Review: Custom Made Theatre Company presents “Cloud 9” (****1/2)

by Charles Kruger The prolific Caryl Churchill has been delivering plays for five decades, often in association with London’s Royal Court Theatre, known particularly as an incubator for writers. An unabashedly political playwright, Churchill is known for her surreal explorations of themes related to feminism and colonialism. Skilled in comedy,  she delivers jokes that thrust […]

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Review: The Phoenix Arts Association Presents Members of the Actors’Theatre of San Francisco in Brian Friel’s ‘Faith Healer’ (****)

by Charles Kruger Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer,” the story of an itinerant mountebank, Francis Hardy, who might, indeed, be gifted with the power to heal by faith, his wife Gracie, and his producer/manager Teddy is told in a series of dramatic monologues, and is considered to be an exceptional challenge for the actors. Indeed, it […]

Review: SF Opera presents Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel & Gretel’ Performed in English (****1/2)

by Charles Kruger Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel & Gretel’ is the perfect operatic example of a one hit wonder. Humperdinck is known for nothing else. So what? ‘Hansel & Gretel’ is a marvel, an opera so popular that it has been in performance, without interruption, and no lag in reputation, for more than a century. The […]

Review: Bay Area Premiere of Mickle Maher’s “There Is A Happiness That Morning Is” presented by Performers Under Stress (*****)

by Charles Kruger New York theatre gives us Broadway, and the best of commercial theatre, and the great American Musical, and a whole lot of other good stuff, but Chicago gives us . . . the alternative. Better theatrical minds than mine have tried to parse the differences between theatre as it is in the […]

Review: Puccini’s ‘Manon Lescaut’ at SF Opera (***)

by Charles Kruger Lianna Haroutounian as Manon and Brian Jagde as the Chevalier des Grieux in SF Opera’s production of Puccini’s first great success, “Manon Lescaut.” Photo Credit: Cory Weaver/SF Opera. Much less familiar than Puccini’s “big three” masterpieces (La Boheme, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly), Manon Lescaut was the composer’s first great success. The story […]