Monday, July 27, 2015


This is a charming update of Moliere’s comedy about a pompous guy who insists on telling everyone what he thinks of them and invariably insults and hurts them. He is in love with a fun-loving gal who enjoys saying clever but nasty quips about everyone behind their backs. They seem to be a match made in heaven, until he is sued for slander and her witty notes to a friend are read by all. Directed and adapted by Tony Tanner, this one hour show, outdoors under shade trees, is a delightful way to spend a summer afternoon. Set in the 1930’s, the costumes and the high-style performances suit the play well and, as in the original, it’s told in verse.
Plaudits to a cast who both vocally and theatrically pervade the open space. Christopher Salazar and Rebecca Lincoln are the delightfully mismatched lovers; Michael Faulkner and Kathy Bell Denton are their amusing antagonists; Thomas Anawalt and Jeffrey Scott Basham are hilarious as foolish suitors; while Christina Jacquelyn Calph and Mike Bingaman bring sweetness into this rather acidic tale.

Lovely costumes by Natalie Shahinyan and simply suggested set by Susan Deeley Wells. Produced by Suzanne Hunt and Alexander Wells, this Classical Theatre Lab production is presented by the City of West Hollywood’s Free Theatre In The Parks arts program.

At Kings Road Park, 1000 Kings Rd, West Hollywood, through August 16 at 4 pm. For performance dates and reservations call (323) 960-5691.

Photos by Garth Pillsbury.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ZULU TIME …in Hollywood.

Author Chuck Faerber, who did two tours of duty with the Navy in Vietnam, sets this play on an aircraft carrier carrying 3,000 men. Led by a half-mad commander, whose mission is to teach the men below him to be able to kill without an instants pause, there is no room for fairness or doubt on this man’s ship.  

It begins when the ship is conducting flight training over the Mojave Desert, and the reactions to the Watts riots precipitates a violent confrontation. Later, when they are in the Gulf of Tonkin, sending death across nearby jungles, they hear of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

There is an ironic parallel, when the speeches of a fanatical WW II Japanese commander are juxtaposed against the American commander’s demand for unblinking obedience. Whether the enemy are soldiers or children, killing is the purpose. 

This requires closing off human feelings and normal reactions but, in the end, the play suggests that we can move into a more enlightened era.

Standouts in the huge cast are Christopher T. Wood, John Marzilli, David Ghilardi, Scott Keiji Takeda and Byron Hays, with fine backup by Acquah Dansoh, Ruffy Landayan, Trevor Larson, Jake Hundley, Tony Grosz and Joe Spence. 

Under Richard Kuhlman’s imaginative staging, we see claustrophobia and prejudice, but also pride, discipline and courage. Superb production values by Gary Lee Reed (Set & Props), Donny Jackson (Lights), David B. Marling (Sound), and Gina Davidson (Costumes).

At Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, through August 9. For tickets: (323) 960-7740 or

Photos by Ed Krieger.

Monday, July 20, 2015

THE GREAT DIVIDE …in Hollywood


In Lyle Kessler’s new play we meet two brothers who were robbed of a mother and are having to deal with their towering aggressive father. The elder son is a drifter who fled years before, the younger is a recluse who secretly writes stories. Although Father is a loudmouth, he has love for his sons, but keeps it as well hidden as the fortune he plans to leave as his legacy. 

The first half of the play promises to explore this great divide in families. There is a baseball game that shows togetherness can work, but then it veers away into a series of senseless physical battles. These folk, who live in middle America, seem to reside in a constant state of conflict and rage. When two people climb in the window looking for the eldest son it gets more confusing. Here is a pregnant girl who lacks a uterus (sic), and her demented gun-toting sibling who lost an arm in some catastrophe.

The actors are all good: Richard Chaves as ambiguous dad; Adam Haas Hunter as rebellious son; Brandon Bales as timid kid brother; Kimberly Alexander as bewildered girlfriend, and Mark McClain Wilson as the crazy interloper.

Energetically directed by David Fofi. Produced by Bren Coombs and Shannon McManus for Elephant Theatre Company. Set, sound, and lighting design by Elephant Stageworks.

At the Lillian Theatre.1076 N. Lillian Way, Hollywood, through August 29th. Tickets available at or by calling 323-960-4429.

Photos by Bren Coombs.

Thursday, July 16, 2015



In this intriguing tale, a British playwright takes a classical French farce and makes it into a modern study of the search for love, versus the lust for money. A stark set of angling steps, a magnificent cast at full throttle, and witty dialogue, make this a must-see. Is it wise to unmask a scoundrel by pretending to be what you’re not? This is a question author Pierre de Marivaux asked back in 1724 and, under Martin Crimp’s modern twist, resounds today.

There are many false servants in the play, because nearly everyone plays a deceitful role. Chastity Dotson is an heiress who impersonates a man-servant to gain the confidence and friendship of her unknown betrothed.  Christian Leffler is the lothario who plays a dangerous game thinking his opponents are merely foolish women. Barry Del Sherman is a beggarly aristocrat who knows that without money good manners amount to zilch.
Dorie Barton is the Countess, a rich lady too easily duped by sweet words and intimate sexual promises. Mathew Bazulka is the boyish servant willing to betray his master for money and sexual favors. Cody Chappel, is a balladeer, singing about love but with a twist of irony since when the truth comes out all dreams are dashed.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo with style and mischievous flair. Elegant set by Frederica Nascimento, and effective sound by John Ballinger - who composed the music to lyrics by Crimp and Chappel. Opulent costumes by Leah Piehl.

An Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and The Evidence Room co-production. At The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., through Sept 6. Tickets: (310) 477-2055 or

Photos by Diego Barajas & Sharrow Photography.