Every January, Little Fish Theatre rings in a new season by offering “Pick of the Vine,” a program of short plays. This is my third year sampling the harvest, and this is easily the best I’ve tasted, highlighted by strong notes of humor and feeling. While previous years may have been weighed down by too much goofiness and too little variety, among the nine plays comprising this year’s Pick of the Vine are several that delve beneath the surface.
Anton Chekhov (d. 1904) occupies an odd historical space. During his lifetime he was on theater’s cutting edge with his idea of subtext, a convention that reflects the aspect of human interaction where what is happening emotionally is not always explicit. But for all that modernism, Chekhovian dialogue sounds more archaic than stylized to our ears.
I’m not easily won over by musicals, which certainly didn’t dispose me to love Long Beach Playhouse’s production of Cabaret. On the other hand, I’d never seen any version of this Kander and Ebb classic, which means Long Beach’s longest-running theatre company was not going to have to suffer a comparison with Bob Fosse’s Oscar-winning film adaptation and Liza Minelli’s career-defining performance.
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Selecting a term
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