With a market of melancholic crime dramas and hyperbole investigational reporting, it is refreshing to enjoy a production that mocks and yet confirms the longevity and, at times, the absurdity of British whodunits. They may be dated, but there is an endearing charm, a glimpse at the world that was.
Bullshot Crummond is based on Bulldog Drummond, a popular pulp hero. Bulldog epitomizes the quintessential British aristocrat — brilliant, daring, and imposing. Our Bullshot is … well; let’s just say he is daring.
Played with bravado by Ben Gillman, the hero is more like an English Clauseau. He means well though. Enter the villain, Otto Von Brunno (the charismatic John Paul De Leonardis) who with femme fatale Lenya Von Brunno (a spot-on Glenda Morgan Brown) hatches a devious plan for world domination.
They must kidnap Professor Rupert Fenton (a superb Doug Haverty — whose talent at multiple roles is short of inspiring) whose secret formula in the wrong hands can manifest world chaos. Once word reaches Bullshot, the game is afoot. He gains a worthy and lovely ally, Miss Rosemary Fenton (the adorable Deneen Melody). Of course she is the professor’s daughter, but that is the beauty of it.
The elements of the show work extremely well. The script is clever, and the staging is creative and vibrant. Director JC Gafford utilizes the actor’s dynamics in a most ingenious way. A sense of urgency in the pacing would give it punch.
Plan on a most memorable evening of laughter and gentile regality. Let us remember a time when a secret formula was the only thing we dreaded. Well said, well said. Recommended.
Bullshot Crummond runs through May 5 at The Advent Theatre located at 4390 Colfax Ave. in Studio City. For more informataion, visit adventtheatre.org.