Only one production to talk about this week, and it was a mind boggling, highly ambitious effort, offered by one of L.A.’s most inventive and respected theatre troupes…

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The Malcontent

Bo Foxworth and John Achorn in “The Malcontent.”

Caught up in a complicated, madcap, naughty and bawdy English tragicomedy… I’m afraid I was in way over my head with this one! Confused throughout, I must shamelessly borrow from the descriptive information given in super publicist Lucy Pollak’s press release, to give you an overview of the wildly fleeting storyline of this whacky “Shakespearian-like” farce. Rarely produced, and written by John Marston, this complex and zany “tour de force” story, deals with deceptions, false identities, corruption, violence, disguises, betrayals, attempted murder, adulteries and plenty of saucy lust… with razor sharp speed.

Hilarious… but difficult for me to follow! The press sheet stated: “The former Duke of Genoa takes the disguise of the outrageous Malevole (the titular Malcontent) to spy on the corrupt foibles of the new Duke and his unctuous cronies.” Complex in style and language, though visually “a treat,” the plot is a mind bender to take in! Presented by the highly acclaimed Anataeus Theatre Company, under the high energy “tongue in cheek” direction of Elizabeth Swain, the play’s ensemble is “double-cast,” alternating performances, depending on when you see it. The ensemble I was saw was Cuckolds. The alternate cast is called Wittols. The entire enthusiastic cast I saw was very strong… captivating every manic moment with stellar verve and impeccable timing! Congrats to all! They were: John Achorn, Jason Thomas, Marisol Ramirez, Mark Doerr, John Allee, Buck Zachary, Joe Holt, Bo Foxworth, Ramon Deocampo, Adam Meyer, Jules Willcox, Lynn Milgrim, Joanna Strapp and Ann Noble. The period costumes by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg (assisted by Jessica Olson) were eyedroppingly gorgeous, and Tom Buderwitz’s minimal scenic design (cleverly including eight onstage audience members) was also worthy of note. Although as I said, the storyline often escaped my full understanding… the audience around me on opening night… seemed joyously entertained! If you are a “classic theatre” enthusiast,” I’m quite sure you will be too! This is a flawless and hard working theatre troupe! Running through June 19 at the Deaf West Theatre located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd. in NoHo. For seats, call (818) 506-1983 or go to www.Antaeus.org.

Mark Your Calendar (Upcoming Plays I Will Review):  iGhost – Opening May 20 at Hollywood’s Lyric Theatre

Spirits soar in this contemporized musical spin on Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost. Ghosts, magic, art, love and dancing, offer a chilling evening of theatre, featuring Broadway-Pop music performances in a haunted castle. Sounds like fun… and with the Direction of the coveted Jules Aaron at the helm… guiding a cast of 13… it is sure to be “stylish.” For early booking, call (626) 695-8283.

The Poor of New York – Opening June 3 at Lonny Chapman Theatre

Billed as a classic melodrama, unfolding just before the Civil War, this story is said to “mirror” today’s headlines and concerns. We follow the lives of two families over a 20 year period… “the Bloodgoods” and “the Fairweathers”… as we become deeply involved, anticipating the outcome of their fates. For early booking, call (818) 700-4878.

I’m Just Wild About Harry – Opening June 10 at Crown City Theatre in North Hollywood

Billed as an old fashioned musical comedy, adapted from Brandon Thomas’s Charlie’s Aunt, this play was a huge hit here a couple of years back. Now, revamped… this run promises “more fun, more laughs and more shtick!” A zany romantic romp, I missed it the first time around… but will be there on opening night, to tell you all about it! For early booking, call (818) 605-5685.

That’s it for this week… I hope all of the “Mothers” out there had a special day on Sunday! So sad to see the Lakers lose so badly… and say farewell to Phil Jackson. The most successful coach in the league’s history, he is now retiring for a quiet life in Montana. He will be missed. I really enjoyed following their journey this season… and can’t imagine what will happen with the team by next year!

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