"Brilliant! Defies the rules of conventional theater and uniquely engaging. Breathtaking and with a sumptuous three-course dinner. What more could anyone ask?"
(Erin Aubry Kaplan, LA Weekly)
"The vision is remarkable ... as an approximation of life, the evening is without peer."
(Wenzel Jones, Backstage West)
"Impressive and with the awe-inspiring faded opulence of the Los Angeles Theatre, an architectural jewel."
(Julio Martinez, Daily Variety)
"It‚s one unforgettable experience and a close encounter with ŒAlma‚ is a must!"
(Jim Farber, Daily Breeze)
Alma is a highly memorable and unique experience. The true star of this show is ironically the set decoration, as virtually all of the furniture, art and clutter which adorns the production was shipped from Europe especially for this presentation. It’s not difficult to be entertained, looking down on tables and grand pianos strewn with old music scores, brass-framed beds occupied by antique dolls on delicate lace covers, and observing an unbelievable collection of original period oil paintings and lithographs on every wall. Billed as a “living movie,” Alma is an amazing evening out, a true excursion into what imagination—and a large budget—can do to make live theatre happen.
(ENTERTAINMENT TODAY, 11/5/04 by Travis Michael Holder)
The pace of the play is frantic, intimate and ultimately dizzying all wrapped into one.
Alma is Spanish for Soul. And soul is what characterizes this poly-drama based on the tumultuous life of Alma Mahler-Werfel. In LA, with few notable exceptions, we’re used to Vanilla theater acts. The inhabitants of this city, home to the world of film entertainment, don’t often have as entertainment options, challenging mind-benders. We like our spectacles to obey the rules of museum tours: someone holds our hand, points to the beginning, middle and end. God forbid we get confused (isn’t that why we’re so fond of remote controls and rewinding DVD players and VCR’s?) Besides, movie rentals are only 2 to 3 bucks. What do you mean $125 dollars to go and see a play& what the hell is going on? If you have the cash, don’t even think it twice: pay for the ticket, immerse yourself in this ambitious play. Or to say it more suggestively, go and be lost in another time.
(Ventura County Star)
The actors working in this masterpiece all step up to the plate and put this town full of actors in guard: with or without you as an spectator, with one or one hundred witnesses around, their lines of dialogue and their acting goes on unbound, unflinching, unstopped. And to watch them hold their ground regardless of the number of people watching them is nothing short of remarkable. Their acting nothing but the equivalent of the vaccination we all need to remember how to stand in awe of the stage actor’s craft.
(Monday, October 11, 2004 - review by Sergio Martinez, Socal.com Editor)
And the guts and inspiration begin at the top: Viennese Producer Paulus Manker is also the play’s director, oh, and one of its actors, not to mention a food server and an assistant to the valet parking employees. He’s there to greet you at the theater‚s entrance, and after serving food, he performs in the last act. When it’s all done, fake blood and bandages around his head, he’s one of the last men standing in the almost deserted lobby when only worn-out actors and press representatives are hanging still around. Mr. Manker is not just the most multifaceted director I’ve ever seen. He’s been the original producer and director since the play‚s inception and debut in Vienna in 1996. There, the play was originally scheduled for 15 Œexperimental‚ performances but given its resounding success, it remained as a Vienna staple for the next 6 years.
Come on, go for it and feel cultured in this mostly vanilla town. You‚ve got until December 5 to check this jewel of a piece out.
Alma aims to satisfy more senses than your average work of theater and therefore it would seem to be a must see for those infatuated with the Mahlers or for theatergoers who are hungry for something new. To describe much more of Alma is to destroy its delicate assembly of stagecraft, music, historic re-creation, and gastronomy.
(James Taylor with Theatre Talk for KCRW)