Everything You Touch: Review Rundown

latimesCRITICS’ PICK: The performances, particularly of the two leads, are confident, nuanced and memorable. And the rich sensory feast Kubzansky and her team have served up — which also includes lighting by Jeremy Pivnick, sound by John Zalewski and witty props by John Burton — is a powerful reminder of why beauty, heartless though it may be, holds us in such thrall.

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la-weekly-logoGO! François-Pierre Couture’s stark white set is littered with mannequin limbs, an apt metaphor for the dehumanizing, fragmentary gaze exerted on women’s bodies by others and themselves. Kirsten Vangsness brilliantly captures the neurotic excitement of a loner beside herself in the company of Tyler Pierce’s charismatic egoist. As Louella, Amy French confronts Kate Maher’s delectable bitchiness with a wholesome equanimity.

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the stage struck review“Everything You Touch” delivers that remarkable combination of satisfaction and conversation starter that makes for one kind of excellent theater. And since shows that make you think are The Theatre at Boston Court’s bread and butter, it is no surprise that the show is being held over. The special efforts it took to make this world premiere happen certainly prove to be worth it.

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StageRawPICK OF THE WEEK …director Jessica Kubzansky gives the play an exceptional world premiere. In addition to extracting superb performances from almost all of the players, Kubzansky orchestrates her team of award-winning designers to implement tech elements that both elevate and demonstrate her deep understanding of Callaghan’s play.

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2010-08-25 THR SketchThe cast is so superb that even the omnipresent models, both real and ghostly (another echo ofFollies), stir our empathy. Vangsness, a longtime mainstay of Theatre of NOTE as well as Garcia onCriminal Minds, wrings out every potential character cliché in her deeply personal incarnation of a standard type in contemporary comedy and drama, while Pierce displays the arrogance and insecurity of a truly creative man with old-school dash, an antihero capable of both superficiality and stature simultaneously. Yet the most convincing range and layered writing are reserved for Maher’s Esme, a caricature of Manhattan bile and self-absorption who undergoes perhaps the largest odyssey of transformation of all.

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artsinlaCallaghan’s bizarre, penetratingly poetic dialogue must be a challenge for any director, which is why this play is lucky to be in the capable deft hands of director Jessica Kubzansky. François-Pierre Couture designed the stunningly sparse set, and John Burton created the Dali-like props from mannequin parts. Other design elements include wildly painterly projections by Adam Flemming; creamy yet stark lighting by Jeremy Pivnik; and an echoing, clanky sound design by John Zalewski, who also contributes a quiet but haunting original music score.

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stagescene_wowThere’s no L.A. theater quite like The Theatre @ Boston Court for challenging audiences with plays that can, when things go as right as they do in Sheila Callaghan’s initially mystifying Everything You Touch, both stimulate the brain cells and touch the heart.

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stageandcinemaSpeaking of which, at the top of the show we witness the most amusing and jaw-dropping fashion show in theater history. Jenny Foldenauer’s soon-to-be award-winning costume design echoes a style review which is read by Esme: “The gothic, the treacherous, and the peculiar.” I see the female fashions as an über-clever mash up of Star Wars, Coco Chanel, and Kink.com. Later, Foldenauer’s line of 70’s wear, which is mass produced for sale at Dillard’s, is a riotous collision of 50’s housewife, 60’s mod, and 70’s exaggerated sunniness set in rich and ghastly-but-gorgeous autumnal colors.

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lifeinlaThe hard work of Kubzansky and Callaghan along with the cast is more than evident in Boston Court’s production of Everything You Touch. The interactions between the characters flow harmoniously as does the interchangeable set in which a chorus of models are integrated into each scene as random elements of décor. In a panel discussion following the performance, the actors agreed that it was the company’s collective belief in the play that gave them the strength to undertake such an ambitious production complete with 420 lighting cues, 220 sound cues, and 120 costume changes.

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neon tommyPerhaps, when they (whoever “they” are) look back in 50 years, today’s playwriting will make sense, and playwrights like Sarah Ruhl and Sheila Callaghan will be lauded as the Tennessee Williams and Arthur Millers of their era, and I’ll be just another example of a critic who didn’t recognize that these women are ahead of their time.

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One response to “Everything You Touch: Review Rundown

  1. Pingback: Everything You Touch: Review Rundown | Tinseltown Times

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