Lots of Laughs at Beau Jest, Glendale Center Theatre
My friends know that when it comes to theatre, I am a “musical” junkie. Although I am not a theatre reviewer, I report on all things A-list. Don’t tell anyone, but this comedy is an A+.
When I heard about Beau Jest, I knew I had to see it. The premise alone was intriguing.
Picture this: A Jewish gal’s parents disprove of her gentile beau. Nothing new, right? She figures the only way around it is to see him on the QT and hire an actor to play her boyfriend. She didn’t realize the actor was not Jewish until it is too late. You can figure out the rest.
This comedy is rip-roaring. Although none of the cast is actually Jewish, they play it genuinely. How can you not smile at a Jewish mother’s humor? Bubula, have some more to eat! And they did.
Says Alison Robertson, who plays Sarah (the lead), “We studied the Jewish culture a lot!”
My guest and I visited on a beautiful Sunday Southern California afternoon, but it was just as sunny inside the Glendale Centre Theatre. The theatre is built in the round with comfy stadium seats. In its 64th year, the theatre is the longest continually–operating theatre in the U.S. Ladies, it’s not far from the Glendale Galleria and Americana, so you can get a little shopping/dining in before or after the show.
Producer Tom Dietlin brought his son onstage during his announcements. You felt like you were part of the family. His wife Brenda, also the show’s producer, greeted me at the door and brought me to my seat.
Martin Lang directed; James Sherman is playwright. Other cast includes: Kelly Flynn, Shawn Cahill, Danny Michaels, Elaine Rose and Mario Digregorio.
A real treat: the Passover Seder scene. If you’re not familiar with Seders, it doesn’t make a difference. It is gut-busting. Most everyone can relate to a dysfunctional family.
This cast captures this ritual, as well as the word injections as they read the Haggadah, beautifully. You can just feel Mr. Flynn’s stress – an actor playing an actor playing a surgeon and a Jew! Hey, what’s better than a Jewish doctor according to Sarah? You can practically taste the home-made kugel, matzah and four cups of wine.
The show runs through Sept. 24. It ran off Broadway for several years.