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‘Brothers Size’ at Fountain, ‘Siddharth’ at Nuart, 'Personals’ at Gallery

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You never know what you’ll find in the personal ads, and “Personals” (at Anaheim’s Gallery Theatre through July 20) holds true to form, a musical grab bag of songs and sketches that varies from highly amusing to just plain silly. Where the material—book and lyrics by David Crane, Seth Friedman and Marta Kauffman, songs by Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and others—is weak or dated, the show’s energetic ensemble makes up for the shortcomings.

Standouts in the 18-member cast include Melissa Stewart (who’s featured in two of the show’s best numbers, “I Can Change Him” and “Bosom Buddies”), Dyan Hobday (who shares the latter), Angela Griswold, Rick Cree, Shalimar Malimban and Bob Baumsten. Glenn Kelman keeps things moving with finesse. Call 714-630-9870 or visit www.thegallerytheatre.com/.
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Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brothers Size” (continuing in its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre through Sept. 14) is also about people trying to connect with each other, focusing on the relationship between two very different brothers who don’t always see eye to eye. It’s an overtly theatrical play that makes unusual demands on its audience, set in the Louisiana bayou and inspired by West African Yoruban mythology.

Shirley Jo Finney’s staging does much to bring to life McCraney’s convoluted tale of Oshoosi Size, his older brother Ogun, who’s tired of “carrying your sins around on my back,” and Oshoosi’s friend Elegba, who tempts him to stray from the path Ogun presses him to follow. The actors—Gilbert Glenn Brown (Ogun), Theodore Perkins (Elegba) and especially Matthew Hancock (Oshoosi)—offer dynamic performances. Call 323-663-1525 or visit http://fountaintheatre.com/.

Even more compelling is Richie Mehta’s award-winning film “Siddharth” (opening at the Nuart in Los Angeles on July 11). There’s never a false moment in this riveting drama, set in the urban slums of modern-day India and based on a true story; it has a documentary look and feel far removed from the world of “Slumdog Millionaire” and the glitz of Bollywood.

The film (in Hindi with English subtitles) centers around an impoverished Delhi man’s search for his 12-year-old son Siddharth, who takes a factory job in Punjab to alleviate the family’s financial problems and disappears. The real strength of this Zeitgeist Films release is its naturalistic acting, notably in the person of Rajesh Tailang as Mahendra, the desperate father who makes a meager living as a chain-wallah, fixing zippers, and is all consumed by his quest.

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