‘PL.A.Y Noir’ captures post-WWII spirit and mood

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There was a time, albeit brief, whereas the nation experienced a collective angst after WWII. Victory was ours, but this newfound success and empirical ambitions exposed a dark underside of the tonality of some whose psychic wounds never healed. It revealed a cynical perspective, a reflection of the rapid growth of suburbia that swept away a now antiquated downtown.

PL.A.Y Noir captures the nuanced language, the world-weary vantage and brash sexuality. It twists the dark into hilarious comedy that resonates. Like a dance, we can anticipate the moves, however the six one-acts infuse relevance and structure in lesser hands could be a meandering production.

Producer and director James Eldon imbues the plays with the precision of a surgeon: the subtle romance of a particular language, an engaging cast that empowers women not only as a femme fatale, but as the part of the classic gumshoe. The gender reversal with some of the real is absolutely spot-on. In fact, it is this element that gives PL.A.Y Noir depth. Impressive.

Each one-act stands on its own. And each contains the right amount of tension and conflict to keep the audience reeled in. The topics varied, from the tongue twister “Blonde Noir 1 & 2” to the sophisticated “Vixen.”  All the performers shined, especially Deanna Noe and John Conroy.

PL.A.Y Noir is thoroughly enjoyable and balances the comedic frivolity and dramatic weight with great ease. It reminds one of a time, not so far back, when somber moods created a cynical outlook, not so different from ours now.

Highly recommended.

“PL.A.Y Noir” runs through Monday, August 14 at The Actors Workout Studio located at 4735 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Visit PLAYNoir.com or call (818) 749-6855.  

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