ASR Theater ~~ Let The Right One In – Adolescence Can Bite

By George Maguire

Take a bullied 12 year old boy, a bizarre female (or not) new neighbor, and tense and bloody serial killings in the town and you have the ingredients for a biting new play from the National Theatre of Scotland being presented at Berkeley Repertory Theater in its American cast premier.

Based on the novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and stage adapted by Jack Thorne, this new twist on vampire lore and teen coming of age angst is a must-see.

(clockwise from left) Jon Demegillo (Micke), Michael Johnston (Jonny), and Diego Lucano (Oskar) in the West Coast premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland production of “Let the Right One In.”
Photo by Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

12-year-old Oskar (an astonishingly gifted Diego Lucano) is a bullied, sad and lonely child living revenge fantasies among the towering birch trees looming over the town. A jungle gym on the site, which will morph in Act 2 into an astonishing school swimming pool, dominates the right of the imaginative set created by Christine Jones.

Entering with gymnastic flair is Eli, a new neighbor with an older guardian and an interest in connection. They meet, they play, they tease one another and Oskar falls in love. Eli, played with remarkable physical agility and other-worldly acumen by Noah Lamanna, presents a perfect blend of female/male he/she characteristics which both intrigue and excite Oskar.

Eli asks “Would you like me if I turned out not to be a girl?” Oskar freezes and thinks this through responding, ‘Yes…..I guess so.”

Noah Lamanna (Eli) and Richard Topol (Hakan) at work in “Let The Right One In.” Photo by Kevin Berne.

Add another element of suspense and possibility as we watch Diego Lucano’s brilliant work as he listens, thinks a thought through, and reacts. This is a great young actor giving a master class in honest actor reaction.

…John Tiffany directs with minute precision for details…

As we settle into our seats, we watch the small cast trundle through the falling snow and then moments before the play itself begins they exhibit a sense of danger nearby and rush off. Simple set pieces are brought on representing a bed, a candy shop, a locker room or a living room, and then a large trunk which will dominate the play as a home for our vampire heroine.

The seven-member ensemble of supporting actors populates the town as parents, police, shop owners, and of course the three bullies who taunt Oskar constantly with “Here Piggy, Piggy!” shoving him into a locker. We know his revenge will occur.

Julius Thomas III (Halmberg) and Richard Topol (Hakan) at Berkeley Rep. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Director Tiffany and his movement associate Steven Hoggett were the inspiration behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Blackwatch and the Tony award winning musical Once. Their combined sensitivity can work wonders as we watch Hoggett’s balletic movement enrich each scene with atmosphere behind and accenting the very terse script.

Olafur Arnalds and Arnor Dan Arnarson have composed a richly textured symphonic score enhanced by sound designer Gareth Fry and special effects designer Jeremy Chernick’s jolting, boo-creating shocks.

Act 2 turns the Rubik’s cube gym around and we are presented with the school swimming pool, one of the most shocking stage moments I can recall as the bullies bet that Oskar cannot hold his breath for three minutes in a pool clearly deeper than the actor’s height.

(l to r) Jon Demegillo, Nicole Shalhoub, Erik Hellman, and Jack DiFalco in the West Coast premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland production of “Let the Right One In” at Berk Rep. Photo by Kevin Berne/Berkeley Rep.

Vampire lore has been a fascination for centuries. Since Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we have seen True Blood, Anne Rice’s Chronicles of a Vampire, the teen Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers, Becoming Human and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name a few.

Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot is the hallmark of modern vampire books, combining young children with old vampire lore. As these damaged people find one another, we in the audience reflect on our own pasts, seeking revenge for wrong doings on us, anger at parental controls beyond our capability to understand, and of course trying with not much effort to hide our first hickey on the neck.

The blood and the gore of this production may not be to everyone’s taste but its relevance cannot be ignored.


ASR Contributing Writer George Maguire is a San Francisco based actor and director. and a voting member of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. He is a Professor Emeritus of Solano College. Contact:


ProductionLet The Right One In
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Directed by John Tiffany
Producing CompanyBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Production DatesMay 20-June 25, 2023
Production Address2025 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94704
Telephone(510) 847-2949
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?----

PICK! ASR Theater ~~ “Cambodian Rock Band” a Must-See at Berkeley Rep

By Barry Willis

Human history is an appalling parade of atrocities. Warfare is among the worst recurring nightmares, but perhaps even worse are purges within one nationality or ethnicity when large swaths of the population are swept up in an insane movement to create a new society.

That’s exactly what happened in Cambodia in the mid-to-late 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge took over the country, hell-bent on eliminating the past, to such an extent that they called the date of their takeover “Year Zero.” And as always happens when zealots gain control, they rounded up Cambodian intellectuals, academics, trained professionals, artists, and musicians with the intent of eliminating them.

Inspired by the communist takeover of Indonesia in 1965 and the Chinese cultural revolution—the “Great Leap Forward”—the zealotry of the Khmer Rouge was so extreme that anyone with knowledge of a foreign language, or even wearing eyeglasses, was suspected of being a subversive and a class enemy. Approximately 25% of Cambodian’s population perished in what was called the “Super Great Leap Forward”—a genocide perpetuated by their own countrymen.

…superb actors, dancers, and musicians—a stunning assortment of stage talents…

That’s the background of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through April 2. The interlocking core stories include a musician named Chum (Joseph Ngo) held in the notorious S-21 prison—really an extermination center where of approximately 20,000 prisoners, only seven or eight survived—and his return in 2008 to see his American daughter Neary (Geena Quintos), there working with a multi-national investigative group. There are also tangential references to ethnic animosities among Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Thai people.

The depiction of life in S-21 is lengthy and grim (set by Takeshi Kata) but book-ended by upbeat rock music, much of it derived from L.A. band Dengue Fever. The show opens in the mid 1970s with Chum’s band finishing their first album in a studio in the capital city of Phnom Penh, an effort that runs so late that they can’t escape approaching Khmer Rouge troops.

The band at work in “Cambodian Rock Band” at Berkeley Rep. Photo: Berkeley Rep.

It closes with a rousing performance in the present by the same band—Ngo on guitar, Moses Villarama on bass, Jane Lui on keyboard and backing vocals, Geena Quintos on lead vocals, and Abraham Kim on drums.

They’re all superb actors, dancers, and musicians—a stunning assortment of stage talents. Prolific actor Francis Jue is outstanding as the MC, narrator, hyper-kinetic lead performer, and as the despicable head of S-21.

Francis Jue at work at Berkeley Rep. Photo: Berkeley Rep

The net effect for an audience is that Cambodian Rock Band is a sugar-coated historical horror story—the sugar coating being the opening and closing rock performances that help viewers forget their immersion in misery. Yee’s beautifully conceived and realized message is that art and music have power to transcend savagery.

We can only hope.

There’s widespread belief that Cambodian Rock Band originated at Berkeley Rep. In fact, the show has been performed many times over the past four years. Ngo and Villarama have performed in several productions. The set at the Roda Theatre was built at Berkeley Rep and will travel when the show goes on tour. However that plays out, Cambodian Rock Band is a fantastic spectacle and one of the most compelling productions so far this year.


Barry Willis is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and president of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. Contact:



ProductionCambodian Rock Band
Written by
Lauren Yee
Directed byChay Yew
Producing CompanyBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Production DatesThrough Apr 2nd, 2023
Production Address2025 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94704
Telephone(510) 647-2900
Tickets$49 - $123
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?YES!

PICK! ASR Theater ~~ Compelling, Controversial “Wuthering Heights” at Berkeley Rep

By George Maguire and Barry Willis

Writer/director Emma Rice has deconstructed one of the most beloved English novels of the 19th century and has remade it into a pop-rock extravaganza, delighting some critics and outraging others. Her Wuthering Heights runs at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through January 1, 2023.

Traditionalists expecting a stage production of the dark 1939 film starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier are likely to be disappointed. This frenetic, high-energy show is geared to a younger generation with a different aesthetic, but it can work equally well for those not necessarily tethered to the past. Innumerable classic stories have been reinvented for the sake of stage and screen entertainment. There’s certainly no reason why Wuthering Heights shouldn’t suffer the same fate, just as Hamlet can be reinterpreted as a modern business drama, or Romeo and Juliet reconfigured as a rock opera.

…The movement work in this show is inspiring. So is (the) mining of humor…

Controversy swirled at Berkeley Rep’s November 22 press opener. Some critics raved to their colleagues about Rice’s stunning production while others dismissed it as an abomination. ASR’s George Maguire and Barry Willis comment here:

BW: This is an amazing, dynamic production with multi-threat performers who can act, dance, do gymnastics, and in some cases, play instruments. Especially impressive are Jordan Laviniere, who plays the leader of the Yorkshire Moors, and Leah Brotherhead as Catherine. She’s also a great rock singer. TJ Holmes, who plays Dr. Kenneth, performs on cello and accordion when he’s not stage center. He’s a delightful comic actor, one of a cast of eleven, most of whom tackle multiple roles. Theatrical talent is everywhere in this show but the multi-casting can cause confusion among viewers because most of the characters are cousins with similar names.

GM: Yeah, Barry! It is a fairly faithful adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel, and if you can stop conflating the story with her sister Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, you’re a winner. The story itself is weighted down with so many generations of relationships, and births and deaths, with eleven actors playing all the roles. It’s often highly confusing.

Leah Brotherhead as Catherine and Liam Tamne as Heathcliff in the West Coast premiere of Wise Children’s “Wuthering Heights” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Photo by Kevin Berne.

BW: I’m no Bronte expert, but it looks to me like Emma Rice has adhered to the original plot, but uses story elements and characters to create something entirely new. I’m generally approving of prequels, sequels, and reinterpretations of classic stories — with the exception of Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma!, a real horror show.

Rice’s Wuthering Heights isn’t really the Bronte classic. I attended with my friend Marcia Tanner, an art curator with a degree in English Literature from UC Berkeley. She quipped: “It’s misleading to title this show Wuthering Heights . . . it should be Something Based on Wuthering Heights.” That’s a fair assessment.

GM: My biggest challenge was not hearing the play (technically, a musical), but frankly, it was not understanding what the cast was saying and singing.

BW: That was a problem for many in the audience, I believe. Thick Yorkshire accents were tough enough to understand during dialog, and impossible to decipher during the show’s many songs. I loved the music but couldn’t tell you what any of the songs are about. Marcia astutely observed, “They need superscripts.” The only words that appear on the large backdrop are a few lines from the novel.

GM: Etta Murfitt’s choreography is wonderful and eclectic, ranging from almost hoe-down, to Irish jig, to nonspecific elegance. A lovely and diverse musical score by Ian Ross keeps the play moving. The casting of eleven very accomplished members of the Wise Children’s troupe was a joy, as was watching them effortlessly morph into the manifold characters in the novel. Heathcliff (Liam Tamne, of multi-national background) is particularly inspired casting, making the orphan Heathcliff the dark, brooding, and very sexy creature he was — unlike anyone else in the Yorkshire moors.

BW: I was knocked out by the performers and the quick-moving stagecraft, especially the rolling doors-and-windows pieces that transformed into beds and other devices. The books-on-sticks-as-fluttering-birds bit is brilliant low-cost theatricality. So are the chalkboards that serve as erasable tombstones.

GM: The movement work in this show is inspiring. So is Rice’s mining of humor — she finds comedic potential in many of Bronte’s situations, something that to my knowledge has never been done. But this Wuthering Heights is no spoof — it’s an inspired reinterpretation.

BW: Was the love affair between Heathcliff and his adoptive sister Catherine considered scandalous when the novel was published? It might be seen as close to incest today even though the two were not biologically related. Save Dr. Kenneth and the narrator Mr. Lockwood, almost all the other characters in the production are cousins, nothing unusual in an isolated community.

Jordan Laviniere as the Leader of the Yorkshire Moors; Eleanor Sutton, Katy Ellis, Tama Phethean, Stephanie Elstob, and Ricardo Castro as The Moors in the West Coast premiere of Wise Children’s “Wuthering Heights” now showing at Berkeley Rep. Photo by Kevin Berne.

GM: A community that’s cold, damp, and dark! Rice and set designer Vicki Mortimer went over the top portraying that.

BW: I had no expectations about this show, and was delighted — especially by the incredibly dynamic first act.

My only prior exposure was reading the novel in ninth grade — required reading — and having watched the movie at some point not long after that on late-night TV. The subject matter wasn’t something that resonated for me and wasn’t anything I cared to revisit.

I have difficulty relating to the social structure and morality of the time, which makes playwrights like Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekov, and their contemporaries something of a slog for me. I never liked G. B. Shaw until I saw Major Barbara, but I hope to live a thousand years without enduring another Mrs. Warren’s Profession.

But I understand the appeal of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, especially for women. In their time, the only path to a better life was through choosing the right marriage partner. Mothers often bled to death after childbirth. Infant and childhood mortality were rampant, from conditions easily treated today. This whole pathetic milieu is background for Wuthering Heights, but Emma Rice makes it entertaining and enjoyable..

GM: In all, this Wuthering Heights is a truly nifty addition to the repertoire of Wise Children, a new theatre company founded by Ms. Rice, whose group brought The Wild Bride to life at Berkeley Rep a few years ago. Imaginative, enthralling and chillingly-thrillingly theater.


ASR Contributing Writer George Maguire is a San Francisco-based actor-director and is Professor Emeritus of Solano College Theatre. He is a voting member of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. Contact:


ASR NorCal Executive Editor Barry Willis is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and president of the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. Contact:


ProductionWuthering Heights
Written by Emily Bronte
Adapted by Emma Rice
Directed by Emma Rice
Choreographed by Etta Murfitt
Saheem Ali (Conceiver/Director)
Producing CompanyWise Children / Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Production DatesThrough January 1, 2023
Production Address2025 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94704
Telephone(510) 847-2949
Tickets$24 - $119
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?YES!

Pick! ASR Theater ~~ “Goddess” at Berkeley Rep Looks Broadway Bound!

By George Maguire

Berkeley Rep’s “Goddess” opens with electrifying, high-energy afro-centric dance and music that encompass skat, jazz, and R & B, and introduces us to Moto Moto, a bar in Mombasa, Kenya. A loquacious and slitheringly sexy emcee Ahmed (Rodrick Covington) and company welcome us, the visitors, to an evening of high entertainment. “Moto Moto” means hot and fiery. Indeed it is.

Through a trio of always-present all-knowing spirits, we meet the bar’s owner Madongo (Lawrence Stallings), the snap-crackle-and-pop bar gal, Rashida (Abena), and the boy just back from Columbia University with a Poli-sci degree, Omari (the multi-talented quadruple-threat Philip Johnson Richardson). Suddenly the mood shifts from exuberant joy to a sense of fear and awe as we meet Nadira (the golden voiced Amber Iman). Nadira is the Goddess reaching into mortal elements trying to find that most human of virtues: love. Omari is smitten as she sings “That Love.” They meet and a bond of the heart begins.

…With some tweaking, this wonderful new musical should find its place on the Broadway roster of hits….

A weave of myth and legend, Nadira’s world is the African tale of Marimba, the Goddess of Music and Mother of Song. Nadira’s desire to understand the love possessed by mortals is hampered by a curse placed on her by her vengeful Mother, the Goddess of Evil—a curse that will be fulfilled should Nadira relinquish her power and attempt to come alive as human. The budding mutual passion she and Omari feel—and his own love of music (Mr. Richardson also plays a mean sax)—can only bring heartbreak.

(center) Isio-Maya Nuwere (Moto Moto Ensemble – Safiyah) (l to r) Teshomech (Grio Trio – Tisa), Wade Watson (Moto Moto Ensemble – Musa), Awa Sal Secka (Grio Trio – Zawadi), Quiantae Thomas (Moto Moto Ensemble – Amina), Zachary Downer (Moto Moto Ensemble – Sameer), Aaron Nicholas Patterson (Moto Moto Ensemble – Yusef), and (stairs) Rodrick Covington (Ahmed) in the world premiere musical production of Goddess. Directed by Saheem Ali, book by Jocelyn Bioh, music and lyrics by Michael Thurber. Photo by Kevin Berne and Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Complications ensue as Omari’s parents and fiancée have other plans for him. He is tied to the roots of family and must marry and become the Mayor of Mombasa. The talented Kecia Lewis and Kingsley Leggs as the parents, and officious Destinee Rha as the fiancée, offer Omari no alternative but to get out of his situation and back to Moto Moto and Nadira.

In the sixteen-year development of this musical, this area still needs work. We need to see and understand how Omari is torn between wanting to honor the commitment he made to them before he left for NYC and his nascent love for Nadira.

(front) Phillip Johnson Richardson (Omari) (back, l to r) Wade Watson (Moto Moto Enemble – Musa), Melessie Clark (Grio Trio – Mosi), Quiantae Thomas (Moto Moto Ensemble – Amina), and Awa Sal Secka (Grio Trio – Zawadi) in the world premiere musical production of Goddess. Directed by Saheem Ali, book by Jocelyn Bioh, music and lyrics by Michael Thurber. Photo by Kevin Berne and Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

A magnificent production surrounds the world of Moto Moto with a detailed Afro-Arabic set by Arnulfo Maldonado, luminous lighting by Tony Winner Bradley King, magnificent costuming by Dede Ayite and special mention to the sound design of Nevin Steinberg. Literally every word spoken or sung is clearly understood. Music director Marco Paguia honors Michael Thurber’s original score with joy and specificity.

With some tweaking, this wonderful new musical should find its place on the Broadway roster of hits.


ASR Contributing Writer George Maguire is a San Francisco-based actor and director and Professor Emeritus of Solano College Theatre.










Written by / Music & Lyrics by /
Choreography by
Jocelyn Bioh /
Michael Thurber /
Darrell Grand Moultrie
Directed bySaheem Ali (Conceiver/Director)
Producing CompanyBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Production DatesThrough September 25, 2022
Production Address2025 Addison Street, Berkeley CA 94704
Telephone(510) 647-2900
Tickets$38 - $104
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review Pick?YES!

ASR’s Year in Review: Our “Best of the Best” from 2019 – by Nicole Singley and Barry Willis

Better late than never, the old adage has it. Here (in no particular order) are some memorable productions from last season, a year full of four- and five-star achievements.

The Jungle (Curran Theatre): San Francisco’s renovated Curran Theatre was re-renovated for an immersive recreation of a 2016 crisis in a refugee camp in Calais, France. A huge and hugely talented multi-ethnic cast made this show last season’s most profound and moving theatrical experience. (BW)

After Miss Julie (Main Stage West): Ilana Niernberger and Sam Coughlin paired up for a thrilling pas de deux in Patrick Marber’s evocative spin on “Miss Julie,” transplanting Strindberg’s classic story to a summer night in 1945. A stunning set, great lighting, and white-hot performances brought class and erotic tensions to a boil, culminating in a seriously steamy tango scene that won’t be soon forgotten. (NS)

Rocky Horror Show (Marin Musical Theatre Company): MMTC took this Halloween favorite far over the top at the San Anselmo Playhouse, thanks to stunning efforts by Jake Gale, Nelson Brown, Dani Innocenti-Beem, Pearl Fugit and many others. (BW)

Barbecue Apocalypse (Spreckels): The laughs were served well-done in this quirky comedy, thanks to a witty script marinated in millennial-centric humor and a talented ensemble. Clever costumes, strong technical work, and excellent casting proved that all it takes to survive the end of days is a little raccoon meat and some serious comic relief. (NS)

Romeo and Juliet (Throckmorton): Mill Valley’s Throckmorton Theatre and the streets around it became Verona, Italy, in a sweetly evocative, imaginative, and fully immersive production of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy. (BW)

Sex with Strangers (Left Edge Theatre): Left Edge Theatre turned up the heat in “Sex with Strangers,” a seductive modern romance that broaches big questions about love, ambition, and the price of success in the digital era. Dean Linnard and Sandra Ish brought the story’s unlikely couple to life with electric chemistry and powerful, nuanced performances. (NS)

Incidents in the Wicked Life of Moll Flanders (Ross Valley Players): RVP gambled and won with Jennifer LeBlanc’s adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s 1722 novel. Amber Collins Crane stole the show as the lead in a compelling tale about a beautiful, quick-witted woman who rose from miserable circumstances to respectability through petty crime, stealth, charm, and unusually good luck. (BW)

Drumming with Anubis (Left Edge Theatre): Left Edge Theatre invited us along to the Neo-Heathen Male Bonding and Drumming Society’s annual campout, where a group of aging death metal fans communes in the desert to beat their bongos. Things got a little dark, a lot hilarious, and surprisingly touching when the Egyptian god of death crashed the party. Local playwright David Templeton’s brilliant new show earned a 5-star reception, featuring a phenomenal cast and beautiful scenic design. (NS)

How I Learned What I Learned (Marin Theatre Company): Director Margo Hall coaxed a tremendous performance from Steven Anthony Jones, who brought grandfatherly wit and wisdom to the role of playwright August Wilson. A master class in story-telling. (BW)

Faceless (6th Street Playhouse): Former artistic director Craig A. Miller returned to helm this riveting courtroom drama about an American teenager caught running away to join her internet boyfriend in ISIS. Razor-sharp dialogue and powerhouse performances made for an intense and memorable experience in 6th Street’s intimate studio theater. (NS)

The Year of Magical Thinking (Aurora Theatre Company): Stacy Ross glowed in a masterly solo recital of Joan Didion’s play from her book of the same name. (BW)

Home (Berkeley Repertory Theatre): In this stunning piece of performance art by Geoff Sobelle, audiences watched a two-story house materialize from the shadows of an empty stage as if by magic. A spectacle of epic proportions, this visual feast reminded theatergoers that a house is just a space in which we come together to make a home. (NS)

Fully Committed (6th Street Playhouse): Patrick Varner channeled 40-some characters in his hilarious one-man depiction of a scheduling manager at his wits’ end in a high-end NYC restaurant, at Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse. (BW)

Merman’s Apprentice (Sonoma Arts Live): Daniela Innocenti-Beem brought Broadway legend Ethel Merman back to the stage with a larger-than-life performance in this sparkling world premiere, brimming with catchy tunes and colorful humor. Innocenti-Beem and teenaged costar Emma Sutherland boast some serious pipes, which made this charming new musical all the more fun. (NS)

Mother of the Maid (Marin Theatre Company): A mother’s love and devotion were never so well depicted as in this lovely, heart-rending piece about Joan of Arc’s mother Isabelle (Sherman Fracher). (BW)

Eureka Day (Spreckels): Laughter proved contagious in Jonathan Spector’s whip-smart “Eureka Day,” pitting parents at a Berkeley charter school against each other in the wake of a mumps outbreak. An all-star cast, elaborate set design, and top-notch technical work combined to make this a 5-star production. (NS)

Cabaret (San Francisco Playhouse and Napa’s Lucky Penny Productions): Both of these productions were excellent and amazing versions of this dazzling but starkly disturbing cautionary tale. (BW) 

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Spreckels): Theatergoers were dazzled by this cleverly written and superbly acted continuation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, containing everything an Austenesque story should: delicious drama, a heartwarming romance, and an abundance of humor and witPitch-perfect direction and exemplary casting made “Miss Bennet” the ultimate holiday treat. (NS)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Curran Theatre): Nonstop high-intensity theatrical magic is the only way to describe this extravagant production, running into next July. (BW)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Spreckels): Hilarity ensued in this madcap musical about a man clawing his way to the top of the family tree. Tim Setzer stole the show as all nine members of the D’Ysquith family, all of whom meet their ends in some of the most creative and comical ways imaginable. Excellent ensemble work, cute choreography, and clever projections made this one killer production. (NS)

Barry Willis is the Executive Editor at Aisle Seat Review, a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, and president of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. Contact:


Nicole Singley is a Senior Contributing Writer and Editor at Aisle Seat Review and a voting member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Sonoma County’s Marquee Theater Journalists Association, and the American Theatre Critics Association.