 


JERUSALEM

Into the woods is where we go. There is Johnny "Rooster" (Brian Dykstra), a local feisty wanted man. The cops want to serve him an eviction notice. That doesn't seem to bother Johnny, the opinionated eccentric teller of improbable stories - puts on Grand and drunk parties anyway. Johnny gets a big supply of drugs that obviously blow his little camp away. 

The Air is full of cigarette smoke (Pot). They roll around the garbage in the middle of a pleasant area, but don't breath the air. His motley crew hangs around the great trees. And there is a whimsical elderly professor (Richard Lewis James) that spouts philosophical nonsense. He is the funniest guy on the stage, and James is Glorious Fun. First Rate!  

There is a young teen, who has been hiding in a sofa bed. Very clever. Who would have thought that someone could hide in a sofa bed with people sitting on top of you. Well, it sure is not part of "The Royal Court". It scared the hell out of me. Don't get frightened by the ribald insane people on the stage. The ribald humour never stops. And that is somewhat of a problem. It goes on just a little bit too much in this defiant man that thinks he is King of the Jungle. Well, in the end -- his snickers get pulled right off of his butt. 

Jerusalem (the Play) by jez Butterworth opened at the downstairs theatre of the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2009. It's run was extended, and from there it dragged its motley crew to other Theatres around the world. 

'Rooster' is the daredevil and tells his bunch of drunken young people of all the great things he has done. He's a modern day Pied Piper that just can't wait for someone to kick his butt around. He has a young son. Rooster hardly ever see's him except at a Carnival. His dad gives him a couple of gifts and off the kid goes on. 

Yes Sir - the preacher of the play is a drug dealing alcoholic who thinks of himself as a noble hero. His so called love of his estranged son, provides a refuge for abused teens. 

Unfortunately the overwhelming unpleasantness quickly alienates the audience. Getting water on people in the first row was not funny. Maybe it was a mistake. 

There is much to talk about this play in the woods. Sure -- it has Englands charms in many ways -- But England is not so green and not so 'pleasant land'. 

The Show is way to excessive. Three Acts sort of wear people out. As they might say in England - "It's not my cup of tea." However, some (especially) hippies will find it to be divine. 

Around the world there has been rave reviews - in many other countries. 

THE SUPERB ACTORS ARE: Julia Belanoff, Ian DeVaynes*, Joe Eslack, Richard Louis James, Calum John, Riley Krull, Maggie Mason, Ian Scott McGregor*, Aaron Murphy, Paris Hunter Paul*, Christopher Reber*, Joshua Schell, Devon Simpson, and Courtney Walsh.  As far as the Actors go -- They have all hit high careers - nothing quite like it!

BY:  Jez Butterworth
Directed By: Bill English 
(still the master of his craft) 

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!***(stars) 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED RADIO - 7  years)))

January 22, 2014

THE PAIN AND THE ITCH - "PERFECTION


Courtesy Photo 


THE PAIN AND THE ITCH - "EXPLOSIVE!" 
by Bruce Norris 

O.K. here's the deal. "The Pain" may seem like a pain -- but the Technique draws dramatic tension. However this well constructed dysfunctional family is the most laughter you will find anywhere. 

Sure - there is anger. Lots of it. The way I see it - is that all of the actors in this play will all be big stars. Everyone will be talking about them. Everyone I talk too tell me about the impact it has on "The Pain". And that impact is like a Tornado. 

What we find is that this is a middle class couple goes to any lengths to keep the house in a blissful way. But things do not go on like you were ready to play house. To the contrary -- the house is about to explode. I can't imagine finding a theater group who would take this shouting self-hating gang. 

Yeh - they may all be related in this way or that -- but this angry family is headed for hell. They all seem to hate each other, and they bring out more anger motivation. 

The only one in the family (Mr. Hadid) - Dorian Lockett sits out most of the play until the end. It's a strong ending. In between though there is plenty of hysterical, funny vicious drama. 

I loved the play. I laughed at the concept and really enjoyed it. I mean that I really, really laughed hard. It's a High Energy Concept - and I think you will enjoy this funny hilarious evening. Many people at the show were bent over with constant laughter. 



RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE*****(stars) 

January 15, 2014

LEE HARTGRAVE TONIGHT - "PARDON MY INVASION"



By Joy Cutler. Courtesy Photo 

JOY CUTLER'S 'PARDON MY INVASION' 
WILL TAKE YOU ON A BODY SWAPPING 
COMEDY TRIP 

This play is perfect for San Francisco. Where else can we find a soldier that inhabits the body of a teenage girl. Her mother is a pulp fiction writer, who like most writers, is torturing herself on the typewriter as she blazes along the stage in this fantastic black comedy. The story lines are all about gender identity that bring the world into a war -- and a teenager that believes that a good looking male soldier has taken over her persona. Is it real, or is it a horror story? 

This odd ball comedy will keep your eyes wide awake. Believe me! And wait until you see "Honey Babe" on the stage. Her overwhelmed bust keeps falling out of her dress. Yep, she's a "hot number' that's for sure. 

The Players smartly sneak up on you! And...oh yes - there is a lot of sultry words. It surely is a play for adults only. There are many "F Words" -- and tons of 'laugh a minutes' and below the belt saucy talk.

At times it is a little hard to understand what is going on. But eventually you get it. I did. And if I did you will too, as you get into the notably nuanced words. It sure as hell commands more than a kind of awe. It's extraordinary. Yes, I'll tell you the truth -- it is Deliciously unsettling and addictive. Joy Cutler's writing succeeds with High-Energy. I can't wait to get home to a Hot Tub to cool me down. 

STARS ARE BORN: Here they are: Sondra Putnam, Marissa Keltie*, John Flanagan*, Randy Blair, Juliet Tanner* and Marie Shell* (*Member Actors' Equity Association)  Now Playing at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason Street, San Francisco. Plays thru Feb 2nd. 

Directed by Joe Weatherby. Brisk Weather Productions Presents. And Equity Approved Project. 

RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!!!

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook. He also produced a long-running Talk Show Segment on PBS - KQED (7-years) 
*****

MY OPINION 

YOU WANNA SKIP A SHOW? O.K. - just skip the play - "Major Barbara". The play has been done before as a movie - (It was only a little over one-and a half hours.) It was also done as a TV Movie that lasted about the same (Great). That you can bear. However - three hours is way to long to sit through that much non-sense at A.C.T. Especially in the second act.  

There were not enough laughs to keep people from falling to sleep. Now playing at A.C.T. on Geary Street. The Cast scores -- the show doesn't. RATING: Two Stars** 

January 7, 2014

ON LOCATION - GANTS AMAZING FEATS




AMAZING FEATS OF LONELINESS 

This is strange. I mean really, really strange. Is it a scary, freaky show that is on the road. However, the play has many good things about it. The best part of Gants Comedy is a mixture of much melodrama. You must really delve into the darkness of the night to appreciate this stage play. Some people in the audience did get the humor. Even I broke a smile know and then. 

There is the kind of Ring Master who sneaks around the room. He gets to play some extraordinary tricks along the way. One minute the cast is in front of us -- then someone pops up in the back of the Theatre. Yes, I would say that he is very lonely. 

The clowns are interesting, and the characters have free rein from comedy to gentle and then go from love unusual outrageous toys to a creepy bear. This kind of physical comedy brings out wildly funny performances to many.  

Not quite The Phantom of the Opera - but close. We do get to see a lot. There is some wonderful musical moments that I totally enjoyed. The Actors were fabulous. They worked really hard to bring out the show glitz. But maybe lost love and loneliness may not be as wildly funny as I had hoped. The ending kind of losses the power, but there still is much whimsy to enjoy. Near the end of the show -- I began to fall off the Radar.  

HERE ARE THE PERFECT STARS: Ryan Drummond* - Brian Herndon* - Patrick Kelly Jones* and Sarah Moser. (They all play various roles).  

THE SET DESIGN IS BY THE AMAZING NINA BALL** 

Shotgun Players presented Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced and had a long running Arts Segment on PBS - KQED - 7 years)))





January 6, 2014

ON LOCATION - AN ENTERTAINMENT: SONDHEIM MUSIC AND LYRICS -GANTS AMAZING FEATS

Courtesy Photo: Bill Fahrner - Rudy Guerrero




ROAD SHOW 


HOW TO INHERIT A FORTUNE

This musical play rips around and under, in the breaking tunnels you've been dreaming about. And most of it involves money. You're rising everything. Men wear flashy clothes, that bring good news. The performers are just what the audience has always wanted - you don't even need to make a trip to the top of the Blarney Castle. You made it to the top already -- and you appreciate your powers. As one singer says: - "It's in your Hands Now" -- Also love the song "Gold" -- it's the glittering stuff that really matters. Then there is "You" - Where have you been all my life?

John Fisher's direction gives a pre-eminent best show of our time. Sondheim has brought a rich and varied tuneful score to the stage. The play rales along rapid quirks with unexpected ways that leave me exhausted.

ROAD SHOW EXPOSES SOME DARKNESS among the many comic possibilities -- I laughed almost non-stop. The audience is bound to run quickly to this Sondheim Gem. I sure as hell will. Again!

The show has gone through some changes around the world. That was then. This version is so beautifully sung and played that you want to here it again and again. There is Gold on that stage. One brother knows how to get it and the other brother? -- Well -- he is just a bad boy.

This version now playing at the Theatre Rhino (At the Eureka Theatre) just grows richer. It grew from Sondheim's Bounce to the newly and refreshed "Road Show". The score is not just good -- it is a damn good one.

ROAD SHOW: Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman. Directed by John Fisher.

Orchestrations by Johnathan Tunick. Musical Direction by the wonderful Dave Dobrusky

THE AMAZING TALENT CAST: Michael Doppe, Bill Fahrner*, Rudy Guerrero', Kim Larsen, Justin Lucas, Kate McCarthy, Ae'Jay Mitchell, Kathryn Wood, Sarah Young, and Everyone else on the stage. The Greatest performances for the year!

RATING: FIVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE*****


AMAZING FEATS OF LONELINESS 

This is strange. I mean really, really strange. Is it a scary, freaky show that is on the road. However, the play has many good things about it. The best part of Gants Comedy is a mixture of much melodrama. You must really delve into the darkness of the night to appreciate this stage play. Some people in the audience did get the humor. Even I broke a smile know and then. 

There is the kind of Ring Master who sneaks around the room. He gets to play some extraordinary tricks along the way. One minute the cast is in front of us -- then someone pops up in the back of the Theatre. Yes, I would say that he is very lonely. 

The clowns are interesting, and the characters have free rein from comedy to gentle and then go from love unusual outrageous toys to a creepy bear. This kind of physical comedy brings out wildly funny performances to many.  

Not quite The Phantom of the Opera - but close. We do get to see a lot. There is some wonderful musical moments that I totally enjoyed. The Actors were fabulous. They worked really hard to bring out the show glitz. But maybe lost love and loneliness may not be as wildly funny as I had hoped. The ending kind of losses the power, but there still is much whimsy to enjoy. Near the end of the show -- I began to fall off the Radar.  

HERE ARE THE PERFECT STARS: Ryan Drummond* - Brian Herndon* - Patrick Kelly Jones* and Sarah Moser. (They all play various roles).  

THE SET DESIGN IS BY THE AMAZING NINA BALL** 

Shotgun Players presented Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced and had a long running Arts Segment on PBS - KQED - 7 years)))













    

















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