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Home / Articles / Arts / Theater /  Judgment in the name of love
. . . .
Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012

Judgment in the name of love

Reviews of Diversionary Theatre’s ‘Next Fall’ and North Coast Rep’s ‘Visiting Mr. Green’ lead our rundown of plays in local production

By David L. Coddon
theater Stewart Calhoun (left) and Mark McGrath
- Photo by Ken Jacques
At one point in Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall, agnostic Adam (Matt McGrath) opines to his devoutly religious lover, Luke (Stewart Calhoun), that judgment is such a popular pastime of Christians that they’ve got an entire day named for it. Judgment in the face of—and in lieu of—love is a narrative thread running through two reflective local productions.

In Next Fall at Diversionary Theatre, Adam feels judged not only by Luke, in spite of their five-year relationship, but also by Luke’s stern-browed father (John Whitley), and when Luke is critically injured in an accident, everyone’s love is tested. The production, directed by James Vasquez, is cautionary about small-mindedness and the fragility of life and connections. McGrath, recently seen in a much broader role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the Old Globe’s Rocky Horror Show, conveys Adam’s cynicism and hypochondria with just enough comic élan to mitigate what might have become melodrama.

Next Fall runs through March 25 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. $20-$33.

Judgment weighs heavily over relationships as well at North Coast Rep, where Visiting Mr. Green continues through March 11. In this case, a near-accident leads to a judge-imposed relationship that becomes a friendship between 30-year-old executive Ross (Craig De Lorenzo) and octogenarian widower Mr. Green (Robert Grossman). But it isn’t the judgment of the court that shakes up Ross’ and Mr. Green’s lives; it’s all those (including Mr. Green) who are judging the young man’s sexuality, and the old Jewish man’s grudge against his daughter for having married a “goy.” De Lorenzo and Grossman endow Jeff Baron’s two-man play with humor and sensitivity, and, admirably, tidy and painless resolutions are avoided.

Visiting Mr. Green runs through March 11 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $32-$49.


Just two weekends remain to catch The Car Plays at La Jolla Playhouse. It’s a daring and delightful theater experience. You sit in actual cars with two or more actors for five 10-minute vignettes, moving from auto to auto for each one. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish you had more leg room—but you’ll be glad you came.

The Car Plays runs through March 11 at La Jolla Playhouse. $25.

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A Room with a View: This world-premiere musical, based on the novel by E.M. Forster with a book by Marc Acito and music / lyrics by Jeffrey Stock, tells a love story about an English girl and the unconventional man she meets in Tuscany. Previews begin March 2; opens March 10 at Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. $39 and up.

How I Got That Story: Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company’s Seema Sueko directs Amlin Gray’s dark comedy set in Vietnam during the ‘60s. Opens March 2 at 10th Avenue Theatre, Downtown. $15-$40.

The Nerd: Larry Shue’s offbeat comedy about a Terre Haute architect and an unexpected houseguest, a man who once saved his life. Opens March 2 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$15.

Rosencrantz and GuildensteAre Dead: Two minor characters from Hamlet take center stage in Tom Stoppard’s 1966 Shakespeare-inspired play. Opens March 2 at OnStage Playhouse, Chula Vista. $16.

Thoroughly modern Millie: J Company Theatre stages the Tony-winning musical set in the Jazz Age in New York City. Opens March 2 at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. $16.

Now Playing

June Moon: UCSD’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents a play about love and ambition by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner that originally opened on Broadway in 1929. Through March 3 at UCSD. $10-$20.

The Blood Countess: DangerHouse Productions presents a vampire tale written and directed by Kevin Six. Through March 3 at Victory Theater in Grant Hill. $10-$13.

The Car Plays: San Diego: Audiences participate in Moving Arts’ rotating 10-minute plays, all set inside cars. Part of La Jolla Playhouse’s “Without Walls” program, it runs through March 4 at La Jolla Playhouse. $25.

The Comedy of Errors: The New Village Arts Theatre’s Ensemble teleports one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies to the 1950s, setting it as a TV sitcom. The laughs aren’t canned, though amplified sound effects are. It’s all rather hyperkinetic, but the updating is at least sincerely attempted. Through March 4 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $22-$36.

In the Wake: Lisa Kron’s play, set at Thanksgiving in 2000, makes salient points about ideological commitment, but more so about the blind spots we all have when looking inside ourselves. A lengthy first act (80 minutes) is overly didactic, regardless of one’s political inclinations, and some of the earnest speechmaking throughout overshadows the human vulnerabilities of the characters. Through March 4 at the Lyceum Space at Horton Plaza, Downtown. $29-$53.

A Raisin in the Sun: A stalwart cast led by Sylvia M’Lafi Thompson brings potency and commitment to Lorraine Hansberry’s dramatic classic about a struggling Chicago family. Delicia turner Sonnenberg directs for Moxie Theatre with just the right touch. Through March 4 at Moxie Theatre in Rolando. $20-$47.

42nd Street: A chorus girl gets her shot at stardom in this rousing Broadway musical by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble. Through March 4 at Coronado Playhouse. $18-$25.

Grace and Glorie: Tom Ziegler’s comedy about a backwoods woman and a hospice worker opens Broadway Theater’s eighth season. Through March 4 at Broadway Theater, Vista. $17.50.

Little Women—The Musical: Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel about four sisters, set to music. Through March 11 at Avo Playhouse in Vista. $22-$30.

Visiting Mr. Green: A close call between a driver and a pedestrian throws together a young executive and an 86-year-old widower in this play by Jeff Baron. Through March 11 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $32-$49.

Guys and Dolls: Frank Loesser’s musical, based on the stories of Damon Runyon, includes the classic songs “Luck Be a Lady,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and the title tune. Through April 1 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. $26-$64.

miXtape: Generation X was torn between disillusionment and hope in this cavalcade of music from the 1980s. Produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre, it runs through March 31 at the Horton Grand Theatre, Downtown. $28-$58.

Next Fall: Luke and Adam, partners in a five-year relationship, find their world turned upside down after an accident. Through March 25 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. $20-$33.

Late Nite Catechism: The participatory solo comedy by Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan turns 20 years old this year. Through May 19 at Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido. $44-$59.

Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: How else can a miserable 25-year marriage end but in murder? Presented by Mystery Cafe, it’s ongoing at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. $59.50, including dinner.