It was also confusing at times … which made it a tough one to “review,” in a way that makes sense to you.
Farm Boy – The Sequel to War Horse. West Coast Premiere.
Immediately following Sunday’s closing of War Horse at The Ahmanson (which I didn’t see) this excellent sequel, taking place decades later, has opened. A powerful and touching two character play, we are invited into the lives, hearts, and stories, between a Grandfather and his young adult Grandson in the early 1900s. The script was adapted by Daniel Buckroyd from Michael Morpurgo’s original work, and includes original music by Katrina Wood. Slowly and touchingly, we are privy to the family dynamics, both past and present, and including “flashback” scene enactments involving the now deceased Great Grandfather. A complex story that focuses on a past racing event, and reaffirms the bond that links family to the heartstrings … I was captivated from start to finish. It was beautifully directed with heartfelt realism, and a deep sense of familial connection, by David Fofi. Involving the passions and viewpoints of three generations of men … the story of the Great Grandfather’s life unfolds (the focal character in War Horse was this man … much younger). Taking place on a farm (simplistically lovely set by Aaron Glazer), we learn hidden truths of the Grandfather’s loving marriage, the boy’s hopes and dreams, and the deceased Great Grandfather’s inspiring adventure, with his beloved horses … Joey and Zoey. When he was caught up in a challenge at a pub, to race his horses against a massive Forston tractor, for monetary gain … he accepted the dare. As machinery had altered rural life, much to his dismay … he hoped to win, and prove a point. The scene depicting the big race was heart-touchingly effective! The highly respected Lawrence Pressman and gifted newcomer Simon Lees give hypnotically flawless performances, abundant with touching moments, and beautifully timed. Joel Daavid’s exceptional lighting, and Art Wood’s sound design, set the mood perfectly. Farm Boy is a deeply personal “telling” spanning generations, revealing the love of land and horses, and the pride of family connections. I recommend it for audiences teen-aged to adult … avid fans of War Horse, and all up ‘n coming theatrically passionate students of “acting” … who will benefit by invaluable lessons here. This is a stellar example of fine tuned theatrical achievement in every possible aspect of live theatre. Deeply moving … and heart stoppingly presented! Mesmerizing! Running Thursday through Sundays until Aug. 26 at The Matrix Theatre located at 7657 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. For tickets call (800) 838-3006 or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/events/254780.
An Upcoming Exciting Event: Moonwalker – The Reflection of Michael Jackson
A live tribute to the music, dance, and artistry that was Michael Jackson. As a part of the “30th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll” series, you can marvel at the talent, brilliance, and uncanny likeness to this controversial artist who left us much too early. Performed by Michael Firestone, who is one of the most respected “Jackson” tribute artists in the USA, and backed by an onstage cast of 13 musical artists – this show will rock the sidewalks all over town! A spectacular national touring, multimedia show, in honor of the third anniversary of Michael’s passing … there will be only two performances … one show at each venue. Do book seats right away! Aug. 10 at 7:30 at theThousand OaksCivicArtsPlaza in The Fred Kavil Theatre – call (805) 449-2787 — and Aug. 12 a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at The Alex Theatre in Glendale – call (818) 243-2539.
See you there!