Blog Theater Reviews

Theater Review of Before with Pat Kinevane

Here is my review of Before, written and performed by Pat Kinevane, which I saw at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble this weekend with my live-in girlfriend, Kayla.

The Good: It’s impressive that Pat can perform non-stop, all on his own, for nearly two hours, and I really liked how sparse the setting was… the stage is a cavernous empty black space (with only a few items like shopping bags, a pair of shoes, a table). The storyline was interesting enough with some plot twists that were extreme. Several of the songs were very funny, like “anything can happen in a musical” and one song about tinder (using only blue light from two smart phones which was cool to watch).

The Bad: Though I liked many of the songs, I also felt they were overall confusing and did not match the tone of the show and storyline. The songs were disjointed with the storyline. I found the female department store narrator/voiceover odd, especially when she went from making general department store announcements to swearing directly at the character.

The Ugly: I sat in the front row, which is 100% not the right move for this show, since Pat routinely comes right up to the front row and invades the audience’s personal space. It’s very stressful and intense, because I was seriously worried that Pat would interact with, yell, and/or accidentally spit on me. Examples of this were:

  • A man in the front row, a few seats to my left, was muttering in the beginning of the show and walked out because his personal space was continually being invaded.
  • A woman named “Jessica” was very aggressively called out by Pat for using a phone, and it was intense and uncomfortable to watch. Phone use should not happen, but where is the line on calling this behavior out… I’m on the fence.
  • An elderly woman was called out by Pat for sleeping… felt way too aggressive.
  • Also another older woman was called out for fidgeting with her purse in the front row… yikes.

The Summary: I really liked sparse set and one-person performance, because it must be such a challenging undertaking. I would have liked a happy ending since the rest of the show was very dark and depressing. All-in-all, it was a lot of tension and extremely uncomfortable to experience the call-outs.

Rating: 1/5 – Extremely uncomfortable to experience.

By David Bramante
December 1, 2019

Blog Theater Reviews

Theater Review of Key Largo with Andy Garcia, at the Geffen Playhouse

Yesterday I watched Key Largo with Andy Garcia, at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood Village and here is my quick review:

The Good:

  • The Geffen Playhouse is a really beautiful theater, and the set design for Key Largo was incredibly detailed (intricate woodwork, including the doors and windows). The set design and effects were great. All of that combined with the with the backdrop of rain and thunder was very nice.
  • Andy was the reason we went to see the show, mainly because we just re-watched Ocean’s 11 and he’s always a strong actor. I think he played his character really well and commanded the stage, moving the story along nicely.
  • The Singer: The supporting female actor was a good character and interesting to watch. I would have liked a more dramatic singing performance from her though (like Mulholland Drive’s Opera Singer Scene with dim lights, sounds from a bygone performance – clinking glasses, clapping, big bang support) AND then Andy could have said “no drink” to that… instead of “wrong song”. The effect might have been more powerful, like wow, this guy really is a total asshole (which was the point of that interaction anyways).

The Bad:

  • The overall story and acting were a bit boring, or maybe that was all good but the pacing was a little too slow? I’m not sure…
  • The Soldier: All in all, the soldier character and his back story were boring and unlikable. I thought he was a terrible “hero” for the storyline. I was wondering why was so hung up about the death of his soldiers in Italy, when he specifically told them there was going to be a bomb raid. He left with that info and should have a clear conscience on that part, since the rest of the squadron stayed in spite of his warnings… didn’t make sense.
  • The Widow: This character was very unbelievable and a little hollow. Her big reveal… that she married a soldier after only knowing him 24 hours instead of the stated 2-days really wasn’t as dramatic as was maybe expected. Either way, whether it was one hour or two days, she didn’t know her husband at all. I was wondering… why not have a cover story of “we were high school sweethearts” but then the big reveal is she married to get out of town, to do her duty or even because she wanted money…

The Ugly: I felt Andy might have been a little unnecessarily physical/sexual with the lead female actor. It felt out of place for the vibe of the show.


3/5 Stars — It was a good show overall, and I don’t regret going. The set was awesome, but the story and acting were mostly boring.

By David Bramante (with Kayla Jane)
December 1, 2019