Reviewed by Benjamin Schwartz
“Magic In The Waiting Room”
Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers in “A Hollywood Ending” provides a timely glimpse into what could be an extremely accurate depiction of two artists at the end of their respected careers.
Orson Welles is certainly the personality that is instantly recognizable, while the name Scatman Crothers doesn’t usually ring most people’s bell. You might have heard Scatman as the voice of Scat Cat from the animated film, The Aristocats, or seen his acting in The Shining and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Welles and Crothers strike up conversation while waiting to audition for the 1985 animated film, Transformers: The Movie. At first, it is difficult to see why these two would be in the same room, let alone auditioning for the same movie. As the expertly crafted dialogue rolls along, both the characters and audience start to understand how similar these two really are.
Welles (Rob Locke) and Crothers (Dennis Neal) are dream roles for actors, and the two really sink their teeth deep into the material. Locke does a fine job capturing the elitist, ego-driven Welles who has the largest character arch. But it is his counterpart, Dennis Neal who really steals the show.
It is difficult to take your eyes off Neal as he gives a beautifully organic, honest performance. These two seasoned actors sport their acting chops as they bounce emotions and patter very well off each other in this character-driven play.
It is inherently clear that playwright and director, David Castro, has done a great deal of research on the time period and characters. The dated references may be a little much for a common layman, but the writing is impeccable. The dialogue is a continuous stream of natural conversation tucked within a tight three-act structure. A playwright who directs his own work tends to be blind to errors during rehearsal, but this is not the case here. Castro does a great job directing his actors to hit the exact nuances and timing of the script.
Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers in “A Hollywood Ending” examines how these two consummate artists defined success and artistic freedom while still trying to pay the bills. It is wholly entertaining, thought-provoking and poignant.