Review Rundown for "I've Never Been So Happy" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

Reviews are in for "I've Never Been So Happy," the new over-the-top cowboy musical from the Austin-based theater troupe Rude Mechanicals playing through October 23 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

 

Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times Blog calls the play "a freewheeling carnival of a show," and continues:

for those on the same wacky wavelength as Rude Mechs — and this boldly experimental group has earned its cult following — “I’ve Never Been So Happy” will no doubt possess a cobweb-clearing comic force.

My score card lists more points for style than substance. I especially admired the layered production design and the score’s chuckling interplay of cabaret, country and western and operatic forms, performed by an onstage orchestra dominated by — what else? — violins. The show’s zany imagination, however, is overtaxed. ... The commitment of the cast is a thrill, but the shenanigans have dud patches, and the parody can seem aimless and diffuse.

He concludes that the play displays more style than substance, but also agrees that it "seems pointless to criticize [the play] for lacking substance. It’s no sillier than most Broadway blockbusters, but it sure is a whole lot more original."

 

John Young on EW.com says the musical, "feels like the late-night, Mountain Dew-fueled creation of some clever 12-year-olds, and whether that's a compliment or a criticism will depend on one's willingness to adjust to the show's nonsensical antics. As for me, Happy lassoed my admiration." He concludes: "With only 18 performances, Angelenos had better hurry if they want to catch this Texan delight before it disappears into the horizon."

 

Daniel Boden in UCLA's Daily Bruin says, "By no means is the play a modern masterpiece, but it certainly serves up some first-rate theater that artfully exploits its own childish surface to reveal a mature understanding of happiness."

 

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