You could visit Ireland in the 1970s and experience a country that was rooted in the past in a great many ways; I did, and I cherish the memory. Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” (which runs through March 24 at Mysterium Theater in Santa Ana) is a memory play that goes even further back, to the summer of 1936, and captures a time and place that is no more. A time when the “wireless”—radio, not Wi-Fi—was all the rage.
If having a child out of wedlock is almost the norm today, it most certainly wasn’t then, especially in rural, church-ruled Ireland. The play is narrated by Michael, the grown-up version of one such child, as he recalls that summer with wistful nostalgia—his free-spirited mother Chrissie, his vagabond father Gerry, his aunts Kate, Maggie, Rose and Agnes, and his elderly uncle, Jack.
Little has escaped director Jessica Kuhn’s attention. She doesn’t permit a single actor to fall into the usual trap of broad accent or characterization; speaking in a soft Irish accent and projecting, however, is a difficulty the cast does not always overcome. Standouts in an otherwise first-rate ensemble include Jill Cary Martin as prim and proper Kate, Rose London as irrepressible Maggie, and Cliff Senior as gentle Jack. Call 714-505-3454.
For those of us addicted to British television, Acorn Media Group is releasing the best of the best on DVD like there’s no tomorrow. There are 20 drenched-in-wit episodes in the recently released “Wodehouse Playhouse: The Complete Collection” (a 6-disc box set) starring Pauline Collins and John Alderton, and they leave one wanting more.
“The Forsyte Saga,” based on the classic John Galsworthy novels and set in the Victorian era through the 1920s consists of two complete miniseries. Although the shows aired here on PBS like “Wodehouse,” this 5-DVD set includes the complete and unedited programs, as shown in the U.K. “Cloudstreet,” based on the Tim Winton novel, is an acclaimed six-episode Australian miniseries set in the ‘40s-‘60s. The 3-DVD set includes a behind-the-scenes bonus disc.
One More Time Dept.: “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” at Concordia University Studio Theatre in Irvine (continuing through March 24); Donald Margulies’ “Brooklyn Boy” at Newport Theatre Arts Center (March 29-April 28); “Billy Elliott” at Segerstrom Center for the Arts (April 16-28).
More from Jordan:
‘Ladyhouse’ at NoHo’s Andak, TEDxCalArts’ first report card http://www.examiner.com/article/ladyhouse-at-noho-s-andak-tedxcalarts-first-report-card
Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’ at Maverick, TMB’s riff on Chekhov at SCR http://www.examiner.com/article/shaffer-s-amadeus-at-maverick-tmb-s-riff-on-chekhov-at-scr
Reza’s ‘Life’ at Fullerton’s Stages, NoHo’s Theatre West Solo Series http://www.examiner.com/article/reza-s-life-at-fullerton-s-stages-noho-s-theatre-west-solo-series
Theatre Movement Bazaar’s ‘Cat,’ Cal Arts, Dramatists Guild events http://www.examiner.com/article/theatre-movement-bazaar-s-cat-cal-arts-dramatists-guild-events
TCM’s 2013 Classic Film Festival, LACMA’s Stanley Kubrick exhibit www.examiner.com/article/tcm-s-2013-classic-film-festival-lacma-s-stanle...
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