Written and Contributed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On the Move

PRIVATE LIVES at Independent Shakespeare

The scene:  1950’s Acapulco.  A romantic beach side resort.  Amanda and Elyot are a divorced couple on honeymoon with their new partners.  When fate puts them in adjoining cabanas, the spark between Amanda and Elyot reignites.  Impulsively, they run off together to a Palm Springs hideaway, their new spouses in hot pursuit.  What follows is a chaotic escapade that gives this 1930 British classic a 1950’s spin.

Noël Peirce Coward sketched out PRIVATE LIVES during two weeks of convalescing from influenza at Shanghai’s Cathay Hotel and subsequently completed the play in four days. Prior to its debut at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh on August 18, 1930, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom objected to the love scene, decrying it too risqué for two divorced people married to others.  Oh, how times have changed.  Everything but the chaos.

Independent Shakespeare has certainly created a somewhat “boundless” rendition of this glittering classic that is sensibly witty though occasionally stodgy.  Risqué, however, it definitely is not.  And that might be where it falls down.  Outmoded social constructs and all that…  Less sparkle than petulance, the comedy in the second act bakes like a fallen soufflé – still sweet in the center, but no lift.  Still, David Melville delivers a respectably amusing performance as Elyot, even working overtime as an island unto himself. The play remains true to form however, if not thoroughly exciting in the hands of director, Nikhil Pai.

Read my full review at Broadway World.

BATTLESONG OF BOUDICA at the Hudson Theatre

School of Night is presently remounting its 2022 Hollywood Fringe award-winning epic about the 61 A.D. Iceni Queen who after being brutalized by the invading Romans took on the empire by rallying all the tribes of Britannia to take her country back.  While Boudica’s true history is impressive, truly extraordinary is that her story has survived and the fact that School of Night was able to create an intelligent and follow-able narrative for the stage about it.

Listen to the audio review here.


This world premiere will immerse you … inside the uterus! 

Menstruation: A Period Piece is an ensemble-driven, bold musical that theatricalizes the menstrual cycle with a queer love story at its center and told through the cells of the body. Claire is desperate to figure out if a lesbian period is the ultimate lesbian tragedy. Emily, a hormone inside her body, decides to take matters into her own hands. In a comedic, musical, and poetic rendering of the menstrual cycle, Claire and Emily leap between the living room, the uterus, the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes to test the limits of love, the limits of the body, and the limits of what any single organism can accomplish alone. 

It’s unfortunate that some productions don’t have a longer time to show themselves off.  This outrageously designed, exceedingly well-choreographed and staged, and rather perfectly executed hyper-musical was not properly presented to the Los Angeles public.  Big Little Theater Co, We The Women and Los Angeles LGBT Center all collaborated to highlight the humiliation, guilt and doubt piled upon women who either cannot or do not want to have a baby – x2 if you’re queer.  In this case, it begins with Claire a thoroughly logical and self-confident lesbian feminist, whose world is suddenly turned inside out by another woman who at a very public event, leans into the stigma with an extra helping of MAGA-level shaming ideology about it. The experience starts a chain reaction within Claire that causes her to question everything about herself to the point of near self-evisceration, until…her lover thoughtfully and thankfully steps in.

Written by Miranda Rose Hall. Produced by Camille Jenkins and under the direction of Katie Lindsay with music by Tova Katz, and featuring (in alphabetical order) Kaci Hamilton, Audra Isadora, Kate Lý Johnston, Jane Hae Kim, Jo Lampert, Bibi Mama, and Marnina Schon.

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