I only have one play for review this week. Basically exhausted …

I stayed in, cranked up the AC, and “vegged” for most of the weekend. Sometimes you just have to do that, to recharge your mental and physical batteries!

The Bridge Club

From l, Nancy Dobbs Owen and Christopher Franciosa in “The Bridge Club.”

This play offers a thought provoking and surreal concept. Peering in on lost souls who have given up on life for a variety of reasons, and are ready to end their misery … this drama with humorous moments, has some trippy twists ‘n’ turns. Cleverly directed by Mike Sabatino, and written by noted TV writer, Richard Raskind, as a result of his fascination with the incredible actual number of suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge … the subject matter is voyeuristically compelling. Conflicted, I enjoyed this play for the most part, with some reservations. Once the second act opened, and the various characters became familiar to us, with a “Twilight Zone-esque” vibe … I longed to know more about each of their lives, than was revealed in the script. The play opens on Jack, a terminally cancer-afflicted man, about to end his own life, by jumping off the bridge. Although Christopher Franciosa as Jack, was convincingly forlorn, he tended to “over play” his role much of the time. Often, “less” is more believable. Hopefully, just a case of opening night jitters … and toned down by now. To Jack’s shock and dismay, he is encountered by a very feisty and opinionated woman who has beaten him to the bridge, with the same grim intention. Lost, lonely, and facing prison time, she attempts to talk him out of “jumping,” before she takes her own death dive (a spirited stand out performance by Nancy Dobbs Owen!) In Act Two, we meet Mr. Smith, a bridge authority guard, who oddly knows the name of every person who has ever leaped off the bridge (a quirky, and as always … “Spot-On” Shelly Kurtz). A hilariously whacky young jogger (Andrew Villarreal) and Jack’s girlfriend on the phone (Vesna Tolomanoska), round out the cast. A sparse but effective set design by Dave Blass, created the tense mood perfectly. With all the aspects one must consider when critiquing a play … the sound and lighting credits often get only minimal mention. This troupe wisely hired a duo of artists who have excelled in originality, in these “behind the scenes” tasks, in countless LA productions, for many years. Peter Strauss designed the eerie lighting here with darkly daunting vision, and Steve Shaw creatively designed the sound. FYI – If you sit in the theatre during intermission, and listen to Shaw’s personally selected sound tracks … Every song played … has been sung and recorded by musical artists who actually committed suicide themselves. A complex, entertaining, touching and surreal storyline, that in my opinion, would benefit from a bit more “minor character” development … Theatre, much like life … is an ever changing journey! Running through May 13 at Deaf West Theatre located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in NoHo. For seats, call (323) 960-7711.

A Sneak Peek at Productions I’m Scheduled to See and Review

Love Struck – Opening May 11 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Written by Dale Griffiths Stamos

A set of seven one act plays on the subject of “love,” starring a large and diverse cast of 16 actors … I look forward to this one! The press release promises, “Love lost, Love found, Unrequited love, Redemptive love … and Just plain silly love!” Starring Barbara Bain, Peter Van Norden, and Nick Ullett. If you’d like to take your mom to one of the Mother’s Day performances … May 13 at 3 or 7 o’clock … she will receive champagne and roses. To book seats, go to www.plays411.come/lovestruck.

Aftershocks – Opening May 11 at the Lyric Theatre, Written by Doug Haverty

Two Ohio trailer park housewives are having a blast as movie “extras” … until someone from the past turns up on the doorstep…. For seats, call (323) 960-1055.

Bea Bea’s – “Breakfast Is Everything”

Wake up and smell the bacon, folks! It’s funny how you can drive by a place in your own neighborhood time and time again, and never notice it. Open a couple of years now, I spontaneously stopped in for a quiet meal by myself … (current novel in hand.) Mainly serving deliciously decadent and creative breakfast meals from 7 till 4 … the servings are huge and the place was jam packed! Perched on the corner of Pass Avenue and Oak in Burbank … you’ve just gotta’ check it out!

That’s my story for this week. Back next time with more ideas to get you out of the house and have some fun!


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