“Awesomeness” wins the day in the current production of Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake) written by Sheila Callaghan and directed by Jeremy Aluma (and I still have no idea why he makes an appearance in this show…But who cares! Cool and chemicals Set The Mood. Dude you rule! )
Managing to elude the creep factor of a vengeful, languishing apartment with its own personal opinion of cleanliness and living, a spiteful and troubled little girl with a death wish and a mom who can’t see past her own panic attack induced hysteria or the kitchen, Sacred Fools Theater turns in an amusing, South Park style rendition of a family in turmoil and falling apart in every possible way.
Full review appears here as a reprint from LA Theatre Review:
Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Managing to elude the creep factor of a vengeful, languishing apartment with its own personal opinion of cleanliness and living, a spiteful and troubled little girl with a death wish and a mom who can’t see past her own panic attack induced hysteria or the kitchen, Sacred Fools Theater turns in an amusing, South Park style rendition of a family in turmoil and falling apart in every possible way in its current production of Crumble, written by Sheila Callaghan and directed by Jeremy Aluma.
It’s easy to laugh at the cat lady with 57 felines instead of children because of a defective husband and a defective womb, jealous of the sister who “got it all” and somewhat happy about her troubles. It’s bizarrely and curiously funny observing the private, and quite often dirty, machinations of a little pre-teen girl carrying on during play dates with her dolls. It’s easy to relate to any mother worrying incessantly about – well – everything when it comes to money, surviving a dilapidated, unheated apartment, how she will get on after the loss of a loved one and most of all, not being able to get through to her child. But add in the narrative voice of a woe begotten, creaky, apartment, living in past grand memories of lace and lust, who quietly begins to plot the demise of them all in order to make way for someone new to move in and bring it back to life, a slightly dark, satire begins to arise.
Crumble as a title is certainly effective, describing the state of affairs not only with the apartment but the lives within. Like the apartment which is falling apart, their lives are crumbling from neglect, lack of attention, despair, accusation, envy. The apartment even confesses to not liking the dad as he “touched milady in the night.” Although mostly begging for attention and much needed repairs it eventually alludes, as a jealous lover of sorts, that it, as hidden truth would have it, had a more active involvement in dad’s fatal accident when floor boards gave way underneath the stool sending dad out a glass window to his death; the blame for which rests solely upon mother according to her little girl who lost the one man in her life while hanging lights on Christmas; the one man who could make her laugh most when things were worst. Everyone is living in their own little fantasy which gets them through the day. And then, for no apparent reason whatsoever, in come Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford.
In an ironic comedy of events, the men of two women’s dreams enter the scene with their “awesomeness,” endowed with the qualities that both women miss in husband and dad. Harrison Ford inspires mom, with his strength, masculinity, wisdom and light-heartedness, to relax. Justin Timberlake of INSYC thrills daughter, Calamity Janice, with cool affection, compliments and even sex to pull them out of the void of nothingness. Through the dialogs with both characters each hatches her own little plot to change the status quo. Mom wishes to be exactly like her deceased husband, laughing in the face of any disaster – Janice giving her mother a Christmas gift wish list full of chemicals in order to blow them up for the holidays. Effective as they were ridiculous, these visitations champion the actions these women take that foil the house from carrying out its own plans to murder them both.
The entire mini-drama plays itself out strangely to everyone’s satisfaction and everyone gets their wish including the house who gets clean up and repaired, the sister who decides to not live alone and isolated any longer, and even Darwin the cat, who manages to bring about the “miracle of Christmas” by giving birth after having been spaded. Evolution.
But in between, the brilliant timing and delivery of understudy Lisa Rothschiller as cat-loving sister, Barbara, the droll and capricious vicissitudes of the genuinely amusing Brendan Hunt as the apartment, poetry spouting mom played steadily by Carrie Keranen, and slightly grotesque conversations between the quite childishly proficient Janice with her personal supporting cast of slamming back-talk baby boy doll along with Barbie, who are constantly “getting it on” and socially shunning Janice in her dirtiness and weirdness, there lacked a real strong climax in this production. Some jokes went on a little too long, the drama a bit flat and at times had a feeling of disconnectedness and lack of character depth. The poetic vignettes were an inspirational addition of spontaneity pulling us away from the ever deteriorating abyss, but felt a bit non-cohesive, as the language and ideas were difficult to follow in the delivery.
That’s not to say that the performances were lacking. They most definitely were not. Everyone here put in a great show, from directing to acting to sound and lighting effects. As a whole presentation, just not outstanding. Crumble presents a bizarre tale effectively and humorously, with a mediocre resolution but none-the-less succeeds as an audience pleaser as a laughable good time.
Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake) plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm (and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 7 pm) through December 11th
Sacred Fools Theater is located at 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90004 just south of Melrose and three blocks west of Vermont
Tickets: $20 General Admission $16 Students & Seniors
Reservations online athttps://sacredfools.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0JG0000007TGgsMAGor by phone at (310) 281-8337