Jane and Emma
Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love
(a book comprising the plays Little Happy Secrets and Pilot Program)
The Edible Complex
Pride and Prejudice
Little Happy Secrets
Standing Still Standing
Eric Snider of The Crooked Marquee says that Jane and Emma “is the rare film that’s spiritually uplifting without glossing over the hard parts…. Larson’s tight screenplay…has the two women asking tough questions about their faith, their religion, and their faith in their religion, but it never paints either of them as wholly one thing or another.”
Sean Means of The Salt Lake Tribune reviews Jane and Emma: “The film carries a subtly woven commentary about the strength of women during adversity. That strength is embodied by the title characters, putting this major moment in Latter-day Saint history in a new light.”
Joseph Peterson of the blog This Week in Mormons calls Jane and Emma "history worth revisiting.” He comments specifically on the script: “Larson’s dialogue itself is both restrained and measured, full of authentic interaction—itself a writer’s feat—and occasionally dazzles with attitude, verve, and wit.”
Year of Polygamy Podcast host Lindsay Hansen Park writes that Jane and Emma “is beautifully written. The script is stunning and poignant…. This film honors these women. Full stop. It allows them to be complicated, messy, and real. Like I said, it is raw. It doesn't hold back.”
Jane and Emma “represents the best on-screen attempt to capture the complexity of Nauvoo and the staggering internal conflicts these women faced.” — Steve Evans at By Common Consent.
Lottie Peterson Johnson of The Deseret News says of Jane and Emma: “The film is rooted in limited historical record, but it does something remarkable with that limitation: It shows us why Jane's story is one worth telling.”
“The movie finds its strength in two main areas: a clever script and solid acting…. There are several moments in the film, some light-hearted and some heavy with drama, where the script gifts to the viewer a satisfying helping of ratiocination, like a hearty meal straight from momma’s kitchen.” — Matthew Brooks, KSL Radio
Rebecca Child Bateman recently reviewed Third Wheel and her response was incredibly positive: “It’s the psychology that nips at your heart and mind. You could jump into the shoes of any of these characters and feel for the conflict that they must deal with and wonder where you would land.”
Current Association for Mormon Letters president Theric Jepson wrote a very nice response to Third Wheel on his personal blog: “My favorite aspect of both plays is how, by the end, the characters' pain is my own, and I feel they are friends of mine and that I must be there for them. This sort of empathy may be what art is for. I pray we take it with us back into our relationships with the living.”
Writer James Goldberg wrote a lovely Twitter thread this past weekend (12/17/2018) encouraging people to buy and read Third Wheel. His tweets were then collected as a review on the Association for Mormon Letters blog. A snippet (tweet?): “Mel is at her very best writing for the intimacy of the stage…. There’s a gentleness to the way these plays will break your heart.”
Julie Bowman reviews Third Wheel for the Fall 2017 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. "Each burst of feeling for Brennan that Claire shares with us possesses the electricity that all of us who have ever been in love will recognize. The play's movement toward its climactic scene is gripping and breathless in its intensity.... [The protagonists'] narrations provide privileged access to their thoughts. These interventions create intimacy and interiority. This intimacy is the critical strength of these plays.... Third Wheel shows us characters with pain points that prompt us to discuss their conditions. These dilemmas matter a great deal to the spectrum of conversations currently underway in the LDS community. It's worth reading, staging, and discussing these plays."
Conor Hilton shares some wonderful insights in his review of Third Wheel. "These are the sorts of stories that we need more of. Stories that confront some of our biggest challenges and concerns and struggles as a faith community... The way the characters respond felt so real and true. Probably the best depiction of receiving a spiritual prompting I’ve ever encountered."
Christie Clark Rasmussen of the online literary journal Segullah reviews Third Wheel: "Few playwrights have written such rich, humorous, yet relatable contemporary female roles."
Blogger, writer, and archivist-in-training Ted Lee reviews Third Wheel: "These two works...are more than stories about romantic yearning and heartbreak. They are stories about faith...they are also stories about the ending of worlds."
The blog Expert Textperts reviews Third Wheel: "This book perfectly captured the fear of so many Mormon women in love... I can't recommend reading this one enough."
Les Roka writes in The Utah Review that The Edible Complex "excels as imaginative children's theater".
9-year-old Presley Josephine Caywood found that "seeing The Edible Complex made me feel better about myself."
Daisy Blake Perry of Gephardt Daily says that " 'The Edible Complex' gives audience food for thought".
Danny Bowes of Salt Lake City Weekly says that Pilot Program is a “poignant, accessible work.”
Award-winning playwright Eric Samuelsen praises Pilot Program as “lovely,” “extraordinary,” and “a searing examination of” LDS polygamy.
Les Roka of The Utah Review states that Pilot Program as “impressively executed” and that it “serves as one of Plan-B’s most definitive examples of its artistic brand.”
Salt Lake Magazine says Pilot Program is “truly groundbreaking.”
The Utah Theatre Bloggers Association’s Dave Mortensen writes “You’d do well to see this perspective on faith in Plan-B’s Pilot Program.”
Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks of the Feminist Mormon Housewives says that Pilot Program is “complex,” “rich,” and “an evening well spent.”
SLC Feminist Chelsea Kilpack describes Pilot Program as “a gut-wrenching journey of exploration.”
Artists of Utah’s 15 Bytes calls Pilot Program “excellent” and “a fine tragicomedy.”
Barbara Bannon of The Salt Lake Tribune says “Plan-B’s Pilot Program is thought-provoking and haunting.”
Zach Archuleta of The Utah Theatre Bloggers Association says that Pride and Prejudice is “an intimate piece of theatre full of the wit and precision of the original.” Here is his full review.
Blair Howell of The Deseret News calls Mel’s stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice “rich and humorous” and “a monumental achievement.” Read the rest of his review here.
Ashley Kelly of Front Row Reviewers calls the script for Pride and Prejudice “a breath of fresh air”. Read the full review here.
Eris91 of the Young Mormon Feminists writes a very positive and open Review of Little Happy Secrets.
Theater Lover Megan Pedersen reviews Little Happy Secrets: Keeping Secrets — “It’s What We Do!”
Front Row Reviewers Utah’s Ben Christensen writes that In Echo Theatre’s Little Happy Secrets, Big Things Come in Small Packages.
Liz Lund Oppelt of the Utah Theatre Bloggers write a very positive review: Little Happy Secrets: a simple and honest play.
There were several solid reviews for the Salt Lake Acting Company’s Fearless Fringe production of Little Happy Secrets, including: Utah Theatre Bloggers, The Salt Lake Tribune, and Utah’s Art Magazine 15 Bytes. **Readers should be wary, however; all three reviews include serious spoilers.
Utah Theatre Bloggers reviews the Southern Utah University production of Little Happy Secrets: A little, happy production of Little Happy Secrets.
Mahonri Stewart wrote a 5-part review of the New Play Project anthology Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project, including Little Happy Secrets, on the blog A Motley Vision. You can read his reaction to the play here.
Literature scholar and professor Gideon Burton’s response to Little Happy Secrets: A Brave and Reverent Mormon Play.
Callie Oppendisano of the Utah Theatre Bloggers Association discusses what makes Martyrs’ Crossing: A Provoking Play.
Joel Applegate of Front Row Reviewers writes that Martyrs’ Crossing: A Story of Joan of Arc Inspires.
A Theater Lover Megan Pedersen’s very positive response to Martyrs’ Crossing at the Echo Theatre can be read here: Martyrs’ Crossing Soars with Beauty!
Theric Jepson shares a brief but positive reader’s response to the script of Martyrs’ Crossing (scroll down a bit to 092).
The Deseret News names BYU’s production of Martyrs’ Crossing (under the title Angels Unaware) as one of the best Utah Valley theatre productions of 2006: Year-end Theater Wrap-up.
Mahonri Stewart reviews Martyrs’ Crossing (under the title Angels Unaware) for the Association of Mormon Letters.
The Deseret News reviews Martyrs’ Crossing (under the title: Angels Unaware).
Front Row Reviewer Kara Henry’s response to Persuasion: Zion Theatre Company’s Persuasion Would Make Jane Austen Proud.
Utah Theatre Bloggers Association staff member Amber Peck also attended: Persuasion feels like Austen to me.
The Deseret News reviews: A Flickering inspired by early films.
The Utah Theatre Bloggers Association says A Flickering in Provo is not to be missed.
The UVU Review reviews A Flickering: A theatrical glimpse into the origins of film.
"Wake up and go to Standing Still Standing," -- Russell Warne, Utah Theatre Bloggers Association. Read his full review.
Gideon Burton reviews Standing Still Standing: Standing Ovation for Standing Still Standing.
Rhombus Magazine reviews Standing Still Standing.
InThisWeek.com reviews Standing Still Standing: A Provo playwright delves into the surreal world of a young wife and the husband who’s sleeping through their marriage.
The Deseret News’ Mormon Times discusses the new production of Standing Still Standing: Dealing with LDS cabin fever.