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David Roberts

About:  David Roberts is chief critic with Theatre Reviews Limited. Theatre Reviews Limited was originally launched in 1997 as one of the first online websites dedicated to reviewing Broadway, Off and Off-Off Broadway theatre, cabaret, and theatre festivals in New York City. The goal has been to provide con... Read more Read less
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Reviews (162)
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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The well-crafted choreography and the intriguing book, lyrics, and music counterpoint the heinous histories of Luke’s experiences in his home and his 'home away from home' on his captor’s island...The cast is uneven vocally but succeed overall in delivering their musical numbers...Liesl Tommy’s intricate and compassionate direction put Mr. Flynn’s Luke at the center of this story and assure that his cast works as hard as he does to make 'Kid Victory' the important piece of theatre it is." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Rick Lombardo directs with a charming gracefulness...'Ring Twice for Miranda's' chilling dystopian themes and its delusional narcissistic Sir become even more relevant in the current political climate in America. The play raises important and enduring questions but does not have the dramatic strength to carry the weight of these rich questions...That said, Mr. Hruska’s new play explores the dimensions of tyranny and the loss of personal freedom in a convincing way." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Molloy spins a tale of intrigue and madness as she exposes the underbelly of a complex dysfunctional family...That past is played out brilliantly by the engaging cast who give their multiple characters and their multifarious conflicts authenticity and believability...Under Kira Simring’s direction, 'Crackskull Row' is as good as it gets and it does not get better than this...'Crackskull Row' is not to be missed. Just leave propriety and apprehension behind." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The play’s ending is no surprise and does not warrant the unusual blackout and completely different part of the set. One of several odd choices in Jerry Ruiz’s staging and Ms. Saracho’s script...It is not the actors’ obvious craft that is in question here. Although 'Fade' raises some enduring and rich questions about classism, sexism, racism, and prejudice, the play does not offer any new perspectives on these issues nor does it address them with any depth of understanding or suspense." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“Wakka Wakka fulfills its mission ‘to push the boundaries of the imagination’ with this daring exploration of the relationship of the United States to China and of the underbelly of America’s current political climate...‘Made in China’s’ puppets often push the limits of propriety to express deep feelings and to raise rich and enduring questions. It does not get any more relevant than that." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Neil LaBute has teamed up with Marco Calvani and Marta Buchaca to present three plays that are 'surprising takes on the idea of power dynamics'...How relevant and thought-provoking these plays are in that climate is somewhat problematic. In all three short plays–two in translation–the conflicts and motivations of the characters are clear. What is not clear is why these believable conflicts drive such muddled and often less-than-fun plots." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"A charming and uncomplicated new musical with a simple message delivered convincingly by a splendid cast...Despite the heroic effort of the creators to spin a musical tale that connects deeply with urban dwellers and their current challenging exigencies, the musical remains formulaic and less than distinguished. Undercutting the clever and refreshing a cappella performances is the unnecessary amplification." Full Review

Preview rsz ride the cyclone
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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The competition gives the victims the opportunity to advocate for the opportunity to return to living out their lives and each performance is remarkable and provides its own counterpoint teaching to the musical’s main 'lesson' of how to manage one’s movement through the ride called 'life'...Under Rachel Rockwell’s astute direction, the cast of the musical excel in every way and tackle Ms. Rockwell’s choreography with impressive skill." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Under Mark Brokaw’s steady hand, the acting is uniformly excellent and the actors manage their dual roles with authentic performances. Allen Moyer’s scenic design, Kaye Voyce’s costumes, and David Lander’s lighting are all exquisite. ‘This Day Forward’ comes with its difficulties. The second act is not as strong as the first and the magical realism at the end of the play is completely unnecessary and weakens the strength of the play." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"A masterful musical… A remarkable story of love gone wrong…’The Great Comet’ is one of the most innovative musicals to appear on Broadway for a very long time. Its uniqueness is surpassed only by its impressive cast. Under Rachel Chavkin’s refined and imaginative direction, Denee Benton, Josh Groban and the ensemble cast grapple successfully with Dave Malloy’s music, lyrics, and book and create a delicious and innovative approach to a small slice of ‘War and Peace.’" Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Finian’s Rainbow' is as relevant and 'groundbreaking' as it was in 1947...Burton Lane’s music is sumptuous and is the star of this Irish Rep production...The ensemble cast is outstanding and supports the principal actors with sheer perfection...Despite the overall stellar performances, this production of 'Finian’s Rainbow' falls flat and it is not easy to determine why...Perhaps this matrix of lackluster creative team support affected the entire performance?" Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The delightful autobiographical musical that clearly delineates Mr. Larson’s path to success...Keen Company has wisely chosen this young musical to celebrate Larson’s life and craft on this 20th anniversary year of 'Rent.' Under Jonathan Silverstein’s visionary and judicious direction, the cast captures the importance of making choices and determining to stand by those choices that are authentic and honest...A reminder that everyone clutches at life knowing it could end at any moment." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The connection that begins with a kiss is the engaging subject of Simon Stephens’s 'Heisenberg'...Under Mark Brokaw’s astute direction, Ms. Parker and Mr. Arndt tackle the rich complexities in Mr. Stephens’s script and successfully grapple with the mysteries of human connection...'Heisenberg' meets the vicissitudes of the human condition and clarity convenes on the stage of life and on the stage of the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Orwell in America' though interesting and informative, is more 'scholarly' than it needs to be...Mr. Horton and Ms. De Wall do justice to Mr. Sutton’s script but there is not enough in that script to offer either actor opportunities to explore their characters with depth. Or perhaps director Peter Hackett has not explored the depths of the actors’ formidable crafts...There is not enough new material or remarkable conflicts to make the narrative move forward in a fresh way." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“Hershey Felder’s stunning tribute to the life and work of Leonard Bernstein is a work brimming with affection and respect…Mr. Felder bristles with energy as he darts from chair to Steinway grand piano sharing Bernstein’s life and legacy with an impassioned commitment to transparency and authenticity…Kudos to Hershey Felder and director Joel Zwick for creating and presenting a memorable and bittersweet bio-play of one of America’s greatest talents." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"There is nothing really new in this current revival of 'Cats'...Unchanged is the somewhat discordant presence of what Mr. Webber has imagined as the main character of 'Cats:' the Glamor Cat Grizabella...That said, the named Cats and the Cats chorus provides sufficient energy to overcome this significant flaw in the current production...'Cats' will continue to excite the senses of the young and the not so young and the musical will still embody the brilliance of the poetry." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"In 'Reconciliation,' things go better when each 'play' is running as a separate piece. When the stories impede upon one another, clarity is lost, dialogue is difficult to sort out, and the actors often seem left in awkward positions on the set. It might have been better for playwright Jenny King to cast someone else as actor Molly. It is difficult to write a complex piece like 'Reconciliation' and be in the cast...Hinson’s inconsistent and extempore direction needs tightening throughout." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“One wonders why Mr. Raio wrote this play and why he would choose to produce it. One further wonders why it could possibly have been accepted into the FringeNYC 2016 Season. It is offensive from beginning to end and is no more than a wobbly series of hackneyed jokes strung together with the hope that a story about a dying spouse might somehow salvage the mess...The staging by Michelle Kristine Best is at best amateurish and puerile.” Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Under Firlit’s well-paced direction, the ensemble cast members play well off one another and bring the issue of male rape to the forefront with a welcomed sensitivity. However, sometimes the script’s insistence on being comedic gets in the way of their ability to explore their characters with necessary depth and intuition...That said, it raises deep and rich enduring questions about rape in general and male rape specifically. Gooley is to be commended for his decision to tackle this topic." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Off Track' circumlocutes several important issues without raising one deep, rich, enduring question about any of them. This failure on the part of a playwright is unfortunate and unfair not only to an audience but to the show’s actors that have to struggle to make sense of a play...The playwright has chosen to introduce characters he abandons on page and on stage as underdeveloped stock characters without convincing or interesting conflicts." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

for a previous production "The audience easily connects to these stories through the significant craft of the cast who play not only the lives of the massacred but also the lives those individuals touched and the lives of those who were left behind. These 'testimonials' are powerful and life changing. Under Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj’s meticulous direction, Christian Lee Branch, Marquis Gibson, Lauren Shaye, and Nicole Stacie act, sing, and dance their ways into the hearts of the audience." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"A play where characters do not change but merely adapt...There are no surprises and everything is predictable...It is a flat tire with no dramatic arc. The cast does an admirable job in trying to overcome the obstacles of the script, creating believable flawed characters but fall short when trying to give them an emotional transfusion, though no fault of their own. The direction by Gama Valle is somewhat stagnant and fractured by very short scenes severed by the same repetitious music." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“Once the audience is in on the ‘trick’-which occurs early on in the play-they begin to grow weary and, despite Mr. Sofge’s apparent lack of interest in dramatic arcs, fourth walls, and cathartic resolutions, the audience begins to beg for a bit of a decent dénouement...To his credit, Mr. Sofge has created interesting characters...Under Mr. Sofge’s and Michael Melkovic’s direction, the ensemble cast does its best to pull the whole thing off and are convincing.” Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The stories of the slain black men are told in spoken word, stunning movement, and song with just a touch of clowning around...The uniformly brilliant cast bring the stories to redemptive catharsis that lingers long after the final scene...Mr. Jenkins, Ms. Metz and their cast have collaborated to create a moving piece of theatre that will endure beyond its time at FringeNYC 2016." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"In 'Black Flag' all three actors develop their characters with authenticity and, under Logan Vaughn’s direction, bring Mr. Goodwin’s script to a successful level of believability…'Queen' is a lightweight short play that never really makes it off the ground…In 'The Dark Clothes of Night' the film noire scenes are filled with period humor, double entendre, and enough sexism to last a lifetime. The whole endeavor seems endless and could be shortened by half." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"'The Dressmaker’s Secret' suffers from the lack of a clear and convincing dramatic arc. There are too many things going on...Mr. Simon’s direction leaves the talented cast wandering around the stage instead of staying in place and having a realistic conversation...In short, an endearing story with potentially multilayered connections is lost in an overly long production encumbered by inconsistent staging." Full Review

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Yen
Theatre Reviews Limited

"'Yen' dives headlong into the miasma of dysfunctional families without abandon and lands in a matrix of enduring questions that Jordan decides not to answer...The second act, more violent and shocking, still leaves the audience wondering why Jordan wrote 'Yen.' Cullman’s staging depends heavily on loud and violent projections to add to the mood of the play. It would seem giving more attention to Jordan’s script and trusting its strength would have given the piece more purpose." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"'The Object Lesson' is an important exercise and worth the visit...The impact of Geoff Sobelle’s immersive experience is sometimes diminished by the nature of the piece itself – something both Mr. Sobelle and director David Neumann should continue to take into consideration. No matter where audience members sit, there are vignettes of 'The Object Lesson' that simply cannot be observed." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The play defies space and time to tell the complex story of the narrator’s relationship with their estranged father...Jess Barbagallo delivers a deeply moving performance...Barbagallo moves between ages, spaces, and the realms of fantasy with the skills of a shape-shifting doppelgänger. Payne is equally adept at shifting from the young soldier to the aging father...'Orange Julius' is a rich cathartic look at the journey of one searching not only for identity, but authentic acceptance and love." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“There is nothing new here, nothing thought-provoking, nothing that raises rich enduring question…Kel Haney directs LaBute’s ‘What Happens in Vegas’ with efficiency…It is difficult to know what the point of the play is…One would have to search hard to find any enduring questions raised in Adam Seidel’s ponderous and overlong ‘American Outlaws.’ ’American Outlaws’ is flat from beginning to end…’Mark My Worms' is perhaps the weakest of the four offerings." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"A superb farce replete with delightful characters caught up in hilarious situations. 'The Liar' lands on stage at the perfect time and reminds theatergoers of the enduring importance of vaudeville in times of political upheaval...David Ives earns his wordsmith accolades in this ‘translaptation’...The cast is uniformly impressive...Director Michael Kahn keeps the energetic cast moving at breakneck speed appropriate to the farce." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Unique, brilliantly cast, impeccably staged, and discovers the deep, rich underbelly of this musical that seems to have escaped notice until now...The musical peels away the layers of Charity’s past revealing her vulnerability and her less explored – but equally evident – inner strength...Under Leigh Silverman’s sharp direction, the members of the impressive cast deliver authentic performances animated with deep honesty and endearing charisma...Joshua Bergasse’s choreography is stunning." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Mr. Broder’s delicious, 90-minute, two-set foray to those depths is special indeed and a must-see event…Mr. Broder delivers an unbridled, full-bore fusillade against racism, sexism, xenophobia and all things president-electoral...Mr. Broder’s honesty and authentic performance offer true insights into the human condition and the state of the nation in the present. He is engaging, informed, and understands the role of comedy in effecting significant change." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"A stunning new musical that combines realism with just the right amount of moral ambiguity and rich enduring questions to make a delicious theatrical event worth seeing once if not twice...Mr. De Niro and Mr. Zaks provide rich direction to the ensemble cast and keep the action moving forward at an appropriate pace. The realistic conflicts of each character drive a believable plot full of wonderful dramatic surprises that give the story interesting twists and turns." Full Review

Preview last black man white
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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Using the rich repetitive genres of jazz, spoken word, dance-theatre, and poetry, Ms. Parks’s play captures the attention of the audience and holds captive its aching heart and sin-sick soul for a powerfully unforgettable 75 minutes of cathartic ghoulish disquietude. Parks explores the underbelly of language in unique ways often setting diction and syntax uncomfortably at odds with the conventions of rhetoric to create a delicious tapestry of meaning and rich enduring questions." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Under Michael Wilson’s discerning direction, Hallie Foote and Harriet Harris are magnificent playing off one another’s enormous talents...The third short play (Act Two) is disappointing after the high energy and delicious plots driven by the characters and conflicts in the first two short plays...'The Roads to Home' challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding the concept of home and raises enduring questions about the roads that lead us there." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Playwright Nguyen has developed characters with believable conflicts that drive an intriguing and transformative plot...Under May Adrales’s careful direction, Jennifer Ikeda, Raymond Lee, and the ensemble cast deliver captivating performances permeated with honesty and authenticity...'Vietgone' adds to the richness of the understanding of how love transcends indifference and adds richly to the dramatic fabric of contemporary American theatre." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"LaBute’s play begs for a striking performance and it receives one in the brilliant and emotionally exhausting performance of Judith Light...Under Leigh Silverman’s astute direction, Ms. Light gives her character’s infatuation with Tommy a remarkable level of authenticity and honesty...There is not a wasted movement in Judith Light’s action nor an unnecessary amplified outburst in the thunderous claps of grief and sadness that erupt from this actor’s soulful bravura performance." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The play raises the kind of enduring questions that are vital to the conversation needed around the issues of systematic racism and white privilege...Megan Sandberg-Zakian’s staging is effective and she utilizes Susan Zeeman Rogers’s stark set to simulate the various points of view extant in Mr. Davis’s matrix of moral ambiguity and treasure trove of rich and enduring questions...Nathan Alan Davis’s remarkable new play reveals that ultimately justice does not always prevail." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"It is probable that Mr. McPherson’s adaptation might be chilling in a post-September 11, 2011 world; unfortunately, it is difficult to make that determination based on this Birdland production...The problem with Mr. Dzeparoski’s staging is that it leaves the audience unmoved, unconcerned about any of the characters under attack in the abandoned house...The lack of success of this production lies squarely at the feet of the director, whose vision of McPherson’s script remains a mystery." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Michael Bradley’s retelling is a lean and mean fantasy-driven machine that captures the heart of Ibsen’s play in verse and–with the help of an outstanding cast–makes room for Peer’s particular search for his true sexual status amidst a plethora of naysayers and inhospitable oppugnants...Fischetti’s choreography is stunning...Mr. Goodrich’s efficient direction could be tighter at times (it is at intervals uneven) but overall serves the script with evidentiary warmth and support." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Director Samuel moves the action of 'Miss' at a reasonably even pace and supports her cast as they peel away the layers of dissemblance and desperation. It is the peeling of those layers that gives 'Miss' its strength. Too often, however, the characters get involved in implausible situations, but the denouement is worth the wait despite some bumps in the dramatic arc. Albert’s characters are well-defined and their conflicts clear. The resulting plot is interesting and thought-provoking." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"The resulting piece has the feel of somehow being 'woven together' without the scenes necessarily depending upon one another...Because of their brevity, these scenes require actors who are able to quickly develop characters with recognizable conflicts and who have the ability to establish setting with alacrity. Under Goutman’s steady and generous direction, the cast of seven handle these tasks with exceptional craft and flexibility...'The Gorges Motel' will not disappoint." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Andrea Alton and Allen Warnock have created an engaging story for Molly and her new friend Angie. Their characters are richly layered and carefully developed. Each has interesting conflicts that drive interesting plots that engage their audience to reflect upon the comedic elements in the vicissitudes of the human experience...Their timing is perfect, their humor endearing and freshly contemporary." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“If ‘The Curse’ is attempting to provide a trope for the repercussions of fearing the unknown, it does not succeed – the play is simply not that multi-layered nor that complex…‘The Curse’ is not well written, it is not well directed, and it leaves the unfortunate cast adrift in one hour and forty-five minutes of nonsense. There is no reason to see this woebegone play.” Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"It is difficult to care for these four self-destructive characters who have no clue who they are or where they are going or when they are being objectified. Their lives are beyond hope and there is no chance of a redemptive catharsis at the end of this misbegotten play. The actors do what they can with the script with seemingly little help from director Miles Mandwelle. The whole ordeal is far too long, extended by a meaningless and gratuitous sex scene." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"One of the most challenging pieces of theatre in FringeNYC 2016…‘In the Master’s House There Are Many Mansions’ raises many rich and enduring questions…Under James Vesce’s electrifying direction, the cast is uniformly brilliant and engaging. They each bring authenticity and a level of honesty to their characters that challenges the status quo and reverberates through the performance space with disquieting truthfulness...This is a play that needs to be seen." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

“Comes to the stage with great promise...Retelling is fresh and, in most cases, brimming with humor. If only the cast members had stronger voices and were able to develop their characters more deeply giving them a freshness and a new depth of spirit...Peterson should be giving her actors a firmer hand and move the entire show at a much quicker pace...All of that said, a charming love story of a young couple faced with important decisions.” Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

"Although Ms. Vergara’s characters are well-developed on the page and although the talented cast appears to make every effort to further develop their characters on stage, the overall effect is akin to a lackluster soap opera...It appears the script itself is the problem here as well as Leni Mendez’s erratic and unremarkable direction...With time, hopefully 'Implications of Cohabitation' will find its mark." Full Review

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Theatre Reviews Limited

for a previous production "The cast is uniformly talented with remarkable vocal and acting skills as well as being accomplished instrumentalists and dancers...Elliah Heifetz’s music and lyrics are engaging and enchanting...There are still some difficulties with the book, especially in the second act...Still a work in progress and, having seen its 'incarnation' in 2014, this reviewer looks forward to seeing its grace-laden apotheosis in the very near future.” Full Review