Culture Watch


There are some amazing performance events taking place in Santa Monica and around town this week and beyond. Not the usual stage dramas but rather dance, music, spectacle, acrobatics and more.

Let’s start with The 7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts), whose “Cuisine and Confessions” will dazzle the Broad Stage in Santa Monica with four performances only, Feb. 16 – 18.

Music will be played. Food will be prepared. Whisks and bowls will be employed. Flour will be tossed in the air, as will performers. Aerial and acrobatic artists will leap through the air, tumbling through high frames and dancers will kick up their heels on the table. Please, kids, do not try this at home!!

This Montreal-based company is an off-shoot of Cirque du Soleil. Described as circus built on a human scale, their name translates literally as “the 7 fingers of the hand,” describing distinct parts, united tightly, moving in coordination toward a common goal.

The show is about storytelling through food, and life happens in the kitchen.

All individuals are composed of ingredients, a unique recipe of blood memories.  “Cuisine & Confessions” weaves the performers’ first person memories about the comestibles that are a part of their lives with The 7 Fingers’ dazzling circus skills.  And at the close, the audience leaves the theatre nibbling the banana bread that has been cooking all evening.

Real cooking, real food, and you’ll really be wowed. Call (310) 434-3200 or visit quickly before tickets sell out. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. with one matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m. Not to be missed!



If you were among those lucky enough to see the magical “Brief Encounter” by Kneehigh Theatre, it was an inventive, ingenious and enchanting production that received raves everywhere. Quite literally, you walked into a living movie onstage; both visually and emotionally, it blew me away. I saw it at The Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills in 2014.

The UK-based Kneehigh returns to the Wallis for a preview tonight, opening tomorrow night through March 5 with another of its masterful, family-oriented but adult-engaging stage productions, “946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.” It’s a homecoming for Kneehigh’s former Executive Producer, Paul Crewes, who is now Artistic Director of The Wallis, so it’s sure to be special to everyone involved.

Live music, puppetry, dance and visual sorcery highlight every theatrical event that Kneehigh stages. This one is an adaption by Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, of a novel by author Michael Morpurgo (“War Horse”), based on the true story of British townsfolk in a small seaside village far from the warfront, and the African-American soldiers sent there to rehearse the Normandy invasion from their shores, as seen through the eyes of a little girl and her beloved cat.

With its live swing band, its energetic dancing, singing and leave-your-seat-whistling tunes, the kids will love the action while the grown-ups will be touched by the ultimately life-affirming story of love, war and prejudice that spans generations, geography and time.

Performances take place Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll find tickets online at or by calling (310) 746-4000. Bring the family. The Wallis is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Check it out on YouTube.



Remember this line? “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Well, English majors – rejoice! It may not be a movie adaptation, but you are going to want to see Not Man Apart’s production “Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny,” a new interpretation of John Milton’s epic 17th century poem which many of us struggled through in our undergraduate years.

Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble was founded by John Farmanesh-Bocca, who brought us those memorable Shakespeare Santa Monica productions of the Bard’s classics presented in such unlikely venues as the tennis court at Christine Reed Memorial Park. He now serves as Director Emeritus of Not Man Apart (NMA) which specializes in re-examining the classics of literature and elevating them through athletics and dance into a visceral interpretation.

Paradise Lost tells the Biblical story of the fall of man, the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan and their expulsion from The Garden of Eden in Milton’s words, “to justify the ways of God to men.” And the words, they are many: written in twelve books, there are nearly 10,000 lines of blank verse, all of which the blind poet dictated.

And while this isn’t the Cliff notes edition, NMA’s Paradise Lost will feature dance, acrobatics, bodies flying across the stage on harness and chains, digital animation and video installations. While the ensemble battles as angels and demons, visual images

images of the creation of the universe and the Garden of Eden will be projected live on stage to weave an emotional tale surrounded by evocative original music and costumes.

The production takes place at one of L.A.’s lovelier small venues, the Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave., and you have plenty of time to get tickets. Performances take place Friday — Sunday, March 3 – 26. Tickets at (323) 673-0544 or


Sarah A. Spitz is an award-winning public radio producer, now retired from KCRW, where she also produced arts stories for NPR. She writes features and reviews for various print and online publications. Contact her at



Caption: Cuisine and Confessions, by The 7 Fingers at The Broad Stage