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David Barbour

David Barbour is a critic with Lighting & Sound America. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (388)
Preview fishmen intar poster 2  1
85
Lighting & Sound America

"Tirado plots his tale so cunningly, upping the stakes so stealthily, that it's difficult to pinpoint the moment when 'Fish Men' turns into such a nail-biter...'Fish Men' requires five vividly drawn characterizations, a mission neatly accomplished under Lou Moreno's taut direction...It's possible that 'Fish Men' ends on too neat a note, given the festering wounds afflicting some of its characters, but that won't keep you from being in a state of tense expectation throughout." Full Review

Preview beardo
35
Lighting & Sound America

"The entire enterprise suffers from a deficit of wit and the absence of a point of view...That 'Beardo' doesn't become entirely tiresome until late in the second act is largely due to Malloy's music...There isn't much that the director, Ellie Heyman, can do to impose any order on such often chaotic proceedings...Neither a comic romp, a pointed satire, nor a gripping historic episode, 'Beardo,' the musical, is little more than a superficial display of look-at-me cleverness." Full Review

Preview rsz 1rsz evening at the talkhouse
70
Lighting & Sound America

"A play like 'Evening at the Talk House,' with its dystopian vision of America tomorrow or the next day, usually hinges on how well the playwright draws on the details of how we live right now, and it must be noted that some of Shawn's ideas simply don't resonate...Still, 'Evening at the Talk House' casts a spell of creeping dread, aided by a wildly varied cast...The director, Scott Elliott, handles the diverse cast well." Full Review

Preview life according to saki
55
Lighting & Sound America

"The stories resist being dramatized. Many of them are remarkably brief...Under the direction of Jessica Lazar, the company is adept at popping in and out of various characters. There are a few felicitous staging moments...But in general, 'Life According to Saki' works its framing device rather too relentlessly...You may find yourself leaving the theatre further strengthened in the conviction that Saki's humor is best enjoyed on the page." Full Review

Preview georgie
85
Lighting & Sound America

"It is loaded with classic theatre stories, calculated to leave Broadway fans chortling with glee; in fact, it's just about the funniest horror story around...Dixon is a superb raconteur...Eric Schaeffer, whose direction keeps the show moving at exactly the right pace, also designed the set, a haunted-looking old theatre...'Georgie' will, inevitably, appeal most strongly to theatre fans with a deep sense of history, as well as those who saw Rose perform." Full Review

Preview mother invention
60
Lighting & Sound America

"A wildly uncertain mix of sex comedy, family drama, and oddball spiritual contemplation, which never gels into anything coherent... Nevertheless, 'The Mother of Invention' goes down easy, thanks to Tony Speciale's smooth direction, and the fine cast...By the time 'The Mother of Invention' reaches its not really satisfactory ending, one has long since realized that it is a collection of plot points in search of a play. It's as muddled as Dottie's mind, on one of her bad days." Full Review

Preview 299518
35
Lighting & Sound America

"The action is as predictable as the most hackneyed network series; there's little to do but wait for the betrayal that will surely come...Jerry Ruiz's direction hasn't been able to solve these basic script problems, and it's possible that he has pushed the actress Annie Dow too far in the direction of making Lucia so annoying...Eddie Martinez fares much better as Abel, filling in the blanks of character so expertly that one comes to feel one knows him well." Full Review

Preview img 0010
75
Yen
Lighting & Sound America

"Even when the script, fairly early on, begins to take less plausible turns, it's the work of the actors that keeps one's eyes riveted...Hedges and Smith are new to the stage; based on their work here, they have astonishing stage careers ahead...'Yen' remains an often staggeringly powerful piece...And it provides a golden opportunity to make the acquaintance of some superb young actors. Even when the script goes a little soft, they remain diamond hard." Full Review

Preview rsz 1rsz orange julius face
60
Lighting & Sound America

"'Orange Julius' is supposed to be a play, and what Kreimendahl has supplied is a lengthy narrative occasionally punctuated by little illustrative episodes. Between moments of real insight, the script wanders -- badly...Wills' direction keeps the play moving fluidly, striking a tone in which love, loss, amusement, and exasperation combine to plausible and sometimes moving effect. Even if 'Orange Julius' never finds its dramatic source, it never feels less than truthful." Full Review

Preview great american dream white 2
55
Lighting & Sound America

"The cast is ever game and always personable...But this is a largely shapeless, hit-or-miss evening of comic and/or dramatic bits, and around the two-thirds point my patience ran out. It doesn't help that the piece seems to end several times...If you visit 'The Great American Drama' not expecting anything great or dramatic, you may have a passable time...To my eyes, it's a collection of talent in search of a viable format." Full Review

Preview unfaithfully cropped
80
Lighting & Sound America

"I won't say that 'Yours Unfaithfully' is the most consequential work that the Mint has unearthed from its vault of lost works—it is little too earnest, perhaps, its ironies a little too carefully polished—but there are many compensations in the author's unfailing elegance of expression…Under the super-smooth direction of Jonathan Bank, a quintet of actors, all equipped with a fine grasp of period style, make the most of Malleson's astringent portrait of an open marriage." Full Review

Preview labute white
40
Lighting & Sound America

"The winners of this new-play festival, named for the noted playwright Neil LaBute, seem to have been chosen mostly for their LaButian characteristics, including a sour, misanthropic view of male-female relations and a taste for outrageous plot twists...There's really little of interest here as a showcase for playwrights; the 'LaBute Theater Festival' turns out to be more useful as a calling card for its talented cast." Full Review

Preview albatross white
45
Lighting & Sound America

“Evett is a powerful presence with oceans of technique at his disposal, but his performance would be infinitely better if he cut the intensity level by at least thirty percent...His full-throated, aim-for-the-balcony approach becomes wearying, then assaultive…'Albatross' seems to exist entirely to give its leading man a workout—and the result is something of an ordeal for the audience. All the additional detail only has the effect of making one appreciate how neatly Coleridge told his tale." Full Review

Preview mope white
70
Lighting & Sound America

"For about two thirds of its running time, 'Mope' coasts on the skill of its talented cast, who make these inconsequential characters likable in spite of themselves...If the director, RJ Tolan, struggles a bit with the play's first half, he gets excellent work from his cast of new faces...'Mope' isn't a total success, but Hardy clearly knows how to write blistering confrontations...I'm pretty sure we'll be hearing from him again, and soon." Full Review

Preview beautyqueen2
90
Lighting & Sound America

“The gasps and shocked laughter happened in all the right places. McDonagh's portrait of boredom, loneliness, and skullduggery in the west of Ireland has lost none of its power to amuse -- and appall...In his first play, McDonagh displays a knack for dramatic construction that some playwrights never achieve…Nobody understands McDonagh's work better than Garry Hynes, who ensures that this production moves confidently to its macabre double-twist ending." Full Review

Preview 82707 9
90
Lighting & Sound America

"Upton's text is thoroughly Chekhovian in the way that heartbreak and farce occupy the same stage; the elegant turns of phrase are his own...John Crowley's direction has a laser-like accuracy for line readings and the bits of business that lay bare each character's agenda, frustrations, and fears, and he is aided by a cast from Sydney Theatre Company who play together superbly; this is currently the most stunning ensemble on a New York stage." Full Review

Preview rsz god of vengeance
65
Lighting & Sound America

for a previous production "Asch's dramaturgy is more than a little old-fashioned...and the play doesn't always get the help it needs from Reissa's direction. A particular disappointment is the Yekel of Shane Baker...Much better are Reissa...and Mandelbaum...Reissa has chosen to stage the production in modern dress, which is surely a mistake...Whatever this production's shortcomings, New Yiddish Rep has done us a favor by producing 'God of Vengeance,' and anyone who has seen 'Indecent' will want to check it out." Full Review

Preview gorey
80
Lighting & Sound America

"An odd, but beguiling, entertainment...Russ, taking an approach that might have pleased his subject, has assembled a series of brief, teasing scenes, into a collage-like portrait...All three actors are at home in their roles, fully convincing us that they represent one personality at different stages of his life...'Gorey' succeeds in bringing the man to life, highlighting his innate strangeness and arguing effectively that it may have been inseparable from a persistent loneliness." Full Review

Preview rsz the babylon line
85
Lighting & Sound America

"Greenberg has a knack for creating characters who consistently surprise us without contradicting what we already know about them, and he can spin a narrative that has the richness of a novel...Under Terry Kinney's direction, a fine cast brings this eccentric menagerie to life...Greenberg builds a marvelously complete universe with his characters...For all his irony and wit, Greenberg captures it in its twilight glory." Full Review

Preview life is for living white
90
Lighting & Sound America

"Treat yourself to this champagne cocktail of an entertainment, celebrating a rather different Noël...Green and Shrubsole have assembled this delightful portrait of the artist...Green's most Coward-like quality: his ability to suggest a vein of deep feeling hidden beneath his clipped, civilized façade...Simon Green is a very Noël Coward sort of person -- and the perfect antidote to more tinsel-covered holiday entertainments." Full Review

Preview tbt white
45
Lighting & Sound America

"An advice column doesn't really a play make...Strayed can turn an elegant phrase...But there's no drama here, no development, no increasing complexity or deepening of feeling. It's just a series of questions and answers, and even the deep empathy of the latter after a while becomes a little bit dull. Vardalos, who has a natural stage presence and the skill to make a pause in the conversation vibrate with unspoken thoughts, goes a long way toward holding our interest." Full Review

Preview thebandsvisit
65
Lighting & Sound America

"It's an original, with one of the best new scores to be heard in several seasons…So much of ‘The Band's Visit’ is so strong that I wish everyone involved had found a way to lend it a more defined dramatic profile. The script is little more than a series of vignettes…Pauses are held longer than necessary. Musical numbers end without a flourish...What's right about this show is so good that if you steel yourself for some disappointments, you may find yourself cheering." Full Review

Preview the portal white
25
Lighting & Sound America

"The only reason 'The Portal' is worth discussing at all is that it unwittingly functions as a kind of warning about where stage design may be headed...So solemn in manner and so vague in its intentions that at times it's hard to believe the whole thing isn't a joke...Really a film with live music, singing, and dance accompaniment, all of which are deployed to little effect...I certainly had plenty of questions, but will confine myself to only one: Why does this production exist?" Full Review

Preview 8131c66a4609bda5bc44d3146e84e715
45
Lighting & Sound America

"What might have been a gut-punch melodrama ends up a half-hearted musical bildungsroman...Palminteri's book only roughs it in, and the often tuneful and literate songs don't dig deeply enough under the story's surface to reach the primal emotions underneath...Directors DeNiro and Zaks have delivered a brisk, efficient production, which, nevertheless, lacks the flavor of life...How is it that a show with murders, beatings, family secrets, and shocking betrayals, ultimately seems so weightless?" Full Review

Preview othello remix white
45
Lighting & Sound America

"If the authors' intricately rhymed verse is slickly effective in conveying the whirlwind pace of intrigue, the authors can't do much to invest action with much meaning…We never see Desdemona at all...Without seeing Othello together with the woman he loves, we can't appreciate what he loses when his faith in her is shattered…What finally cancels out the possibility of true emotional engagement is the sheer relentlessness of the verse." Full Review

Preview sunsetboulevard 2
60
Lighting & Sound America

"Close's singing has deteriorated significantly...In a way, this works to her advantage, making all the more poignant Norma's stab at regaining her youthful glory, but I wished for more...Lonny Price hasn't been able to rein in certain of his star's occasional excesses...The songs are a random series of hits and misses...'Sunset Boulevard' isn't a great musical, but it's a pretty good vehicle, at least if the right star is on hand. Close's performance is sufficiently titanic to justify this l... Full Review

Preview jonah and otto
40
Lighting & Sound America

"It amounts to a random collection of heartbreak, spiced up by some of the most overwrought dialogue to be heard in months...Whatever can be done with lines like these, the young actor Rupert Simonian does it; he also is technically gifted, pulling off each of his character's seizures with alarming verisimilitude...Nevertheless, under Hughes' direction, both actors struggle to find a rationale for the things their characters are given to do and say." Full Review

Preview img 0144
45
Lighting & Sound America

"The bombshells come so thick and fast that the characters spend most of the play in a state of shock...If anything, Simon's direction emphasizes the clunky, portentous nature of the script; generally, the women fare better...'Secret' ends on a modestly touching note, but it could have been so much more; in any case, it is preceded by more than two hours of clanking dramatic machinery. It's a Cold War soap opera that trivializes some of the twentieth century's most traumatic events." Full Review

Preview manfromnebraska
90
Lighting & Sound America

"Birney's unparalleled skill at evoking the dislocations of middle age have never been put to better use...Letts impresses with his depth of vision and refusal to repeat himself. 'Man from Nebraska' strikes me as the most penetrating play about religion to be seen this season...The director David Cromer's finely detailed way with actors makes him the right man for the job...The production remains engrossing, and often deeply moving, throughout." Full Review

Preview rtm citycenter 220x330
20
Lighting & Sound America

"This one is likely to go down as one of the season's real head-scratchers...It doesn't help that the characters behave and speak like no human beings ever seen...Rick Lombardo's production is certainly polished and his cast is remarkably committed, when they aren't mugging shamelessly...'Ring Twice for Miranda' is fantasy suffering from a case of insufficient imagination. It never establishes a coherent world and the characters' motivations are often left bewilderingly unclear." Full Review

Preview img 0077
75
Lighting & Sound America

"In his best moments, Sobelle can hold his own with such New Vaudevillians as Bill Irwin and David Shiner...The overall theme remains utterly elusive: Sobelle appears to be saying something about the millions of objects that fill our lives–but what? Then again, even when 'The Object Lesson' wanders, Sobelle's presence casts a powerful spell...'The Object Lesson' is far from perfect, but, for most of us, it's a fine introduction to an artist who isn't quite like anyone you've ever seen." Full Review

Preview tell hector i miss him
25
Lighting & Sound America

"So overstuffed with plots and characters that they crowd each other out. Given the play's length of roughly two hours and ten minutes, none of the many situations get the time and attention needed to become emotionally engaging or suspenseful...Some of the attempts at humor are pretty dire...Under the direction of David Mendizábal, the actors go at their characters in hammer-and-tongs fashion, working themselves up into emotional lathers in ten seconds or less." Full Review

Preview the liar white
85
Lighting & Sound America

"Dishonesty is the best policy in 'The Liar,' at least when it comes to delighting the audience...The references ricochet between the court of Louis XIV and the most recent edition of 'Variety,' and Michael Kahn's fast-paced, expertly cartooned production is filled with actors who know how to make the most of this comic cognitive dissonance...The fun rarely flags...Ives' arrant japery can be enjoyed entirely for its tonic qualities. Whatever century you're in, hilarity never goes out of style." Full Review

Preview oregon trail
40
Lighting & Sound America

"Depression is not an easy state to dramatize, and, in any case, Jane comes off as a pill—whiny, narcissistic, a perpetual victim...The fact remains that Jane's depression is presented without any insight and we are led to believe that her sufferings are equal to those of Then Jane, a notion that would be laughable if it weren't so grating...Brunstetter is a talent to watch, but this 'Oregon Trail,' I'm afraid, leads to a dramatic dead end." Full Review

Preview hiddentemple1
20
Lighting & Sound America

"A better title for ‘Incident at Hidden Temple’ might be ‘Nancy Drew Goes to War-Torn China’…Throughout, Ava is presented as being both clueless and insanely accomplished; she is as muddled as the play that contains her…Even the lowest-budget B melodrama was better constructed than this...Under the circumstances, it's difficult to know what actors could do, so it probably signifies very little that the entire company gives such wooden performances.” Full Review

Preview peergynt1
40
Lighting & Sound America

"Having chopped away several hours' worth of material, Barall and her collaborators still haven't been able to extract a workable drama from the seemingly endless tangle of scenes and characters…The laughs were few and far between. But neither did the story of Peer's progress prove gripping or meaningful. Even in its abridged form, the narrative still suffers from sluggishness and a lack of dramatic interest…For all the talent expended, this is a long, long evening." Full Review

Preview 800x1200 jitney
95
Lighting & Sound America

In Ruben Santiago-Hudson's hands, 'JItney' has the glittering patina of a masterpiece...Santiago-Hudson may be the most attuned to the sheer music of the playwright's language. Working with an A team of character actors, he mines the script for every bit of lyric beauty and dramatic tension...Thanks to the fine work of this company, 'Jitney' takes its rightful place as one of the most vivid panels in Wilson's mural of 20th-century black America." Full Review

Preview rsz the tempest
65
Lighting & Sound America

"Harriet Walter's Prospero is such a thrilling and original characterization that it very nearly justifies Phyllida Lloyd's over-interpreted staging…We are seeing ‘The Tempest’ as produced by specific prisoners...This is an interesting idea as far as it goes, but the constant intrusion of episodes of the inmates' daily life proves to be irritatingly intrusive…Certain ideas already seem past their sell-by date...The casting is extremely variable…The comedy subplot is especially lumbering here." Full Review

Preview dorkknight abingdon
75
Lighting & Sound America

"The whole my-life-as-a-Bat-fan concept becomes strained after a while. Some of the humor doesn't land as strongly as it might, although this may be because O'Connell is still honing his delivery. Still, the actor is never less than engaging...Tony Speciale's staging has a casual intimacy that makes 'The Dork Knight' easy to like...What keeps 'The Dork Knight' engaging throughout is O'Connell's honesty, which sometimes approaches the self-lacerating." Full Review

Preview made in china white
30
Lighting & Sound America

"In truth, ‘Made in China’ is headed in so many directions at once, it's hard to know what to make of it all. Its socioeconomic points are glancing at best…The script scrambles after laughs in various unseemly ways…So much creativity, so much bad taste: Despite the mastery of the theatre crafts on display, 'Made in China' is a silly, superficial entertainment that pretends to a significance it can't really attain while aiming shockingly low for laughs." Full Review

Preview lula del ray white
80
Lighting & Sound America

"Almost anything a film can do, Manual Cinema can match...The tale of Lula's wanderings is consistently engaging, and, there isn't a single wasted image in the telling. Charlotte Long and Sara Sawicki play Lula and her mother; each has mastered the knack of signaling an emotion with a single shadowy gesture; they are aided immensely by puppeteers Lizi Breit and Sam Deutsch. The company's work is both charmingly naïve and surprisingly sophisticated." Full Review

Preview nytw othelloshowpage 4641x2616 1280x721  1
70
Lighting & Sound America

"By any standard, this is an 'Othello' to treasure—original in conception and packed with savage emotions...Both actors handle Shakespeare's verse superbly, but Craig has the knack of making it seem like everyday speech, each new thought freshly arrived at...Even if you have seen 'Othello' many times, Oyelowo and Craig make the play seems surprisingly new...But this is a classic case of directorial overreach that constantly draws one's attention away from the drama at center stage." Full Review

Preview bright colors
80
Lighting & Sound America

"In real life, you'd flee the minute you saw him coming, but, as impersonated by Drew Droege, this blitzkrieg of a monologue makes for a pretty hilarious hour and a quarter…Although Droege clearly knows this character inside and out, surely Michael Urie's direction is at least in part responsible for the assured pacing, not to mention the seamless transition to the sadder, more thoughtful final passages…As for Droege, he is definitely a talent whom we'll be seeing again." Full Review

Preview in transit
85
Lighting & Sound America

"Marshall has turned up the volume just enough, giving it a more insistent pulse, a sense of nonstop movement that proves highly suitable to the occasion...The songs are the thing here, and they neatly capture the tone of a city where everybody is on the way to somewhere new...'In Transit' is also fitted out with a solid cast of Broadway utility players, each of whom gets a chance to shine...Marshall's kinetic staging concentrates on the warp and woof of city life, keeping things buoyant." Full Review

Preview rsz dear evan hansen
90
Lighting & Sound America

"The whole sorry story is treated by the authors with a remarkable double vision, keeping us engaged with Evan as he careens ever closer to disaster...The songs similarly combine real feeling with sharp-eyed observation as they briskly move the story along...Greif's staging is both well-paced and nuanced, never losing sight of the heartbreak at the story's center; he has also assembled a cast of performers who wear their characters like old clothes." Full Review

Preview prrr
80
Lighting & Sound America

"The first act in particular is rife with lovely turns of phrase...Once Prudencia is in the underworld, poetry is replaced by prose and although the words remain highly literate, the fun is lessened somewhat...While one at times wonders what the point of Prudencia's story may be, it is undeniably entertaining to watch this gifted, nimble cast work the room, acting, playing musical instruments, and occasionally commandeering one of the audience's tables to make a point." Full Review

Preview rancho viejo white
70
Lighting & Sound America

"This kind of comedy needs especially delicate handling, which Daniel Aukin provides; his deft touch is especially welcome, because 'Rancho Viejo' isn't without its problems. A three-act play running three hours, it is much longer than it needs to be...You have to admire LeFranc's skill at spinning a kind of philosophical wonder, mixed with a touch of existential dread, out of the kind of empty chatter that so many people indulge over drinks and snacks." Full Review

Preview pigeon in the taj mahal white
40
Lighting & Sound America

"The play's early scenes constitute a bruising acting challenge and John Keating handles it like a master...The playwright, Laoisa Sexton, has a gift for creating harrowingly vivid characters, but she overloads them with tics...Sexton simply fails to make a case for why we should be interested...Alan Cox's direction maintains a good pace, but he can't make the lines funny, nor can he do much about the many holes in the plot." Full Review

Preview rsz ride the cyclone
35
Lighting & Sound America

"The emotional payoff is nil, because the songs neither illuminate the characters nor help explain why they should be allowed to live...'Ride the Cyclone' looks and sounds much better than it is, thanks to Rachel Rockwell's direction and choreography and a top-flight cast of fresh faces...Still, it's hard to get away from the idea that 'Ride the Cyclone' is little more than a batch of random songs strung together by way of a forced, silly narrative concept." Full Review

Preview poison white
40
Lighting & Sound America

"She comes off as a nag; He is a little easier to take, but in neither case has the playwright supplied the telling details that might make them come alive as individuals. They remain as generic as their names, posed figures on a battlefield of sorrow…This is a dispiriting experience; rather than making real drama of it, 'Poison' oversells its tragedy, trapping it in a generic atmosphere of gloom. It wants to browbeat us into caring about its characters; that's not the way it works." Full Review