“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” transports audiences to a time when having friends to hang out with on a Saturday night was a godsend, when liking obscure British pop could suffice as the foundation of a friendship and when pretending to be grown up was indistinguishable from actually being grown up.
The final play in the California Shakespeare Company’s (CalShakes) season is “Hamlet,” the story of the titular Danish prince (Leroy McClain) who must contemplate whether to kill his uncle, Claudius (Adrian Roberts), who murdered Hamlet’s father (also Adrian Roberts) and proceeded to marry his mother (Julie Eccles) in one fell swoop.
Noel Coward’s hilarious play “Blithe Spirit” has been revived with gusto and skill at the California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) in the East Bay. The production has an impressive combination of clever dialogue and actors with precise comic timing who accentuate the wit. Like Oscar Wilde’s plays, Coward’s are full of banter and silliness, and just as Rupert Everett seems born to perform Wilde, the Cal Shakes cast is perfect for the play.
Peter Hedges’ new film, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” features characters similar to those of his last film, “Dan in Real Life”: clueless but well-meaning parents and children that are wise beyond their years. Whereas as “Dan in Real Life” was a breath of fresh air, including an all-star cast and modern themes, the characters in “Timothy Green” are plain and hackneyed and play out a story so simple-minded and quaint that it could have been written 30 years ago.
The new SHN production of “War Horse” in San Francisco is all spectacle: amazing lights, sounds, sets, song and staging, as well as some impressive life-sized horse puppets operated by multiple puppeteers. “War Horse” is the epic story of a boy and his horse before and during World War I and tells of how both sides took turns caring for and loving the horse; if you saw the Spielberg film last year, this is a less polished version of the story. The play, however, equals, if not exceeds, the extravagance and drama of the film.