Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
The Boys Next Door lands one of the bigger October surprises with a stellar performance at The Blue Door, Culver City.
Featuring cast members of Rex & Friends, Theatre by the Blind and Veterans Empowerment Theatre, Tom Griffin’s 2 hours serio-comedy is about four mentally disabled men, Arnold, Lucient, Norman and Barry, living together in a communal residence, and the social worker, Jack, who tries to help them navigate a complicated world.
As wards of the state with varying degrees of mental illness each day for these men is seemingly the same except that the smallest of glitches can turn into major disruptions. It’s a hard fact that is weighing on Jack whose marriage has fallen apart and feels constantly drained. These four men are Jack’s closest associates and he cares deeply for them, but he desperately needs a new job.
Aldridge directs The Boys Next Door with grace and high humor. And the cast really knocks this piece ‘out of the park’ in so many unexpected ways. Each respectively brings incredible hilarity, honesty and beauty to their characters.
In a post-show talk, Aldridge explained that many of the cast members are performing this professional show in complete dark and some are also struggling with autism, Asperger’s and PTSD. In that respect alone, this piece offers raw value for audiences that cannot be found in other shows.
Rounded out by a fantastic set design by James W. Thompson, light and sound design by Sam Judy and costume design by Linda Muggeridge.
Truly sincere and absolutely sweet.
Starring: Lee Pugsley (Arnold), Kenny Lee (Lucien), August McAdoo (Norman), Coco Head (Barry), Mason Yokes (Jack), Stacey Callier (Shiela), Doug Jewell (Mr. Klemper), Leela Kazerouni (Ensemble) and Judy Welsh (Ensemble).
Presented by CRE Outreach
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