The Apple Tree Tempts Fate

Barbara (Maria Sermonia) and Sanjar (Matthew Elszy) are tormented by their “Forbidden Love” in “The Apple Tree.”

Barbara (Maria Sermonia) and Sanjar (Matthew Elszy) are tormented by their “Forbidden Love” in “The Apple Tree.”

Elate Theatre presents an intriguing but odd blend of three one-act musicals that examine how temptations affect the roads we travel for good and bad in their production of The Apple Tree. Combining ironic humor and fine singing, the presentation offers a light-hearted look at moral choices.

The first one-act, The Diary of Adam and Eve, portrays how Adam (Joseph Bell) and Eve (Catherine Rahm), tempted by the snake (Jeff Thorsen) to eat the forbidden apple, suffer unforeseen consequences. Bell and Rahm possess strong voices and bring satiric though touching takes to their performances. The Lady or the Tiger comes in as the second one-act, a hip, 1960s look at how jealousy affects one young woman’s (Maria Sermonia) choice in deciding the outcome of her lover’s (Matthew Elszy) life. Elszy’s flamboyant performance, Renee Laramore’s forceful singing, and 1960s’ R & B music highlight the act.

The final one-act, Passionella, warns to be careful what you wish for, when a chimney sweep (Sydney Berk) achieves her dream of becoming a world-famous movie star, but discovers it’s sometimes better to accept life as is. The sarcastic tone rips narcissism, popular culture, and shallow behavior. Berk’s odd alto scoops and swells with incredulity as her life undergoes drastic changes.

Some of the dialogue seems a little dated, though often witty.

Bell’s set design is simple but elegant, while Jon Sparks does wonders with mod wigs and hair. While entertaining, The Apple Tree occasionally falls flat. Elate Theatre (Emmanuel Lutheran Actors Theatre Ensemble) presents The Apple Tree Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Aug. 11 at the Lincoln Stegman Theatre at Emmanuel Lutheran Church located at 6020 Radford Ave. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $12. For further information or to make reservations, call (818) 509-0882.


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