Two new reviews this week…

And one “repeat” review from last week, with The Tolucan Times’ apologies for last week’s errors.

On the Fritz

Fritz Coleman.

At the gorgeous El Portal Main Stage Theatre- Self created and performed “solo” …this is a wildly entertaining and brain-teasing show! I loved every zany moment!

Having enjoyed Fritz’s two previous “one man” plays over the years, (“It’s Me Dad,” and “The Reception”), I looked forward to being charmed by this talented, down-to-earth comic again. Fritz Coleman is a pro, and a natural born entertainer, both professionally and on the stage of life! He is a quirky guy with an infectiously loveable nature, a “sharp as a tack” mind, and a riotously relatable gift for sharing his personal views on life. The popular NBC Weathercaster for 27 years and a stand-up comedy club headliner for even longer…people just flat-out love this guy! The Honorary Mayor of Toluca Lake, locals approach him non-stop on the street for a quickie chat…and are always greeted warmly.

“On the Fritz” hilariously touches on subjects such as his lengthy weatherman success, childhood, religion, relationships, family, aging, the insanity of technological social networking, and much more. His flawless timing and acerbic wit kept us laughing throughout! His longtime friend and extraordinary guitarist, Laurence Juber, opened the show with an awe- inspiring acoustic set. The lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s “WINGS” and a respected solo artist/composer, he was fabulous! Sorry, but it’s too late for you to catch this show for now, but Fritz hopes to run it again soon, elsewhere. I’ll let you know…

Topdog/Underdog

Stephen Rider (L)) and Jed Reynolds in “Topdog/ Underdog” at Fremont Centre Theatre.

Written with gut-wrenching realism by Suzan-Lori Parks, her Pulitzer Prize winning script packs an emotional wallop! This disturbing play is a volatile and complex study of two adult African-American brothers, living together in a shabby rooming house. Struggling to “survive” any way they can, while processing the emotional damage of their dysfunctional childhoods, the erratic bond they share is undeniable…though self-destructive.

Dramatic, suspenseful and humorous in turns, this is a story about family secrets, broken dreams, failed romances, shady dealings, and survival of the fittest. In the end, though their brotherly love runs deep…no one wins! As gritty language and painful truths explode, their injured sibling rivalry takes many shocking turns. The youngest, Booth, wants to master the street con game of “three card monte”, which the eldest, Lincoln, has given up for a demeaning but legal job…portraying our 16th President in white face, at a sleazy arcade. Savvy Director James Reynolds masterfully guides two dynamically talented actors in these demanding roles! Stephen Rider as Booth and Jed Reynolds as Lincoln, are both riveting! (Their ironic names were their father’s idea of a joke.) The dismally cluttered set design of Dove Huntley, and costuming of Lois Tedrow, set the mood perfectly. Running Friday, Saturdays and Sunday matinees through Sept. 18th, this one is definitely not for the easily-offended theatre go-er! The Fremont Centre Theatre – 1000 Fremont Ave. in S. Pasadena. For seats, call 866-811-4111. (Theatremania).

Eat the Runt

Written by Avery Crozier with mind-boggling brilliance… This one will twist your brain! One of the most innovative, funny, wildly creative, ingenious, and theatrically challenging staged concepts I’ve ever seen! Also, one of the trickiest to “review,” in a way that will pique your interest without revealing too much. I think I’ll just have a wee cocktail… And then proceed! You’ll notice that all of the characters names are suitable for males and females… which allows either sex to enact every role. Ingenious! Astoundingly, there are 40,320, possible casting combinations, depending on “who” the audience chooses pre-show, to play “which” roles. Baffling! This means every actor must have memorized eight roles, and be prepared to play any one of them each night… on the moment! We are privy to the complex and grilling “interview process” at an elite art museum. Anything goes in the manic quest for this coveted job! In the lead role the night I went, hoping to be hired as Grant’s Manager, David LM McIntyre is a total riot! Vying cunningly for the title, he has certainly done his homework. As the team of “big-wigs” he must impress, “we” cast Dawn Greenidge (Pinky), Darrett Sanders (Royce), Joel Scher (Chris), Joshua Wolf Coleman (Sidney), Krista Conti (Hollis), Lauren Letherer (Gene), and Justin Okin (as a surprise guest). All were excellent and hilarious! Spontaneous combustion! Such a unique and clever accomplishment for all involved… the ambitious director, Tom Beyer, must have barely escaped insanity guiding this multi-faceted cast! Delighted audiences feel compelled to return to this brain-teasing extravaganza again and again… as each spontaneous combination of actors offers a new “take” on the shenanigans. After your first experience… you can come again repeatedly at a $5 discount. So much fun! I’ve never seen anything like it! Running Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursday nights at 8 p.m. through Sept. 9th at Theatre of NOTE – 1517 Cahuenga (just north of Sunset) in Hollywood. For tickets, call (323) 856-8611 or book online at www.theatreofnote.com

Why not beat the heat…and book a seat!


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