Not-So Blissful Bliss

(L-R): John McAndrew, Linda Mayer and Michael James Thompson.

(L-R): John McAndrew, Linda Mayer and Michael James Thompson.

At its heart, theatre is a showcase of the writer’s art. Without the foundation of a solid script to begin with, not even a troupe as plucky as the Vagabond Players can make a decent go of the three somewhat undercooked choices that make up “Marital Bliss-ters”, an evening of one-act comedies now playing at the Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood.
In “Bridal Terrorism,” playwright Billy Rosenfield starts with the fairly clever premise of having a would-be bride (Kelli O’Brian, game and engaging) conduct on-the-spot marriage interviews in a park at gunpoint (Michael Homeier is her befuddled victim) with priest and wedding party in tow, but stretches the sketch just a bit too thin. “Banter and Vows” by Victor San Miguel purports to be about having second thoughts on the wedding night, but strains credulity with its odd conceit that the bride (O’Brian again) and groom (Brett Chapin) met for the first time at the altar in a match made by their parents. Lastly, “A Chance Meeting,” by Frederick Stroppel, uses the been-there done-that plot device of a married couple (John McAndrew and over-the-top vixen Linda Mayer) playing role-playing games in a tale that could have used a good rewrite or two.
Director Lewis Hauser keeps things moving along fairly well, and to their credit, the cast is generally up for the task. But for the Vagabonds to have better chances of success in the future, they need to work with more focused, better-developed material.

“Marital Bliss-ters” performs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 through December 5th at the Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim, NoHo. Tickets are $20. For reservations, call (818) 206-4000 or go to www.thevagabondplayers.com.


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