Independent Theater Reviews for the San Francisco Bay Area

TRUSTWORTHY BAY AREA

THEATER REVIEWS

Alexandra Garfield uses her life-long love of theater, fifteen years of experience on stage and behind the scenes and two journalism degrees to bring you the best information about theater in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Recent Reviews

October 9, 2019

TheatreWorks’ newest show, Mark Twain’s River of Song,  is a laid back look at the world depicted in Mark Twain’s novels and memoirs, as narrated by the author himself. The production features three musicians on stage as part of the story who play a mix of old spirituals and new songs written for the show. Held together by only the loosest of plots, the play feels like a relaxed ride down the Mississippi River that Twain loved so much.

September 5, 2019

Overall, this is a show that I wish I could love. It’s full of great theatercraft and remarkable performances. But at the end of the day, I just can’t get over my disappointment about the way the show is written. It’s funny and entertaining, but that comes at the cost of the mystery, which ends up taking a backseat to the gags.

July 25, 2019

Funny, heartfelt and painful, The Language Archive speaks to truths that are more complex than any language can describe.  TheatreWorks is beginning its 50th anniversary season with a thoughtful show that features many of the key elements that have made this local theater company great. Unfortunately, The Language Archive also exhibits a certain degree of hopelessness which ultimately prevents this good show from becoming a great show.

June 15, 2019

Smart, moving and unexpectedly hilarious, Archduke tells the story of the three men that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, arguably sparking the conflict that became World War I.  TheatreWorks’ newest play highlights all of the reasons why this local theater was honored with a Tony Award this year.

January 22, 2019

When you think of the current political news climate, you may not immediately connect it to the 1970s. TheatreWorks’ production of Frost/Nixon will change your perspective. Despite the fact that the show was first performed in 2006 about a (then) 30-year-old event, the story feels achingly poignant to our times. The play serves to explain the psyches and circumstances that lead to the turbulent downfall of President Richard Nixon. This culminates in a show that feels like it could be easily happen in today’s world and will shock you with its timeliness.

December 3, 2018

TheatreWorks’ holiday show this year, Tuck Everlasting, is an emotional roller coaster that will force you to consider the cycle of life and death in a way that may surprise you. The showtells the story of Winnie Foster and her unusual relationship with the Tuck Family. The musical is better than I expected it to be. It stays very true to the emotional heart of the story, creating ample opportunities for both laughter and tears. The actors are all superb and the set is very well done. While the music and lyrics are good, they’re not particularly memorable. Still, the production as a whole is fun and moving with big show-stopping numbers and quieter, more emotional moments.

August 31, 2018

Sweet, hilarious and all-too realistic, TheatreWorks’ second play of the season, Native Gardens, is sure to be a smash hit.  Native Gardens is about a Hispanic couple, Tania and Pablo, who are moving into a fixer-upper house and expecting their first child. The young couple moves into a neighborhood largely populated by older white families including their new neighbors, Frank and Virginia. When Pablo invites his entire office over to their new house for a barbeque, the couple scrambles to get the backyard presentable. However things get complicated when they discover that the fence on one side of their property is two feet from the property line and the new fence needs to go right through Frank’s award-aspiring...

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