Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Time Stands Still" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

War photographer Sarah Goodwin (Rebecca Dines) walks heavily up the stairs and into the Williamsburg apartment that she shares with boyfriend and fellow journalist James Dodd (Mark Anderson Phillips).  They are newly home from a hospital in Germany which followed a tour as journalists in Iraq. She is seriously injured and lucky to be alive. James cares for her but there is something else bubbling under the surface, which begins to come clearer when Sarah's photograph editor Richard  (Rolf Saxon) arrives with his new girl friend, the much younger Mandy (Sarah Moser).

Sarah and James are in trouble. The i.d.e that exploded under her is only part of it.

 This Theatreworks Regional Premiere is a very good one. Dines and Phillips are excellent, but the show is in some ways stolen by Moser's Mandy. We expect her to be vapid. She is anything but. Whereas the other three share a lot of history, Mandy is a newcomer. She is unafraid to speak her mind.

Act Two wanders a bit. James and Sarah's wedding is doomed from the start. The point seems to be that people who experience the rush of combat often are unable to recreate that satisfaction anywhere else. Sadly, in our world of constant war, this is a story we already know. It is very interesting to see how Richard, who lives off people like Sarah who risk their lives to create product that Richard can sell, has become so happy with his young and innocent new love. It's a complicated story that will make you think.

RATINGS: ☼  ☼  ☼  BANG

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Time Stands Still" THREE STARS with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. Leslie Martinson's direction makes us sit still in our seats during intermission, wondering what ending can possibly tie together all these subplots. The BANGLE is for the brilliant writing as James explains how he figured out what was going on with Sarah while they were apart. These are adults here, dealing with problems few of us ever have to face.

"Time Stands Still"
Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Through September 16

Photo Credit: Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Triangle" UNRATED

In keeping with our practice of not reviewing shows in their work-up stage, we normally stay quiet after seeing them. However, we wish to alert our readers that "Triangle," a musical written by Curtis Moore, Thomas Mizer and Joshua Scher, playing for only a few performances in the Theatreworks New Works Festival, is a show you will hear a lot about.

What a cast! Bryce Ryness, Jenni Barber, A.J. Shively, Sharon Rietkerk and Kelsey Venter sing as  well as they act. The music never stops, but the best part about it is that it is original, without sloshing down into Broadway musical clichés.

Sure there are holes in the script at this point. They'll fill 'em in. Watch for "Triangle" in the future.