Strip away the spectacle and peel the Bolshoi to its essence—11 dancers and no sets—and what do you get? Spellbinding artistry. “Reflections” at Segerstrom Center for the Arts (through Jan. 23) may reflect the economic reality of the moment, but it’s an overstuffed box of bonbons that blends neoclassical technique and contemporary choreography to great effect.
George Balanchine’s reconstructed “Pas-de-Trois” will delight ballet aficionados but doesn’t partner well with the striking new works of Mauro Bigonzetti, Karole Armitage and others.The only real flaw, though, is that the program runs too long. Forget the clock and feast on the talent of superstars like Natalia Osipova, Yekatrina Krysanova and Maria Kochetkova while they’re in our midst. Call 714-556-2787.
Around the corner from the Segerstrom, South Coast Repertory is staging “Circle Mirror Transformation” (through Jan. 30), the offbeat Annie Baker comedy that wowed Off-Broadway last season—a quirky play about a roomful of characters interacting in a “creative drama” class led by a teacher who thinks way-out-of-the-box. Unfortunately, SCR has also imported the Obie-awarding director from the New York production, Sam Gold.
There are directors working at OC storefront theatres that have a better sense of comic timing than Gold, who maintains an exasperatingly slow pace. The play comes to a dead halt more than once, particularly during an exercise where the participants lay on the floor and s-l-o-w-l-y count from 1 to 10 (a staple of real-world acting classes). A fine ensemble cast, including Linda Gehringer (as the teacher), Brian Kerwin, Marin Hinkle, Arye Gross and Lily Holleman, manages to find the laughs in spite of their director.
You’ll have a much better time with this weird, intimate little piece if you sit in the front half of the theatre, not least because Gold apparently didn’t have the good sense to go to the back of the house and make sure his actors could be heard. Call 714-708-5555.
More from Jordan:
John Lithgow, Hershey Felder deliver in solo shows
Deviltry afoot in Miller’s ‘Crucible,’ ‘Cantor’s Tale’
OC Theatre 101: The best of 2010
Show biz bookshelf: musical theatre, burlesque chronicled anew
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