Britain’s Sir Alan Ayckbourn is the best at his craft since Sir Noel Coward — the problem is that the era he chooses to reflect doesn’t always define the grit of day that Coward faced. Despite that, his ‘How the Other Half Loves’ holds water, as North Coast Repertory Theatre’s current turn illustrates.
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New Village Arts’ ‘Men on Boats’ features more than a female cast. It sets a certain bar for the availability of material regardless of gender — and as important as that is, the production values don’t hurt, either.
‘Love Never Dies,’ the sequel to the all-time great ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ makes a worthy spectacle. In fact, it does everything a spectacle should do — except one.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy died young, and his obsession with communist infiltration probably stoked that. The Roustabouts Theatre Co.’s good ‘A Jewish Joke’ reflects McCarthyism’s repercussions — but, like McCarthy, it’s missing a few of its marbles.
There’s a universe of forces for good in daily life, and playwright Steven Dietz says most of them go over our heads. North Coast Repertory Theatre’s excellent mount of his ‘This Random World,’ and his own deft and user-friendly hand, combine to show us he’s right.
The era of female empowerment begs the question of its relative quietude over thousands of years. MOXIE Theatre’s current ‘Bliss (or Emily Post Is Dead!)’ has the right idea in addressing it — but some see-saw dialogue and an enormous directorial oversight knock it off balance.