" It’s worth catching ..." Stephen Fife, StageRaw.com
"... one horrifying moment of incontrovertible fact which is highly disturbing and will stay with me for a while. " Stephen Fife, StageRaw.com
"1=0 is...a creepy ordeal...with creepy moments and dark humor...a wild artistic style..." LASoundbites.com
"...complex...unusual, dramatic...intense, vivid, convincing..."
"...enthralled this audience member." PaulMyrvoldsTheatreNotes.Wordpress.com
Conceived and Directed by James Carey
Critics Choice - BetterLemons.com
WINNER - Producer’s Encore Award, Best of Fringe Awards
"THE BITCH IS BACK is a musical journey through the music of Elton John's hits from the early 70's to the late 80's. At times campy, at times powerful, experience the music of Elton John in a new entertaining way!" Better-lemons.com
"It's a hugely fun show, but be warned, you will be singing and perhaps, and even I put aside my Britishness for this, you may do a little dancing, and enjoyment will be had...one massive hit and one flashing of sparkles, batting of false lashes and stomping of platforms after another. Bravo ladies!!!"
"Worth a ticket: The Bitch Is Back: An Elton John Cabaret performed by the Skypilot Theatre Company. Playing at Three Clubs. 80 minutes. There are over-sized eyeglasses, feather boas and plenty of sequins. It’s karaoke where the audience backs up the five women onstage. If Elton’s your thing, they’ve got 16 songs worth of pure joy. The singers, led by Chloejane Busick and Erisa Evelyn Byrd, throw themselves into it, and their energy never wanes. It’s cheesy and it’s in a bar, so drinking is part of the fun. The title song, which comes last in the program, brings it all home." Laura Foti Cohen - Larchmont Buzz
"I really liked Tina Walsh! Erisa Evelyn Byrd is a true talent! The costumes were especially fun! I can honestly say I liked almost everything about this show from start to finish. This show kept a smile on my face from start to finish! Whether you’re an Elton John fan or not, if you want to sit back, relax and just have a good time, you should see this show! Better yet sing along and dance along!" TEHANA WEEKS , Hollywood Fringe certified reviewer.
"Director James Carey developed the idea of five strong willed women with different entertainment backgrounds, some are comedians and actresses, but, all could sing like nobody’s business. With the help of renowned vocal director Darci Monet, these two geniuses formed a concept that paid homage to one of America’s famous songwriters and singers. Together they picked five women who can truly sing with heart and soul. These ladies, Chloejane Busick, Erisa Evelyn Byrd, Kelly Goodman, Marie Petit and Tina Walsch, gave out a knock out performance singing and performing nearly 10 songs. A little of Bennie and the Jets, a touch of Rocket Man, and an uplifting tune from 1983 and my personal favorite I’m Still Standing, makes it memorable.
These songs, and others, evoke having a good time and reminisce on John’s songs. The up-tempo songs will get you moving, while the more slow, thoughtful ones will stir-up warm feelings from a special time in your life. The show is a winner from beginning to end. These ladies understand how to rock, or slow down, a song that will leave you singing one of them when it’s over. Long live Elton and his talented crew of women who admire and do his songs justice. Only last chance to see this great show this Saturday the 23rd that deservedly won the Producer’s Encore Award at the Best of Fringe Awards this past weekend." Mary E. Montoro - All About the Stage
"Oh yes!! THE BITCHES are back at Hollywood Fringe! And oh, do they make us Feel The Love Tonight! These five strong ladies rock the stage with their very unique different versions of 15 Elton John classics everyone can (and will!) sing along to! They take us on a happy colorful journey through Elton-land of the 70s-80s – at times sweet and mellow and acoustic with Banjo, ukulele and guitars, at times full power happy rocking tunes, deep cuts, beats and base, their very own dance moves, and just contagious fun and happy moods! And hurray for all the jazz-hands, tap steps, boas and hats, silly sunglasses and kazoo-solos! This show is an absolute JOY, the strong personalities of each and everyone of the ‘bitches’ will move you to a happy place – individually and all together they make you sing along, cheer and applaud from start to finish. Lighters, phones, candles and big smiles light up to Rocketman, Blue Eyes, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Crocodile Rock, Sad Songs.. and so many more Elton-smash hits, and at the end no one is sitting down anymore – singers and audience all together are Still Standing!! The Bitch is back! Bravo, ladies and James!" Silvie Jacobsen, Hollywood Fringe certified reviewer
Reviewed by Paul Birchall
Skypilot Theatre Company at Hollywood’s Theatre of Arts
"Death changes everything — not only for those who die but for the folks who are left behind. Sometimes people who have hated each other for decades discover that the person who just died was the catalyst for their dislike, and the hatred dissolves into the air like ether. This is essentially the theme of playwright Craig Jessen’s thoughtful family drama, which deals with the residue of estrangement and bitterness.
David (Morry Schorr) is a genial, idealistic and boisterous bon vivant who, after a hero’s career during World War II, never recaptured the glory of his green days, and instead drifted from hopeless-get-rich scheme to hopeless-get-rich scheme. After being dumped by his wife Maggie (Michelle Begley), he raised their three daughters, who understandably grew up deeply resenting their absentee mom.
Although we first see David reminiscing about the past, it quickly becomes evident that he himself exists only in memory, as he has recently died in a car accident. Troubled youngest daughter Gray (Serena Anis) is the only one of her sisters, which include businesswoman Heather (Kelsey Risher) and oldest sister Ash (Laura Walker), who is willing to reunite with mom Maggie.
Confronted by the daughters who believe she deserted them years ago, Maggie endures barbs and insults — but before long it becomes clear that the true villain is the absent father, who spent his life poisoning his daughters against their mother. Gradually, the family starts to work through the layers of animosity.
Jessen’s drama is not without glaring flaws. Most of the characters are women, but it’s noteworthy that they are undeveloped and exist only in reference to their dead father. Still, the piece possesses an undercurrent of grief and anger, accurately portraying what happens when children irrationally take on the prejudices of one parent against the other. Scenes in which the family interacts with barely suppressed resentment and fury are dynamic and will seem familiar to anyone who’s been exposed to parental estrangement. Director James Carey’s staging occasionally crackles with anger and menace — and sequences involving David exude a mystery in which the ostensible protagonist becomes the tragic villain.
Schorr’s David is a surprisingly moving figure, an arguably delusional man who has no idea of his true self. As Maggie, Begley offers a beautifully nuanced turn — at first brittle and hateful, but gradually revealing herself as vulnerable and rather sad. As youngest daughter Gray, Anis crafts a character whose anger and inner hurt are easy to understand."
Hollywood’s Theatre of Arts, 1625 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood; Thurs.-Sat., 8pm; through April 29.
By Kundai Marunya
"Following sold out shows in Los Angeles, United States in 2011 and 2012, Coming Together: a Beatles Cabaret is set to grace Reps Theatre tomorrow evening.
The show which will run until 18 July, is conceived and directed by renowned US theatre practitioner, James Carey.
The play comes with a rich cast including popular musician and actress Kudzi Sevenzo, renowned actor Alex Fairlie, Liza Maano and AneUnhu Gwatidzo. It will see the audience reliving the Beatles music
In an interview with Spiked Lifestyle, Carey said, “This is not 4 guys in bad wigs pretending to be the Beatles, it is four singer/actors performing a cabaret of Lennon/McCartney music for your enjoyment”
Instead of the usual tribute bands playing Beatles music, Carey centered the play on a love story of two couples. “The play starts with new love at the honey moon stage, then comes the fights, then break ups, a period of loneliness and yearning for the former lover then getting back together. All this is done with no verbal dialogue but music,” he said.
Songs like All You Need Is Love, Yesterday, and Come Together (title track) are among the 30 songs Carey uses to tell the love story. “We are not using all original Beatles arrangement but those by other artists and our own mixes,” he added.
The idea of the cabaret was conceived out of love of Beatles music and wanting to creatively keep alive the group’s legacy. “I did not grow up around Beatles music; my parents didn’t like their music so back then I didn’t pay much attention but later in life when I was introduced to it I completely fell in love,” said Carey.
Carey has been coming to Zimbabwe on different projects for the past four years. Last year he was in the country as part of the National Institute of Allied Arts (NIAA) Speeche and Drama Eisteddfod. “I have a great affection for the country and the people are amazing. I will keep on coming whenever opportunity presents itself,” said Carey."
LA WEEKLY 'GO' PICK
"Director James R. Carey and his cast, which includes Norm Johnson, attack their material with considerable craft and sincerity."
"...a blend of an old-fashioned ghost story and a kitchen sink family drama – has moments of real sweetness, intervals of flagrant family dysfunction and a minute or two of genuinely gut-wrenching horror."By F. KATHLEEN FOLEY, LA TIMES
"...a first rate production." - STAGE RAW.com
"The world premiere of the play, directed by James R. Carey, reveals that "Banshee" has a great deal of promise as an important work of theatre." "...a delightful, charming performance ... compelling and immersive ...very dramatically and intellectually compelling ." Ryan David McRee, Neontommy.com
"Director James Carey captained this ship to its full potential."
Running to Tahti.com
"...really scary...really good." "My spine was tingling it is so scary."
"I was scared to death." "The performances were awesome."
GOLDSTAR Audience Reviews
Live Audience Reactions at vimeo.com/108664648
WINNNER- Producer’s Award & WINNER - Best Playwriting Award, HOLLYWOOD FRINGE
"I’m a sucker for incredible performers. So watching June Carryl as a diva facing her downfall in La Bête – seeing her navigate the highs and lows and every nuance in between of an emotionally charged, often wickedly funny journey – makes me very, very happy.
Carryl wrote this backstage drama and has no problem stepping into the stylish shoes of Marian Davis (no, not silver-screen star Marion Davies), a fictional (I think?) African American actress who was active in the Civil Rights Movement and is now of a certain age and trying to make a comeback on Broadway… in a play that was written for her (yes?) and taps into her personal history and issues. But just minutes before her first preview, we see major warning signs. James Carey (who also directs) shares the stage as Alan, Davis’ producer and longtime friend who comes up with a scheme so that the show will go on, and he won’t lose his house. There’s a lot of wonderful writing within this short one-act, the best of which lets Carryl soar on a gorgeous wave of theatricality." Review by JENNIE WEBB, BetterLemons.com
"June Carryl is an awesome talented actress, she will blow you away!! I saw her for the first time as ‘the beast’, Opening Show, and with her director James Carey on stage*, she and he together (actress/playwright+actor/director) are just a very wonderful perfect match – the two work together for the first time, but for sure not the last time. .. A fast paced play, brilliant dialogues, and monologues, words that hit the spot, boom, boom, boom, it’s fun, it’s stuff to think about… it’s not to be missed!!! I will def. see it again." SILVIE JACOBSEN, certified reviewer
"Fantastic show! Great writing, great performances. Really enjoyed the show. Highly recommended!" Review by DAVID HARPER, certified reviewer
"June Carryl is a revelation! This beautiful One Act is a must see! It is powerful and poignant and gloriously performed and written by the afore mentioned June Carryl. I have no idea how the world hasn’t latched onto the star potential that she has, but take the opportunity while you can and watch her work her magic on the stage as a struggling former leading actress/civil rights activist lost in a new world that has seemingly left her behind. Just gorgeous! Review by RYAN BERGMANN, certified reviewer
"It’s almost unfair how much talent June has… as a writer, performer and all around artist. La Bete is hilarious, entertaining, touching, and thought provoking— bringing the audience face to face with the question, “what is art’s purpose?” Is it to entertain? To instigate change? Should it have political value or is there value enough in just making one laugh? La Bete will entertain and have you thinking… I want to see it again to catch all the nuances I missed and to watch June transform into the wonderful character she has written. This is a definite must-see at the Fringe." Review by NINA HARADA,certified reviewer
Passionate. Intelligent. Brave. This play is tremendously witty and heartfelt. June is a forced to be reckoned with both as an actor and writer. Excellent, refreshing work. SARAH TITHER-KAPLAN, certified reviewer
Really enjoyed the show. Great writing, acting and direction. June Carryl throws herself into the role and never looks back — a joy to watch.Review by JEREMY MASCIA
June Carryl is a powerhouse. A sweet, sad, and often funny piece that explores the dimming of a star. Review by MICHAEL SHEPPERD, Artistic Director - Celebration Theatre Los Angeles
June Carryl as Marian is mesmerizing. I wish the play had a second act so I could watch her incredible performance for another hour. Her play is funny, snappy, and heartbreaking. James Carey’s direction is perfect and Mark Motyl plays Alan with such gentle love and weariness, you can’t help but love Marian when she’s being impossible. So come on producers – give us more La Bete! Review by MICHAL SINNOTT, certified reviewer
Conceived, Directed and Produced by James Carey
A LA WEEKLY 'GO' PICK
"Having seen this show some time ago, it's good to report that a number of rough edges have been smoothened, so that this cabaret-style tribute to the music of the Beatles returns in fine form. This go-round, instead of a bland backdrop, the stage is festooned with a colorful collage of posters from the group's albums and individual concerts. Also, in this version there are four actors (two men, two women) instead of six, which makes for a smoother run and less distraction. Some new songs have been added, but the bulk of the selections are the Beatles' popular love songs, which Marc Ginsburg, Betsy Hammer, Victoria Summer and John Szura sing with nary a missed note under James Carey's direction. What really makes this show is the laid-back, cabaret atmosphere, which was completely absent before. Also added are a few well-timed gags. The instrumental soundtrack has undergone a few tweaks as well — it's a tad more conventional, but it makes for easy listening. Some highlights are “If I Fell,” flawlessly rendered by Ginsburg; “Hello” and “Come Together” performed by the group; and “We Can Work it Out,” sung by Szura." Estell Lovett III, LA WEEKLY
"This smash hit is sure to thrill audiences."
"Songs of love, loss, redemption and memory tell powerful stories..." LA Talk Radio Network
"Director James Carey, whose productions have won over 13 Drama-Logue Awards, successfully guides his talented cast into a lively heartfelt portrayal of Charles Lindbergh’s life. " - SoCal.com
"The West Coast premiere of Garth Wingfield's play ask those very questions. Fame, Media, and Public Image all merge in this superbly told story of Lindbergh's rapid rise and fall from great hero to public fool all in 14 years." Onstage411.com
"Gerald Downey does a fine turn as the Everyman pilot...James Carey provides good direction." - LA WEEKLY