Category Archives: Theatre

Immigration and Identity, TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale Is Brilliant and Disturbing

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
 tracey paleo, gia on the move, theatre reviews, eastern european theatre

Tunde Skvoran and Julia Ubrankovics in TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale

“Different people can have different truths.”

It is strange and awesome to come full circle on a journey that began rather bumpily back in 2011 with a play called, BECHNYA, now transformed into TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale, by Samuel French Award-winning playwright, Saviana Stanescu. For L.A. Theatre audiences who have not witnessed the “full-on” Stanescu, it is important to note that TOYS has been brilliantly re-imagined by renowned Romanian stage director, Gabor Tompa, into a one act play from a variety of adaptations. Wherein the earlier BECHNYA version the story’s characters experience a much more gruesome and haunting beginning-to-end, and the 2011 Los Angeles mounting of this play was entirely convoluted in presentation and direction, here, TOYS, which initially formed as a discussion on immigration, takes on a distinctly surreal David Lynchian pastiche. Honest, raw, real and yet not real additionally adorned with a humorous confectionary finale.

Immediately recognizable in its evolutionary form, without hyperbole or any stage craft whatsoever getting in the way, TOYS plays out an aggressive and occasional “altered states” meeting of two women who have led very different lives, and who undertake a complex intersection to discover their past. An exploration of one’s true identity, cultural heritage and the impact of prolonged war, Toys: A Dark Fairy Tale asks what it means to belong.   

Instead of keeping to a linear frame, director Gabor Tompa has chosen a more abstract allegorical progression with Stanescu’s original work which according to her, is actually derived from two different plays: WHITE EMBERS – a one-act that won the Samuel French OOB award and is published in the winners anthology, and TOYS – a two-women version of White Embers where Stanescu plays with the American girl being a PhD student in Women Studies interviewing the other one about extremist war, but, where the core adoption story is still the same.  TOYS focuses on a young woman Clara/Fatma (played by Julia Ubrankovics) adopted as a child from Eastern Europe by an American couple. Shari/Madonna (played by Tunde Skovran) is the immigrant Hashid teacher turned corpse washing nurse who eventually claims to be Clara’s unadopted sister left behind to deal with poverty, war and religious extremism.  

With Stanescu’s permission and involvement, Tompa has cut parts of the play to make it work and applied his unique directorial concepts that make the piece more ambiguous which remarkably results in a sharper clarity with the presentation overall.

TOYS is many things:  a very real meeting, a dream, an experiment of the alter ego, shared memories, denial, connection, truth.  These women are in so many ways opposite sides of the same coin. It doesn’t matter that Shari’s toys are grenades and Clara’s toys are dolls that Shari wants to bury, or that one women has emerged for reconciliation or who knows what reason…“you can’t say ok and everything bad is gone”…, or that Clara can only recall shadows of her young life…”I’m not Fatma, I’m Clara!”…they are explicitly intertwined in every way.

As a stand-alone piece, although slightly derivative in a few of its disturbing visual aspects, the composition of this play is beautifully, dramatically off-center, leaving open so much cerebral and physical interpretation and dialog on the subjects carefully phrased inside.  Tompa’s non-linear direction brokers far more psychologically-heightened and fascinatingly elliptic relationships for the audience to maneuver and for the characters themselves to inhabit.  TOYS: A Dark Fairy Tale is bar none, in all its outward simplicity experientially exciting and exceptionally manifested by both director and cast.

Written by Saviana Stanescu
Directed by Gabor Tompa
Cast: Tunde Skvoran and Julia Ubrankovics
Costumes: Elisa Benzoni
Assistant Director: Kate Jopson

Appropriate for:  Ages 16 and up

Now Playing Until December 13. 2015

Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 PM;
Sunday Evenings at 7:00 PM

Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90038

Tickets: $28
Buy tickets/information:  or (323) 960-4443
Twitter: @toystheplay
Instagram: toystheplay

“Wait did that thing just smirk?” The real hyper-edge of Wood Boy Dog Fish

by Marc Wheeler
gia on the move, marc wheeler, theatre reviews

The Fire Eater (Paul Turbiak) and Puppet (Rudy
Martinez, with puppeteers Lisa Dring and Mark Royston).
Photo by Chelsea Sutton

The beloved children’s classic The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi takes on magical new life in Wood Boy Dog Fish now playing at Bootleg Theater. Written by Chelsea Sutton with Rogue Artists Ensemble, this extraordinary re-visioning takes beautiful shape in the imaginative hands of director Sean T. Cawelti and his grand band of artisans. With adult themes, coarse language and a Tim Burton aesthetic, light Disney-fare this is not.

A RAW EDGY EXPERIENCE…In sharing this century-old tale, Rogue Artists Ensemble reminds us what theater can be when unconventional minds unite.”

Wood Boy Dog Fish follows a wooden puppet who comes to life one night in the workshop of a tormented, lonely wood carver, Geppetto. Brimming with curiosity, he sets out in exploration of Shoreside: a rundown, oceanfront amusement park whose quirky inhabitants speak of the infamous “Dogfish” who, as legend has it, swims the ocean feeding on its victims fears. Misadventures through fame, hedonism and treacherous waters all propel our protagonist towards his heart’s true desire: to be a real boy.

In sharing this century-old tale, Rogue Artists Ensemble reminds us what theater can be when unconventional minds unite. Combining artistic expressions from multiple disciplines, RAE’s self-described “hyper-theater” makes this Pinocchio-reboot a raw, edgy experience.

Diving right in: the puppetry. It’s no easy feat to make a lifeless creature the lifeblood of a production, but thanks to a talented design team and three puppeteers working in tandem — one of whom also provides our hero his voice and humanity (Rudy Martinez) — this theatrical device proves eerily powerful. Riveted audiences may find their minds playing tricks (”Wait, did that thing just smirk?!”) while under the spell of such exquisite handiwork. Bright eyes and slight grin radiate our venturer’s childlike wonder, while an iconic pointy nose — growing with each lie he tells — reveals the mischievous fibber we all know and love. In addition to our “got no strings” leading man, marionettes also get featured in a play-within-a-play that’s adorably sweet.

Masks and exaggerated make-up bring a clownish quality to the production, delightfully reminiscent of Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. Dramatic costumes, likewise, add to the visual circus. A coat made of trash, papier-mâché donkeys (in vibrant rainbow, no less) and a Fire Eater ensemble (complete with matchbox shoulder pads and a giant bobble-head) are definite stand-outs.

gia on the move, marc wheeler, theatre reviews

Puppet (Rudy Martinez, with puppeteer Lisa
Dring), Wick (Veronica Mannion), the MC of
Funland (Miles Taber) and Funland Children
(Mark Royston, Stephanie O’Neill and Willem
Long). Photo by Chelsea Sutton

Original music and sound design elevate the piece — gothic ballads, industrial jazz and an Andrews Sisters holiday house mix all meshing beautifully. Dance sequences are equally fun, with performers gliding around on back-rollers or bootie-bumping blow-up dolls.

Set, lighting and projection design are atmospheric and grim, making for a colorfully bleak seaside amusement park.

And if that wasn’t enough… a 3-D carnival ride at the show’s finale (be sure to wear your 3-D glasses!) is likely to elicit numerous ooh’s and ahh’s.

“Go big or go home!” is surely a driving force of this multifarious production. Yet it’s the story’s heart that brings substance to this must-see spectacle. Like Geppetto it chips… and chips… and chips away… until our inner child’s revealed.

Now playing through December 12, 2015

Thursdays – 7 PM (dark Nov 26th/Thanksgiving)
Fridays – 7 PM (dark Nov 27th)
Saturdays – 7 PM (with additional 2 PM matinée Nov 28th ONLY)
Sundays – 2 PM Nov 29th and December 6

*Please note early 7 PM curtain time for all evening performances!

Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Tickets:  or 213-596-9468

General admission (at door) – $25
General admission (advance online purchase) – $23

Seniors and students (at door with valid ID) – $20
Seniors and students (advance online purchase with valid ID) – $18
Saturday, November 28th at 2 PM – “Pay-What-You-Can”

More info:


Music Obsession and All That Jazz in Miravel at Sacred Fools

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Miravel Sacred Fools Gia On The Move Tracey Paleo

Jake Broder, Devereau Chumrau and Will Bradley in Miravel. Photo by Jessica Sherman


We immersed in the sensuality of sound, feeling what they felt, the players, the singers, the music makers. Those were the glorious unbridled moments. 

For its second world premiere this season Sacred Fools goes back to the beginning so to speak with a deeply twisted love story in Miravel written and and starred in by Louise and Keely writer Jake Broder, a Cyrano-esque melodrama of three people addicted to the music.

Alphonso Bloch is a reclusive jazz composer who falls in love with Miravel, but so does bad boy singer Henry Brooks. One has dedicated himself to Miravel as muse. The other obsessed with her as lover.  As the two men woo her, each respectively wrestles with his own greatest obstacle in the search for a deeper connection to music and love – himself.

An oversimplified, show-and-tell script, there is admittedly not enough for any of the actors to do, emphasizing a very long first act lingering to the point.

So much in this play is driven by the lead character Miravel whose innocently, alluring, barn burner qualities steer both men to push themselves so far inside their own desires and darknesses that it warrants a driving lead with some serious chops to take on the simplicity, connect with the multi-faceted, emotional complications and revolve this drama to a quixotic end.

What we get instead, is a struggle for chemistry by all three actors creating occasionally awkward interludes of dialog in between the actual music which is the shining star of this play but alas, fleeting at best.

Devereau Chumrau is a strong actress. She just doesn’t quite have the heat for this role and either plays or has been directed to play Miravel elegantly but stiff, inhibited as much by her unmovable wardrobe as her slightly clumsy choreography.

Mr. Broder’s story was much more empathetic, but ultimately the always slightly insecure delivery becomes repetitive.

Miravel Sacred Fools Gia On The Move Tracey Paleo

Jake Broder and Will Bradley in Miravel. Photo by Jessica Sherman.

Will Bradley as Henry Brooks, however, delivers a top dollar performance, thoroughly reminiscent of rat pack swank and fluid Sinatra style singing that makes you wanna ‘blow your top’ in delight.

Miravel could do with some letting go. It needs to breathe so it can let the audience in a bit more, rather than keep them at a just beyond touchable reach. It needs more character.  It needs more ‘jazz’.  With that, the ride will be so much more satisfying.  Overall, though, it’s not a show to be missed. There are some incredibly gorgeous moments when we get them.  And the band is pretty darn phenomenal.

Written by: Jake Broder
Directed by: Shaunessey Quinn
Cast: Devereau Chumrau as Miravel, Will Bradley as Henry Brooks, Jake Broder as Alphonso Bloch


Sacred Fools Theater Company
660 N. Heliotrope
Hollywood, CA 90004

Friday and Saturdays at 8pm
Tickets: $25
Online at or call (310) 281-8337
Tickets also available at the door.

Prairie-oke! is Hilariously “Un-Wholesome”

by Marc Wheeler

Gia On The Move, March Wheeler, musicals, theatre reviews

In the basement of Casita del Campo (a Mexican restaurant By the Shores of Silver Lake) lives the hole-in-the-wall Cavern Club Theater. Ceiling low and space intimate, this little gem’s the temporary home of Prairie-oke! That Totally Unauthorized Karaoke Parody Musical Formerly Known As Something Else now back for a limited engagement. If images of a wholesome TV show from the ‘70s about a pioneer family living in a little house on the prairie come to mind, good job, you’ve passed the first (and only) test.

Using the famous “Cinnamon Chicken” episode as a base and inserting pop hits of Miley Cyrus, Guns N’ Roses, Journey and more, Prairie-oke! is a campy homage to that beloved hit series that cannot (ahem) be legally named.  Originally conceived, written and directed by Dane Whitlock, this “karaoke musical” lives up to its name. Performers can sing and dance… enough. But it’s their full-throttle commitment to the (slightly-altered) songs that make them irresistibly charming. A twerk-tastic “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” dance-off from the virtuous pioneers (courtesy of choreographer Joseph Corella) further exemplifies the absurdities of the evening.

By and large the cast does great work, with even small roles getting comedic moments to shine. The family’s blind daughter Merry (Rae Dawn Hadinger) comically feels her way around stage and… oops!.. into the audience. Muffle-mouthed toddler Kerry (Penny Wildman) garbles her lines with amusing effect.  And “Disney prince” heartthrob Alonzo (Ben Palacios) gives our leading young lady Lauren (Libby Baker) a glimpse of his nips in a scene that would’ve had TV audiences clutching their pearls.

Kevin Berntson as the horny family patriarch is spit-taking as a man in constant search of moral solutions to everyday problems. Sporting a “Landon wig” atop a twinkly-eyed face, he delivers fatherly advice with the actor’s iconic clarity and calm.

The highlight of the evening belongs to Drew Droege as Mellie Moleson, the schoolyard villain everyone loves to hate. Storming across the Heartland with mischievous fury, Droege’s pigtailed prairie-bitch is perfection.

The set’s low-budget quaintness consists of a quilted home-on-the-range backdrop and low-hanging speakers under which a certain tall actor had to keep ducking to miss. It’s hilariously precious.

Prairie-oke!, produced by Matthew Herrmann and Vickie Mendoza, is sure to delight Little House fans and non-fans alike. Arrive early for a pre-show dinner or simply grab a few drinks for some raucous merriment that’s surely much Laura Ingalls Wilder than a pub crawl on the plains.

Playing through Nov. 22, 2015

Cavern Club Theater at Casita del Campo
1920 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Friday and Saturday – 9 PM
Sunday – 7 PM

Tickets:$30 in advance, $35 at Box Office
More information:


Not Enough Social Impact in “Rent” at La Mirada

by Marc Wheeler

Gia On The Move, theatre reviews, Marc Wheeler

The East Village bohemians who took Broadway by storm nearly twenty years ago have returned to the stage in the Tony Award-winning “Rent” now getting a large-scale production at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. With book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, this ground-breaking, mostly sung-through musical reimagines Puccini’s “La Bohème” as a late 20th century rock opera. Telling the story of starving artists, disease-plagued lovers and utopian-dreamers struggling to survive an AIDS-ravaged New York City, “Rent” made theater alive and relevant for young audiences with its cutting-edge sound, pop culture references and sexually-provocative subject matter in 1996.

Therein lies the problems of this 2015 staging.

Directed by Richard Israel for McCoy Rigby Entertainment, this attempted recreation of the original Broadway production lacks the social relevance and impact it once had. While themes of Puccini’s century-old opera are arguably timeless, Larson’s references to Doc Martens, Spike Lee, pagers and Newt Gingrich are not. More importantly, with growing acceptance of LGBT people, medical advancements in HIV/AIDS, nationwide marriage equality and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in its seventh season, a lot has changed since “Rent” shocked audiences with same-sex love stories and introduced a dying-of-AIDS drag queen as a central character. Without a completely new directorial vision or a “time capsule” approach reminding audiences of the intense homophobia and body-destroying, community-decimating impact of AIDS at that time (things too self-evident to be needed in the original staging), “Rent” as a simple recreation of a bygone era comes across as dated. Uninspired casting and costuming replicas (Julia Flores and Thomas G. Marquez, respectively) further emphasize this point by referencing the too-old-to-be-current, too-young-to-be-nostalgic original Broadway production. Anthony Rapp, for example, gets his look-alike in Mark Whitten as a red-headed, nerdy-cute Jewish filmmaker Mark Cohen. Drag queen Angel Schunard’s (Lawrence Cummings) signature “Mrs. Claus” attire also makes its appearance. These safe choices play less as endearing tributes and more as silly “Woodstock ’99” attempts of reliving the past, preventing many actors from making roles their own and depriving audiences of welcome inventiveness.

One notable exception is Emily Goglia’s take on the bisexual flirt Maureen Johnson. Her endearingly silly stamp on the performance art protest piece “Over the Moon” allows us a chance to collectively laugh at our past. Likewise, her sexual chemistry with Amber Mercomes as her uptight-yet-adoring girlfriend Joanne Jefferson in “Take Me or Leave Me” is equally impressive, each powerhouse out-belting the other in this passionate lovers’ quarrel.

On a not-so-compatible note, singer-songwriter Roger Davis (Devin Archer) and stripper Mimi Marquez (Cassie Simone) lack the charged intensity these HIV-positive, baggage-bringing lovers require. Archer’s fiery fight with roommate Mark in the second act shows he’s capable of emotional depth, yet when it comes to the show’s leading romantic story arc he appears uncommitted. His attempted rocker vocal styling is also constrained at times, though otherwise it effectively soars. Simone, on the other hand, has Ariana Grande-esque, pretty-girl looks and fantastic vocals, but her performance, however, is void of the desperate messiness needed of the strung-out junkie whose “no day but today” mantra has her living dangerously close to the edge.

Beautiful scenic design by Stephen Gifford is magnificently massive, towering the stage with an abandoned, industrial loft. While upper levels could be utilized more for performances, negative space on the building’s exterior is filled with Jonathan Infante’s richly layered video projections which document “real life” throughout the show, though occasional “live” camera shots don’t sync with onstage action. Sound design by Josh Bessom and musical direction by John Glaudini give group numbers the fullness they need, though individual performances could benefit from added amplification or richer instrumentation to create a more in-your-face rock concert feel.

Standout numbers “Will I?” and “Seasons of Love” (with gorgeous solos by Alyssa M. Simmons and John Pinto, Jr.) have actors break the fourth wall and sing directly to the audience (as is customary), reminding us of the power of Larson’s gorgeous score and pure human connection.

While “Rent” remains a transformative game-changer in the annals of musical theater, if this production proves anything it’s that the time for its reinvention or applied-contextualization is now. Until then, dust off your two-disc Original Broadway Cast Recording and “viva la vie bohème.”

Now Playing thru Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
14900 La Mirada Boulevard
La Mirada, CA 90638

Parking is free

Thursday – 7:30 PM
Friday – 8:00 PM
Saturday – 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday – 2:00 PM


Box Office: 562-944-9801 or 714-994-6310

Student, senior and group discounts available

South Coast Rep Remounts a Gorgeous “Abundance”

By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

South Coast Repertory presents “Abundance” by Beth Henley, directed by Martin Benson. Cast: Larry Bates (Professor Elmore Crome), Adam Haas Hunter (Jack Flan), Lily Holleman (Bess Johnson), Daniel Reichert (William Curtis), Paige Lindsey White (Macon Hill). Segerstrom Stage, October 16 - November 15, 2015

South Coast Repertory presents “Abundance” by Beth Henley, directed by Martin Benson. Cast: Larry Bates (Professor Elmore Crome), Adam Haas Hunter (Jack Flan), Lily Holleman (Bess Johnson), Daniel Reichert (William Curtis), Paige Lindsey White (Macon Hill). Segerstrom Stage, October 16 – November 15, 2015

I had forgotten how much I loved Beth Henley’s writing. How she could meticulously form characters and thoughts that were thoroughly Freudian, so real, so full of life, depth, feeling, almost insane – tragical and comical in a single instance.

To boot, Henley has been creating three-dimensional women for more than 30 years – long before it was in vogue for entertainment industry leaders, to aggressively mission against over sexed and stereotypical profiling of the female figure in film, television and stage. And lucky for us.  We as an audience and especially we women who regularly search often in vain for roles, models and ideals we can heartily chew, have had more than just a little something to “go on”.

The mere staying power of Abundance, originally produced in 1989 at South Coast Repertory, prior to its opening on Broadway the following year, now remounted once again for SCR’s 2015-16 season, is sterling proof that Henley’s mojo is indeed “workin'”. Abundance is no less modern today and a startling example of what stands the test of time and temperament.

Abundance is the story of Bess Johnson and Macon Hill, two mail-order brides, fantastically hopeful for a bright future of love and adventure as they head to the Wyoming Territory to meet their new husbands. Their epic story twistily unfolds on the American frontier from 1868-93 (25 years). 

As women Bess and Macon initially appear to be radically different.  Bess is thoughtful, sweet, unassuming.  She accepts life as is and makes the best of things.  There is an inkling of course of the woman she could be, a one Macon spontaneously points out at their first encounter. Bess is just bold enough to make the trip on her own, to meet a a seemingly gentler man who has been writing beautiful poetry to her, enticing the romantic expectation of Bess potentially finding her “one true one.”  Macon on the other hand, is boisterous, boyish and unafraid to take life head on and intends to do so with gusto at every minute.  She’s ventured “…to see what’s out there; whatever’s out there…Could be anything.  I savor the boundlessness of it all. The wild flavor.  I’m drunk with western fever.”  

What these two women get however, is quite the opposite.  In fact, both end up leading rather tamed, unhappy lives, respectively plowing through either abject poverty and abuse or the dull monotony of field work and uninteresting husbands.  Until they don’t.  At a climactic moment, Bess disappears into the night on the frozen prairie, not to be found for years, and everything including Bess’ and Macon’s positions, even their identities, radically and irrevocably changes from fortunes to attitudes to successes and failures.  

There is a certain brilliance in Abundance as to how Henley’s writing frames a bit of the history here with settlers and Native Americans in the land grab, development and butting heads.  In the microcosm of Bess’ and Macon’s lives there is a particular “everyday” insight to life on the plains.  What these women deal with is extraordinary really, but also ordinary in every way and we watch as their lives rise and fall and fall away, bit by bit, never really achieving a once dreamed of abundance, with incredible fascination and empathy.  

There could not have been two better actresses cast in Abundance for its remount.  Lily Holleman as Bess and Paige Lyndsey White as Macon, are so completely connected to the characters they truly epitomize; unmistakably dynamic and with incredible breath, depth of emotion, and chemistry to spare. Daniel Reichart as William Curtis and Adam Haas Hunter (who was no less spectacular in his recent performance of The Great Divide) nail this script, supporting their leading ladies to satisfying perfection. Larry Bates as Professor Elmore Crome is downright savory as a game changer in this piece.

“What an experience!”

Playing until November 15th

Tickets: May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.

Something Truly Monstrous at the Blank Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move


“Now I wonder how much of it is true.” 

After receiving a brief note from another patron about Something Truly Monstrous, at The Blank Theatre on Hollywood Row, searching for some actual historical context of Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart pranking Errol Flynn with John Barrymore’s dead body, became a mini-challenge.  Several things that must be said about this play. First there are few reports that loosely attempt to attribute some validity to the premise – books and websites that reference most likely Paul Henreid’s account in his biography, some from Errol Flynn which are hard to find and still dubiously add up to this most likely being a fiction.

One of them relates that, indeed, Lorre, Bogart and Henried were in fact shooting Casablanca at the time.  And when the word got around on the Casablanca set that John Barrymore had died Peter Lorre was apparently inspired to think of the lugubrious high jinks of  bribing the undertaker to borrow his body. Lorre, Bogart, Henried and two others (according to Henreid’s account) sat Barrymore’s body in a chair in Errol Flynn’s living room where Barrymore always used to sit. Flynn entered, nodded at Barrymore and strode towards the bar….then he froze. “All right you bastards come on out.”  Flynn then offered the offenders a drink but wouldn’t help them take the body back.

The other (that I came across) describes Lorre making a successful drive to Jack Warner’s house.

Either way, true or not it is a pretty juicy and rather hilarious plot, so easily believable merely because it concerns the founder and original leader of Hollywood’s renowned Rat Pack (Bogart) known for the kind of pranksterism that would inspire such a story. And it is peppered with at least the one truism of Bogart’s 3rd wife in a jealous rage stabbing him with a kitchen knife.

Second, another play written by Jeff Tabnick called Barrymore’s Body premiered at the New York Fringe Festival back in 2004 which is written as a verbatim description to this show.  There was no notation in the program for it, and as Something Truly Monstrous is billed as a world premiere it is curious indeed.

Frankly, however, minus, the lack of notations, the play itself is pretty stupendous. From the moment actor Jason Paul Field (Humphrey Bogart) arrogantly walks onto the Casablanca set, he is a hilariously sardonic, believable copy of wealthy kid turned stage then cinema actor who often wore his own suits in his films (Warner Bros. costume department was incredibly cheap).

Jilon Vanover as Paul Henried is also played picture perfectly as a German émigré actor keeping his background close to the vest with the second World War in play.

But it is Amir Levi as Peter Lorre that brings this show to a level of over-the-top hysteria and outlandish dark comedy that only Levi could.  Not quite a ringer for Lorre, but almost, Levi embodies the Austro-Hungarian born, international sensation who after a career on stage and then German film, eventual became a regular Hollywood crime and mystery featured player – although according to this play – to his dismay.

There are so many brilliantly nuanced moments and so much personification of Lorre, that Levi has internalized within himself, that it is difficult to discriminate the actor from the man and therein lies the exemplary brilliance of the character actualized.  The audience is given the opportunity to believably and utterly step into the heightened world of the play.

Daniel Henning’s direction concretizes every odd, darkly comedic and priceless moment.  Something Truly Monstrous is a hit.

something truly monstrousSOMETHING TRULY MONSTROUS
by Jeff Tabnick
directed by Daniel Henning

Starring Jason Paul Field, Amir Levi, Jilon VanOver

Final Weekend.  

Visit The Blank Theatre for tickets and more information.