Nite Lights

I only have one actual “review” this week … followed by random theater “chit chat.” Grab a coffee, and read on!

Compleat Female Stage Beauty

From l, Ben Rovner as Edward Kynaston and George Alvarez as Thomas Betterton in “Compleat Female Stage Beauty.”

A naughty, bawdy, robust, and risqué romp, into the world of Shakespeare … this is a delightful production! Deliciously decadent, and perfectly cast … the ensemble effort is flawless! Directed with passion and impeccable timing by William A. Reilly … every outrageous moment was an audience pleasing joy! We are witness to a rousing comedic dramedy, unfolding in England in 1661. Cleverly written with a balance of humor and historical facts, by Jeffrey Hatcher, the audience was riveted on opening night. Earlier reviews stated: The Pittsburgh Post Gazette said, “An intimate psychosexual backstage historical comedy. Splendidly Theatrical!” The New York Times critic stated, “A clever exploration of English theatre at the seventeenth century movement, when women were first allowed on the stage.” I often skip requests to review Shakespearian plays, in fear of misunderstanding the complicated plots, and being unable to critique them with accuracy … but this one was a “tongue in cheek” joy! To summarize the story: It explores a time in England in 1661, when women were finally permitted by the King, to perform on public stages. The plot focuses on one male actor who had gained fame, perfecting the image of the compleat female persona, as Desdemona. As this actor named Edward Kynaston … Ben Rovner offered a gut-wrenching and award worthy performance! Hypnotically captivating and brilliantly chameleon-like, this is a performance not to miss!

Ben Rovner, far l, with the cast of “Compleat Female Stage Beauty.”

Too many in the cast to personally comment on all … but so worthy I feel, I must list all of them. Natalie Hope MacMillan is a stand out as Margaret Hughes (the first female stage actress), and Michelle Page is infectiously loveable as the quirky Nell Gwynn. Joanne McGee as Kynaston’s devoted backstage seamstress, gives a heart touchingly spirited performance. The outlandishly outrageous men in the cast include: a hilarious Richard Sabine, George Alvarez, Dennis Gersten, Josef Bette, and Cameron Daxon. Diana Taweel and Sarah French round out the colorful cast as Aristocratic Ladies. The impressively ever changing set, and simply fabulous costumes (designed by Dean Cameron), moody lighting (by Zad Potter), sound (by Nikko Tsiotsis), and lively choreography (by Stephanie Pease) round out the total ambience! FYI – This was also released as a film under a slightly different title, starring Billy Crudup and Claire Danes. A most entertaining and rewarding theatrical experience … you must take the time to catch this one! After a notable roster of critically acclaimed offerings from this savvy troupe, this is still another winner from the Crown City Theatre! Located behind St. Matthews Church located at 11031 Camarillo St. in North Hollywood. Running weekends through July 1. For seats call (818) 605-5685 or go to www.crowncitytheatre.com.

Earthbound (An Electronic Musical) – Presented by Sky Pilot Theatre Co. Opening June 9 at T.U. Studios

As my readers know, I like to write a “wee” beforehand scoop, on plays I’ll soon see/review. This storyline is so futuristically complex … I don’t know where to start! Said to be a “musical adventure unfolding in a dystopian future, the nations of Earth have been shattered by cataclysmic wars and plagues. It’s been 100 years since global tragedies befell Earth. What will earthbound travelers find as they undertake their journey homeward?” For early booking, call (800) 838-3006.

Where the Great Ones Run – At The Rogue Machine Theatre in LA

Not assigned to review this play, I went as a guest of another “critic,” my friend Andrea. Written by Mark Roberts (the creator of TV’s Mike and Molly) it was a “slice of life” story, taking place in a run down truck stop in rural Indiana, present day. Although not perfect in every way … we both enjoyed the edgy story and offbeat “vibe,” on a spectacular set by Keith Mitchell, and starring Jeff Kober. Interestingly … the “reviews” around town have been so “all over the place” – it was unbelievable! LA Weekly “trashed” it to bits … Backstage West turned out a very “mixed” review, and The LA Times gave it the coveted “Critic’s Choice.” It just goes to show that “opinions are like noses” … Everbody has one! If intrigued, call (855) 585-5185.

Supernatural Magic Show – Opening June 15 at The El Portal

Last week I gave you a “scoop” on this upcoming “family friendly” extravaganza. To correct an error … I want to tell you it will only run for 10 performances … so if interested … book seats ASAP. Call (818) 508-4200 or (866) 811-4111.

See you next week with more of my verbal rampant ramblings. In the meantime … Why not book a seat to catch a play at one of LA’s many commendable and dedicated theatres!  


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