Past shows and Reviews

'Tortellini' is titillating in Allentown
Set­tle down for an evening of Barlieb’s fun­ni­est writ­ing and some ter­rific act­ing by a tal­ented cast.
October 2014
  Sydney Davis
Lehigh Valley Stage
Allentown, PA TheBrothersTortellini thumb


Quirky 'Brothers Tortellini' a tasty treat
“Tortellini” author and direc­tor Ara Bar­lieb puts his own spin on this “toga com­edy” with the famil­iar Crowded Kitchen bawdi­ness, slap­stick and quirk­i­ness.
October 2014
  Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, pA


'Half' is wholeheartedly superb
Barlieb has concocted an experience which blurs the lines of the space-time continuum between 1860’s Czarist Russia and the swinging 60’s of Andy Warhol and Austin Powers.
June 2014
  David Fox
Lehigh Valley Stage
Allentown, PA web medium poster


Crowded Kitchen has fun with 'Too Clever'
The Crowded Kitchen cast makes valiant efforts to keep things on the low road with physical shtick, bawdy humor and over-the-top characterizations. Director Ara Barlieb's fast pacing makes the time pass quickly.
June 2014
  Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA


'A Shropshire Lad' an exquisite production from start to finish
The pacing of the story is perfect, the set and lighting evocative. The talented ensemble cast of 16 brings life to the poetry of A,E. Housman.Shropshire drinker
March/April 2014
   Ellen Blickman
Lehigh Valley Stage
Quakertown, PA


Lovers of poetry will love 'A Shropshire Lad'
Crowded Kitchen Players have taken a collection of 19th century poems and brought them to life in a Welsh pub where a melancholy poet sits writing by himself, surrounded by exuberant life.
March/April 2014
   Kathy Lauer-Williams
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Crowded Kitchen Players turn 'Christmas Carol' upside down
Holding the proceeding together is Scrooge, played with cranky menace by David Oswald. He is taken on the familiar journey to past, present and future by a pair of tarts in corsets and falling-down stockings.carol uncropped
December 2013
   Kathy Lauer-Williams
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Funny 'Flea' flies faster than its manic actorsposter
October
2013
 It's a classic farce, it's French, the male actors play women and the women play men, and it all resolves around sex. What more could you want?
    
Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

     
Crowded Kitchen Players' whirlwind of mirth
October 2013
The laughs are the point -- from guffaws to chortles. For a comedy--- 'A Flea in Her Ear'---that will have you smiling from ear to ear, don't miss this production by the Lower Macungie-based CKP.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press
Bethlehem, PA

Power-packed performances bring a classic to life, Crowded Kitchen style
March 2013
The second act was shot out of a cannon and flew like greased lightning until the curtain.upside down 2 document photo
  
Walter Buss
Lehigh Valley Stage
Allentown, PA

Crowded Kitchen's 'Born Yesterday' is delightful madcap comedy
March 2013
Director Ara Barlieb's talented cast has captured Garson Kanin's madcap wit, physicality, and innocence.

     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'Parfumerie' is funny, charming, full of good cheer

December 2012

This is not your typical Christmas tale filled with youngsters and good cheer,Parfumerie set but one filled with romance, lechery and treachery, and a lot of laughs.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA
 
'Design for Murder' is a fun, over-the-top whodunit
October 2012Design

What makes 'Design for Murder' such fun is that the characters are so exaggerated that before long we think that each one of them exhibits malevolent motives and murderous tendencies.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Crowded Kitchen Players' 'Animal Crackers' is silly fun from beginning to end
June 2012crackers 1 thumb

I had no idea what 'Animal Crackers' was all about, but after a while I didn't care but just sat there and enjoyed the physical and verbal antics of this large and enthusiastic cast at McCoole's Arts * Events Place in Quakertown..
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Mystery and fun from Crowded Kitchen Players in ‘Death Takes a Holiday’
March 2012

Ara Barlieb, the director of the Crowded Kitchen Players, has an indomitable spirit and fearlessly chooses plays without marquee recognition. The company's current production, the Italian comedic fantasy "Death Takes a Holiday," is a winner. Not only is it great fun, but it is full of fascinating insights into life, death and the transformative effects of love.Best of 2012
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'The Down of a Thistle' an antidote to saccharine cheer
December 2011thistlethumb

In this original comedy/mystery written and directed by Ara Barlieb, presents are exchanged, drinks proliferate, and corpses pile up during a snowstorm in the Moore family vacation lodge in the Adirondacks.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'The Maltese Falcon' is funny, suspenseful
September 2011falconthumb

What makes this version so interesting is that it combines the suspense of the Bogart version with the farce of a version that starred Bette Davis. The result is a plot which unfurls, slowly tantalizing the audience with mysterious bits and pieces.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'39 Steps' a wonderful laugh-a-minute farce
June 201139small

Uses British Music Hall humor to create a fast-paced, thoughtfully original, acrobatic and clever mystery thriller. Ara Barlieb and his always eager troupe have put the company's unique stamp on this suspense-filled farce.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'Brendan' will get your Irish up
March 2011brendanthumb
There could be no better way to get in touch with your Irish side than to see “Brendan,” the Crowded Kitchen Players' production. The two-act play being given its Lehigh Valley debut, written by Ronan Noone and directed by Ara Barlieb, is funny and emotional while examining our human condition.
     Douglas Graves
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

'Brendan' absorbing and unusual theater for St. Pat's
March 2011

Much of what we associate with the Irish is here, both good and bad — overprotective mothers, the easy Irish charm (Brendan is nicknamed "Smiler"), close friendships, heavy drinking and violence, and love of the old country. It is a perfect entertainment for the shamrock season.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

The Players pull off a comedy 'Miracle'
December 2010miraclethumb

It's not only high-energy entertainment, it's funny, very funny. I was frequently convulsed with laughter. Playwright-director Ara Barlieb has not only pulled off this “Miracle,” he has done so with panache, ably backed by a never-better crack 13-member cast of mostly CKP regulars in multiple roles.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

Crowded Kitchen ramps up the pace of Neil Simon's 'Rumors'
October 2010rumorspostsm

This is the kind of thing Ara Barlieb and the Crowded Kitchen Players love to do. If you can keep up with the fast pace, 'Rumors' will give you a diverting evening.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'Rumors has it in Quakertown
October 2010

The Players, as always, are game to tackle the material, and tackle it they do with pratfalls aplenty, frenetic running about, and bellicosity that would do The Three Stooges proud.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

Players' comedy 'Shore' thing
March 2010shorethumb

For its 10th anniversary and 40th production, Crowded Kitchen Players takes a vacation from rediscovering a treasure trove of classic American theater and points its "mettle" detector at "Shore Insanity."
     Paul Willistein
The Bethlehem Press
Bethlehem, PA

ABEs salute LV stage
January 2010

Best Play: "Driving Miss Daisy" Ara Barlieb, directing James Symmons, Sydney Davis and Tom Harrison, restores a classic.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

'Inspecting Carol' spoofs Dickens' classic and funding for the arts
December 2009inspecting2thumb

'Inspecting Carol' is the kind of broad slapstick comedy that the seasoned Crowded Kitchen Players thrive on. It offers many opportunities to demonstrate their physical and verbal agility and shamelessly make fun of themselves as they make up fun for their audience.
     Myra Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

'Inspecting' fun for everyone
December 2009

When a hardworking community theater troupe mixes money problems, talent issues, a changing script and a short-fused rehearsal schedule, they get mayhem, angst and hilarity.
     Douglas Graves
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

A Christmas Carol you could never imagine or ever forget!
October/December 2009

A must see play, adventurous in all aspects presented by a very talented ensemble!
     Francis Licopoli
The Press
Quakertown, PA

Crowded Kitchen Players presents a fresh look at familiar 'Daisy'
October/November 2009daisy

Even if you have seen the film, this show directed by Ara Barlieb will give you a new viewpoint that is fresh as a "Daisy."
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Quakertown, PA

Here's what's 'Driving Miss Daisy'
October/November 2009

Driving Miss Daisy is one of the best productions now on stage in the Lehigh Valley and possibly the year.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

Crowded Kitchen Players' 'Tovarich' is silly and delightful fun
October 2009tovarich2

The actors are lively throughout the five scenes and two acts, resulting in a great evening with a rarely seen play.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Crowded Kitchen Players' 'To Be or Not to Be' is a fast-moving farce
June 2009tobe1

The entire cast of 10, under the direction of Ara Barlieb, combine pratfalls, suspense and great comic timing with the usual Crowded Kitchen talent. There is no question that "To Be Or Not To Be" works.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

CKP's 'Manchurian Candidate' has guts, glory
March 2009manchcand

Crowded Kitchen Players' "The Manchurian Candidate" packs the excitement of a 3-D action movie, from its damning opening monologue, delivered with the bedside manner of Josef Mengele, to its final crypic line.
     Diana Morse
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

'Sherlock' is intriguing
December 2008christmasgoose

This intriguing whodunit-- an amalgam of three classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories adapted by company director Ara Barlieb-- is full of suspense, eccentric characters and surprisingly good British accents.
     Steve Siegel
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Crowded Kitchens Players' 'Play Ball' a homerun
June 2008chicago

CKP slap shtick is tossed like spit balls, with onstage busines by the troup's stock players and has uncanny relevance for the scandal-obsessed media and politics.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

'The Prisoner of Zenda' a swashbuckler worth a look
June 2008zendathumb

It's not often that you get to see a classic swashbuckler on stage, where honor and courage actually mean something. Fans of stories like "The Three Musketeers" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel" should take this opportunity offered by director Ara Barlieb and his cast.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Fast-paced "Witness" will keep you guessing
March 2008witness2

The Players keep the courtroom drama moving with sharply drawn characterizations and fast-paced dialog.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

CKP "Witness" a masterpiece of theater
March 2008

"Witness for the Prosecution" is an absorbing production for fans of courtroom drama and Agatha Christie.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

Table set with "Old Lace' at Crowded Kitchen
December 2007arsenic2

With 'Arsenic and Old Lace," the comedy conservators once again restore an antique to bygone luster, making the old new again as the CKP collective brings another collectible to life.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

Drink in the Comfy Delight of 'Arsenic'
December 2007

What could be more Christmas-like than a few genteel murders? ''Arsenic and Old Lace'' is a finely roasted chestnut, with a comfortable stage set, including a Christmas tree, at McCoole's Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Call 'Room Service" for tasty vintage farce
October 2007roomservicethumb

The Crowded Kitchen Players and director Ara Barlieb seem to have cornered the Lehigh Valley market on this type of vintage farce, and they do not disappoint with their quick repartee and timing.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

With "Noises," the real laughs are in Quakertown
July 2007noises

As nimbly and briskly directed by Ara Barlieb, the production pulls few punches, and, true to CKP form, adds a few to what is arguably the ultimate backstage comedy.
     Paul Willistein
Bethlehem Press et al
Bethlehem, PA

"Noises Off' a perfectly timed slapstick treat
July 2007

Director Ara Barlieb and The Crowded Kitchen Players do it right in this two-hour show, with measured British accents and perfectly timed slapstick.
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Hamming it up works in farcical 'Hamlet'
February 2007hamlet

The best part of this production is the interaction, both verbal and with swords, between Barrymore, played to the hilt by David Oswald, in tight black tights and a highly distracting red codpiece, and J.D. Lepeta as Andrew. The transformation of Andrew into a full blown Shakespearean actor is great fun to watch.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Physical, bawdy 'Sly Fox' romps at Silkwerks
October 2006slyfox

Larry Gelbart's update of Ben Jonson's cynical satire about greed, avarice and lust is the perfect vehicle for the Crowded Kitchen Players' physical comedy and slapstick shenanigans. And director Ara Barlieb has pushed his cast to the limit.
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Undying charm makes 'Heaven' a winner
May 2006heaven
If you are a fan of old comedy movies, here is your chance to see one come to life. The Crowded Kitchen Players have a special knack for this type of classic, with drawing rooms of the rich, sinister plotting, exasperated detectives and help from a guardian angel.
     David Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

A funny and entertaining evening
May 2006

Director Ara Barlieb has kept this show moving, and deep philosophical questions take a back seat to the laughs. The characterizations are big and so are the physical aspects of the show.
     Bill Thobaben
Hearthstone Town and Country
Montgomery County, PA

Inherit the Wind is still relevant today
January 2006inherit

This version by the Crowded Kitchen Players has inherited very little wind, with its fast pace and strong characterizations. Director Ara Barlieb, who usually produces farces, proves that he and his troupe of players can evolve easily from comedy to drama.
     David Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA

Inherit the Wind triumphant in Quakertown
January 2006

For their first production in Quakertown, Crowded Kitchen Players are providing an impressive performance that local theater enthusiasts will not want to miss. The entire cast, from the science teacher to the judge, interpret the script with strength, conviction and polish.
     Linda Quinby
Hearthstone Town and Country
Montgomery County, PA

None should miss Agatha Christie's 'None'
October 2005none

"And Then There Were None" is vintage Christie and is filled with enough tension and suspense to keep the theater company's growing following of enthusiasts happy. I don't know what is more fun--- watching the plot being set up or being amazed and confounded as the mystery is resolved.    
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

Crowded Kitchen Players' 'Needlemeyer' a hoot
May 2005seymourr

The Crowded Kitchen Players do their usual fine acting work. Many expertly balance multiple roles. The Resurrection of Seymour P. Needlemeyer might recall the Marx Borthers' Duck Soup' with sharp political satire hidden beneath slapstick and physical humor.    
     David Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

So much good theater, so little time to savor it all!
December 2004

I also got my first look at the work of The Crowded Kitchen Players. Their effervescent rendtition of A Thurber Carnival was so much fun that I returned to see their equally well done Christmas production, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Christmas Goose. This is a group that manages miracles in small spaces, and does it with flair, farce and fun.    
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

'Sherlock and the Christmas Goose' puts a satisfying spin on an original
December 2004 christmasgoose

Writer/Director Ara Barlieb has adapted three of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous Holmes mysteries to create an original and very satisfying story. Add in a capable and adaptable professional cast and a Christmas theme, and the result is a fast-moving and very entertaining production.    
     Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

'Slight Case of Murder' makes an enjoyable period piece
October 2004 murder

Runyon's characters make A Slight Case of Murder an enjoyable period piece, particularly when their dialogue is delivered with the crispness and panache of this production. Each of the 18 players captures the spirit of their characters, with many of the actors carrying two or three roles.    
     David Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

Every act is well worthing catching at 'A Thurber Carnival'
March 2004 thurberthumb

As staged in a cocktail-party setting by Ara Barlieb and his accomplished group of players, A Thurber Carnival is an old-fashioned verbal romp with puns, slapstick, one-liners, hilariously improbable events that all collide on stage in well-directed and cleverly staged chaos.    Myra Yellin Outwater
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

Pratfalls and solid acting succeed in entertaining 'Sherlock Holmes'
November 2003 sherlockposter

The Barlieb Wallace Production of Sherlock Holmes has taken liberties while retaining the familiar characters. The campy melodrama of the original work has been changed to out-and-out farce. The pratfalls and broad vaudeville gags take second place to solid acting and a fast-moving plot.    
     David Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

Irreverent attitude threads through 'Needlemeyer'
June 2003 seymour

Barlieb's old-timey entertainment is a hoot and a holler. By the final scene of Here Lies Seymour P. Needlemeyer, Barlieb's wickedly cynical script has taken on the press, capitalism and the justice system with lines such as, "You may be walking, talking and breathing, but in the infallible eyes of the law, you are deceased," and "Not doing anything and getting paid are nearly synonymous in the legal trade." .    
     Tony Sienzant
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA  
 
Snappy 'Twentieth Century' arrives in Bethlehem
October 2002 20thcentury

As staged by the Crowded Kitchen Players at the Ice House in Bethlehem, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur'sTwentieth Century is a farce that captures the spirit and hilarity of vintage movie comedies, with a few added modern touches that make it even more hilarious.     
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA    

'Inspecting Carol' a funny poke at Dickens classic
December 2001

Inspecting Carol, presented by Barlieb Wallace Productions and the Crowded Kitchen Players in Allentown, satirizes local theater productions of the Dickens play without ever being mean-spirited. The play-within-a-play version of A Christmas Carol is likely to be the worst version that you will ever see--- and the funniest!    
     Dave Howell
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA 
   
For fast-paced mystery, don't miss 'Front Page'
January 2001 frontpage

The veteran players of Barlieb Wallace Productions really have their act together at the Theatre Outlet's TO2 Second Stage. In a roller-coaster ride of action and fast-paced dialogue, they exhume The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's classic play originally presented in 1928.    
     Tony Sienzant
The Morning Call
Allentown, PA  
 
Plot twist turns 'Sly Fox' into a spectacle of greed run amok
July 2000 slyfoxsm

What a great, riotous and very funny evening awaits you when you go see the current production of Theatre Outlet's TO2 Second Stage, the Barlieb Wallace Productions performance of Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox. This show is raucous, loud and worth every penny.    
     Bill Thobaben
Hearthstone Town & Country
Montgomery County, PA