The Real Thing Explores Love

From l, Fox Carney, Cindy Marinangel, Susan Silvestri, and Michael Robb in “The Real Thing.”

From l, Fox Carney, Cindy Marinangel, Susan Silvestri, and Michael Robb
in “The Real Thing.”

Combining thoughtful direction and outstanding acting, The Real Thing brings Tom Stoppard’s witty take on love and marriage to animated life. Stoppard’s brilliant wordplay and thought-provoking insights illuminate the sometimes rocky road of romantic relationships.

Famous playwright Henry (Michael Robb) discovers that his life is echoing that of his latest play, turning his life and relationships upside down.

Skillful performances by the cast bring the characters to vivid life. Susan Silvestri’s energetic, brittle Charlotte slices and dices her way through relationships. Fox Carney brings wounded sensitivity to everyman Max. Cindy Marinangel’s playful, flirty Annie schemes her way through romance. While Robb nails Henry’s intelligent banter, he sometimes fails to connect romantically with his love interests.

Director Linda Alznauer draws fine timing and rhythm from her actors, who bring playwright Stoppard’s erudite words to sparkling life. English and Scottish accents stay true and believable. Alznauer develops fine pacing as she moves players around the tiny stage, revealing the active engagement of close relationships. Unfortunately, the difficulty of moving around the interlocking set pieces sometimes brings proceedings to a crawl.

Production work is first-rate. Jazmin Lopez’ lighting adds nice atmosphere to Diana Martin and Larry White’s gorgeous, intimate living room, filled with plush textures, woods, and designs. Steve Shaw naturally blends in classical pieces and pop songs in a timely fashion.

The Real Thing examines the tricky and mysterious nature of love through good acting and production work.

The Real Thing plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. through March 9 at the Two Roads Theatre located at 4348 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. Tickets cost $15, and can be purchased at, or by calling (323) 822-7898. Parking is available on Tujunga, Moorpark, and some side-streets, but please read all parking signage.

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