Tuesday, September 22, 2015


     A hobo who has dropped out of society and is content to live under a highway overpass receives an invitation to a luxury mansion. 

There he meets a number of wealthy and apparently successful people – the owner, his elegant wife, his hedonistic daughter, a cynical manservant and finally an invalid locked in the attic.

    All bombard him with their theories of the meaning of life but, being a man who wants nothing, they cannot seduce him by any means. This leads to imagined murder, sexual fantasies and finally the confrontation with his deeply hidden regrets and desires. When he discovers that he wants the luxurious life offered it becomes the signal for his downfall. The message is that desire corrupts and true freedom is lost when we learn to want.
    Told in a series of blackouts, with sounds of thunder and perhaps gunfire to emphasize the oncoming threat, author-director Chris Kelley keeps us almost as hypnotized throughout as is his hero. Illustrating this bitter statement on our own culture’s obsession with ownership, Darrett Sanders is the confounded hero, Joe Mahon is his more easily manipulated friend, Doug Burch is the cynical mogul, Chantelle Albers his dissolute wife, Erin Fleming is the demanding daughter, Carl J. Johnson the bemused paterfamilias and Alexis DeLaRosa the ambitious servant.

At Theatre of Note, 1517 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood. Through Oct 24. Tickets: 323-856-8611 or www.theatreofnote.com

Photos by James Olsen & John Kenower.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

RAVENSCROFT …in Westchester

The setting is familiar – a murder has occurred in a desolate English manor house in the early 1900's and there are five suspects who all tell a different version of the death. Who to believe? 

Detective Inspector Ruffing has notepad ready to jot down the salient clues but, faced with five opinionated and cagey females, his patience is stretched to the limit. 

Which of these gals pushed handsome Patrick down the stairs so he broke his neck? Seems all of them had reason to, and most are eager to confess, but clearly only one did the deed. Author Don Nigro deals happily but non traditionally with the Gothic-thriller genre. With five fiery dames, a spooky mansion, upstairs-downstairs conflict, snow piling up outside, the plot thickens and it sometimes appears the detective himself might be flung down a staircase or two before the night is done.

Scot Renfro is delightful as the baffled but skeptical sleuth; Jessica Marshall-Gardiner is impudently refined as the mysterious governess; Andrea Stradling is pompously lascivious as the Lady of the Manor; Kati Schwartz is wonderfully bratty as her overly imaginative teenage daughter; Deborah Ishida is hilariously inscrutable as the frowsy housekeeper and Jennifer Marion is ingenuously tactless as the blowsy kitchen maid.

Imaginatively directed by Sheridan Cole Crawford with foreground action that keeps the dramatic tension flowing. Clever set by Jim Crawford, lighting by Richard Potthoff, sound by Susan Stangl and costumes by Marie Olivas. Produced by Larry Jones for The Kentwood Players.

At the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Ave, Westchester, through October 17. Tickets: (310) 645-5156 or www.kentwoodplayers.org
Photo credit:  Larry Jones
Also reviewed in the October issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Hey, I thought I knew a lot about William Shakespeare, but in this daring and informative show I learned not only about what makes him tick but also that he could sing! 

This is no solemn impersonation of a faceless icon, but a flesh and blood entertainment that gives meaning to what makes a genius. You’ll enjoy Shakespeare’s last night out, carousing with you as he confides his sometimes regretful past, and you’ll learn a few truths you never imagined.
Actor Michael Shaw Fisher wrote the script, and also music and lyrics for 13 amusing tavern songs. Some are so witty it makes you believe he must’ve written those 38 plays after all. In fact, as Will, he scornfully challenges a member of the audience who presumably holds to the theory that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, wrote his plays and poems!

If you love Shakespeare you mustn’t miss it. If you hardly know or care about him then I guarantee you’ll be converted. Even a genius was once a man and Shaw Fisher, under Jeff Sumner’s brilliant direction, brings him to life. It’s no wonder this musical-one-man show won Best Solo Performance at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival. As for the pertinent costume – breeches like that should soon be all the rage!

Musical accompaniment by versatile musician Allison Faith Sulock and guitarist Gordon Wimpress. Produced by Orgasmico Theatre Company. At Three Clubs Lounge, 1123 N. Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Friday evenings & Sunday matinees through Nov 1. For reservations: (800) 838-3006 ext.1 or Shakespearemusical.brownpapertickets.com 

Photos by David Haverty.
Also reviewed in the October issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY