I only caught one play on the weekend, and it was a delightfully sassy winner! I strongly suggest that you book seats the moment you finish reading my glowing review!

Private Lives

Annie Abrams and Lenny Von Dohlen in “Private Lives.”

This ingeniously hilarious Noel Coward comedy, written and first run in London in 1930, is a stylish and funfilled “laugh a minute” gem! It opened on Broadway a year later, starring Gertrude Lawrence and Noel Coward himself! A deliciously biting “battle of the sexes,” I had never seen this play before, but many of the other critics in attendance knew it well. Presented here by Orange County’s “Table for Two” productions, boasting a flawless cast and technical excellence all round … every zany moment is an audience pleasing joy! When the delicate balance of a savvy script, ambitious performances, visionary direction, classy costumes, appealing sets, and effective sound and lighting designs come together … audiences truly experience the thrill of “live” theatre! Such is the case here! Running in Burbank’s 98 seat “GTC Theatre,” tucked away in the George Izay Park … I urge locals to support this charming “hideaway” theatre space. As the manic fun begins … A divorced English couple unknowingly reserves adjoining suites to their “Exes,” while each is honeymooning with their brand new spouse. Once this is discovered, Amanda and Elyot passionately reconnect on side by side patios.

Stasha Surdyke and Jeff Witzke in “Private Lives.”

As old feelings and memories explode, they run off together to Paris, deserting their unsuspecting new marriage partners (Sibyl and Victor). When the jilted duo realizes they’ve been “dumped,” they head for Paris together, to confront the outrageous situation, head on! An amazingly clever script, and a quartet of riotously quirky performances, captivated the audience in a state of uproarious laughter from start to finish! They say “timing is everything,” and in this case it is impeccable! The highly respected, multi-award winning Shon LeBlanc (a “wardrobe wizard”), elegantly costumed the cast in stunningly appealing 1930s attire, and the always visionary Jules Aaron directs the farce with “tongue in cheek” brilliance! Stasha Surdyke and Lenny Von Dohlen as the “lusting” divorced duo, and Annie Abrams and Jeff Witzke, as their “short lived” new spouses, give exuberant and perfectly timed performances … not soon to be forgotten! (… All gorgeous by the way) As American actors, it must be noted that their British accents are “spot on!” Angie Light rounds out the cast in a small role, as a Parisian maid, with a “wee” drinking problem. JC Gafford designed a beautiful set, which placed us in just the right mood, as did J. Kent Inasy’s lighting and Max Kinberg’s crisp sound, expertly rounding out the technical efforts. I rarely have the space to credit every creative contribution, but in this case I feel I must. “Fab” wigs by Diana Martinous, props by Kevin Williams, fight choreography by Allison Bibicoff … all added greatly to the whacky and charming ambience of the production! An A-Class, award worthy effort in every aspect … this is an absolute must see for theatre enthusiasts! Running Thursdays through Sundays through March 25 at GTC located at 1111-B. W. Olive Ave. in Burbank. For seats, call (323) 960-7738.

Neighborhood Hot Tip

There’s a spacious new thrift store in the neighborhood, called “Helping Hands for Animals.” A whopping 4,500 square feet in size … they offer bargains on used clothing, knick-knacks, toys, books, household items, costume jewelry, etc., in good condition at fair prices (Wednesdays 1/2 price on all clothing). The proceeds all go to various local animal rescue groups. Stop in and “check it out…” while helping out our furry four-legged friends. Tell Simone and Stephanie that you heard about their selfless efforts in The Tolucan Times!

Thought for the Day

Passed on to me by Cathy … the friendly owner of “Cathy’s Candles” in Burbank (a sweet, “yummy smelling,” and well-stocked shop on Burbank Boulevard): “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave in a well-preserved body … but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting … What a ride!” (I say “Amen” to that!) See you next time with more “Chat from Pat!”

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