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Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to SCFTA, Orton’s ‘Loot’ at Fullerton’s STAGES

Jay David, Sevi Zitny, Forrest Orta, Keith Bush in LOOT
Jay David, Sevi Zitny, Forrest Orta, Keith Bush in LOOTSTAGEStheatre

Bold. Lyrical. Spiritual. I’d almost bet money the dance performance presented at Segerstrom Center for the Arts this week (through Sunday) is the work of three different companies. That’s what my eyes tell me. But the program says it’s only one—Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

“Chroma” (choreographed by Wayne McGregor) began the program, bold, sensuous and highly stylized, striking enough to open a James Bond movie. “D-Man in the Waters (Part 1)” (choreographed by Bill T. Jones to music by Medelssohn) was lyrical and joyous. “Revelation” (the group’s signature piece, choreographed by Ailey to Negro spirituals including “Rocka My Soul” and “Wade in the Water”) physicalized the soulful side of the company.

Ailey dancers are really aliens from another planet. That’s my theory. Their bodies have steel-like strength, but they bend like rubber; they can go anywhere and do anything. Led by artistic director Robert Battle, they’re as fine a dance company as you’re likely to see, anywhere, any time. I’ve caught them four times and can’t get enough. Call 714-556-2787 or visit www.scfta.org.
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If the ensemble cast of Joe Orton’s “Loot” at STAGEStheatre in Fullerton (playing through Apr. 27) isn’t quite as agile as the Ailey troupe, their comic chops are well honed. They steer clear of the trap that ensnares so many actors who perform farce today, especially tricky with this offbeat British black comedy; they know it’s funny but they let the audience figure out where the laughs are.

It’s all in the timing, as director Jesse Runde well knows; she doesn’t overplay her hand, as she so easily could. She has a keen ear for accents; each is as distinctive as the characters themselves. The cast—Matt Koutroulis (as a bereaved husband), Forrest Orta (his fussy son), Sevi Zitny (a much-married nurse), Keith Bush (a hearse driver) and Gene Tavianini (a daffy inspector)—has exceptional chemistry, with Zitny conveying Orton’s dry sense of humor best.

If this satiric attack on religious hypocrisy, police ineptitude, and societal conventions is unlikely to shock today’s audiences—as it did when it debuted in the ‘60s—it still has plenty of bite. Call 714-525-4484 or visit www.stagesoc.org.

More from Jordan:

New ebook, now available on Amazon — “Directing Lemmon and Matthau: On the Set with Billy Wilder” www.amazon.com/dp/B00J9Q3V5C

Beethoven at Bowers, Celtic Woman at SCFTA
http://www.examiner.com/article/scharoun-ensemble-at-irvine-barclay-beet...

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Visit my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jordan-R.- Young/e/B001K8E7NW
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