I saw two great shows on the weekend!

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The first… Best for the “cutting edge,” voyeuristic playgoer, and the second… a thrill for just about everyone!

Entertaining Mr. Sloane

From l, Emrhys Cooper, Olivia d’ Abo and Ian Buchanan in “Entertaining Mr. Sloane.”

A multi-layered, darkly demented British comedy, with more twists n’ turns than a roller coaster… this is a most surprising and entertaining production! A manipulative and predatory quartet of characters… each with their own agendas, take us on a titillating and unexpected journey. Master manipulators all… each have no scrupulous boundaries, in satisfying their own self centered personal needs! Written and first performed in London in 1964, by the controversially scandalous playwright Joe Orton (…whose own death was horrendously violent), the play’s explicit and dark humor raised much controversy. Under the raw and “oh so British” dynamic direction of Stan Zimmerman, an impressive and flawless cast of four, gave riveting and “award worthy” depictions. Hesitant to give away too much… or spoil your “cheeky fun,” I’ll only give you a wee peek at the outrageous storyline. When Sloane, a sexually cocky and attractive underaged young man, raised in an orphanage, turns up to rent a room from Kath, a “40-ish” lonely woman, and her elderly father… lives are forever changed. Sloane is lusted over by both Kath and her wealthy older brother Ed, and distrusted by their ailing father… as many unsavory secrets unfold. Delicious, dark and often very funny… this is a compellingly “off beat” story. The cast of long respected and recognizable actors, work together with precision timing and professional pizzazz! Olivia d’ Abo plays Kath with fluttery finesse, and Emrhys Cooper as Sloane sizzles with steamy boyish sensuality! Robin Gammell is excellent as the suspicious and ailing father, and Ian Buchanan is devilishly dynamic as the older brother with his own leering interest in Sloane. An excellent and perfectly selected cast all round! Setting the kinky tone with technical style, kudos to: Joel Daavid (props), Kevin King (costumes), Bosco Flanigan (lighting), Hector (sound) and Eusebio Aynaga (hair and wigs). Presented with well thought out perfection, and earning a standing ovation on opening night… Do make it a point to meet the naughty Mr. Sloane! Only a four week run… so be quick about it! Running Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 through July 24 (dark on July 2 and 3) at the Actors Company Theatre located at 916 A N. Formosa Ave. in West Hollywood (free onsite parking). For tickets, go to https://www.plays411.net/newsite/show/play.

TWIST — An American Musical

Tamyra Gray as Della and Alaman Diadhiou as Twist in “TWIST - An American Musical” at The Pasadena Playhouse.

An infectiously lovable and heartwarmingly unforgettable musical extravaganza, this production will live in my heart for a long time to come! Pulsating perfection in every aspect of “live” theatre… I do hope every one of my readers (of all ages) will book seats to experience its magical energy… this very moment! Surely “Broadway bound,” the thunderous audience response to every song, message and moment of the heartfelt story was overwhelming! Based on Charles Dickens’s classic Oliver Twist, this powerful adaptation starred a largely African American cast, and takes place in New Orleans in the late 1920s. It is brilliantly directed and choreographed by the incomparable Debbie Allen, whose instincts are flawless! Book by William F. Brown and Tina Tippit and music by Gary Prim and Tena Clark (who also wrote the meaningful lyrics) tells the gripping story of a small orphan boy. Born to a black father and a white mother who dies during child birth, he is placed in numerous unkindly orphanages. As he struggles to find love, identity and acceptance, in a cold hearted and prejudiced world, many unsavory characters weave in and out of his life. Eleven year old Alaman Diadhiou as “Twist,” gives a heart wrenching performance, well beyond his years! A “star” in the making… he will melt your heart, and amaze you with his monumental talents. Dynamically starring Tamyra Gray (from American Idol), Cliff Bemis, Cleavant Derricks, Matthew Johnson and Pat McRoberts, with phenomenal support by a large cast of supremely gifted actors/singers, and an even larger ensemble cast… I wish I had the space to name all of them! A powerhouse group of singers, actors and dancers, held us in enthusiastic awe throughout! Adorable kids, gorgeous gals and handsome guys… this is quite a cast! Setting the excitingly heartwrenching mood with perfection, congrats to: Todd Rosenthal (ingenious set design), ESosa (eye popping costumes), Howell Binkley (moody lighting), Peter Fitzgerald (crisp sound), Harold Wheeler (orchestration), Jim Vukovich (music director) and his fantastic 13 piece live orchestra. Awesome efforts by all! For an emotion packed, spine tingling evening of theatre… this is currently the one to catch! Running through July 19 Tuesdays through Sundays at the Pasadena Playhouse located at 39 S. El Molino Ave. in Pasadena. For seats, call the box office at (626) 356-7529 or go to www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.

Hot Tip! Elements Kitchen

Why not make it a total entertainment experience? This charming and classy adjacent restaurant is wonderful! Owner/Chef Onil Chiba’s will oversee your every culinary desire… and the service is friendly and fun!

That’s my story for this week…. Two meticulously marvelous shows for your consideration. Turn off the “boob tube” and fall under the magic spell of “live” theatah!

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