Fringe Up HFF14: ‘Linden Arden Stole the Highlights’

Linden Arden Hollywood Fringe Festival

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

.It’s a good thing he started off with a cool rinse of water, because Monday night’s performance of Linden Arden Stole the Highlights at Theatre Asylum, put L.A. theatre’s most vocal provocateur in the hot seat.

Writer/Director/Actor and Bitter Lemons editor, Colin Mitchell, has reprised his role in the play that was noted back in  1996, by Steven Leigh Morris of the LA Weekly as  “a testament to the capacities of storytelling”, to a full house of audiences eager for his re-mounted vision.

It’s May 28th Little Lindy’s birthday and he’s turning 50 yrs old.  A transplant from America, and of Scottish descent, Linden has been an approximate 25 years refugee from the American Drug wars living quietly in a little town called Arklow in Scotland.  A once young, mouthy, street-wise foot soldier, Linden rises to the heights of the illegal narcotics game quickly.  But then he suddenly removes himself. What we find out over the course of the next 60 minutes are the details of why – what happens after and what happens in between.

A broken fourth-wall narrative in flashbacks and remembrances, Linden goes off on a few more tangents than we would like before getting to the heart of the story.  But overall, this performance is, at the very least, a dramatic lesson in commitment, at best a meaty modern pseudo-folktale.

Mitchell, a former Broadway actor, can most definitely vocally punch the hard notes, make audiences laugh, charm and manipulate the craft of stage.

As a story, Linden Arden Stole the Highlights waffles from being a retrospection to a confession to a line of defense for a man who is living in loneliness.  He’s the Boo Radley of Arklow, with a questionable past and present, and we (the audience) are the rare visitors who will actually speak with him or take the time to listen.

The play’s story and dialog is taken directly from the Van Morrison song written about real-life Linden Arden.  Choices and consequences are the underlying themes here. Linden’s are tough.

Be prepared to listen carefully. And go for the Scotch!

Linden Arden stole the highlights
With one hand tied behind his back
Loved the morning sun, and whiskey
Ran like water in his veins
Loved to go to church on Sunday
Even though he was a drinking man
When the boys came to San Francisco
They were looking for his life
But he found out where they were drinking
Met them face to face outside
Cleaved their heads off with a hatchet
Lord, he was a drinkin’ man
And when someone tried to get above him
He just took the law into his own hands

Linden Arden stole the highlights
And they put his fingers through the glass
He had heard all those stories many, many times before
And he did not care no more to ask
And he loved the little children like they were his very own
He Said, “Someday it may get lonely.”
Now he’s livin’, livin’ with a gun




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