Hope is what fuels our desires and dreams. It is the fire in our souls when circumstances can dampen our prospects. It is also the luminosity for the darkest of hours. Elvis brought hope to the masses. A poor boy who made it, an icon representing that dreams can come true. The production of Elvis’s Toenail reiterates that even with the harshest of conditions, there is always hope that we can prevail.
The setting is Dublin, 1961. The church has immeasurable power and is relentless in its pursuit to enforce the status quo. A woman can disgrace the community by becoming pregnant and thus, set away in a convent.
We meet Rita (Lenne Klingaman) who has been disowned by her parents. Without anywhere to go, she gets a job as a seamstress by Miss McEvoy (Francesca Ferrara). Rita is talented and excels at her job. But there is still a matter of a baby on the way. And the shop is under the watchful eye of Father Ambrose (Gary Bell) and Mother Francis (Marnie Crossen).
Not all is lost. Rita gains allies and support. We witness a young woman declare her independence and by doing so, break the bonds of society’s constraint.
Elvis’s Toenail is an excellent production throughout. Director Joe Banno (with Sal Romeo) delivers punch and eloquence with his actors. Allowing them to shine radiates Fionnuala Kenny’s script. It has equal measures of comedy and drama; the comedic parts are charming and dear. Standout performances from Arielle Davidsohn as Carmel and Christine Quiqless as Imelda accentuate an already appealing story. This show brings hope to all. Highly recommended.
Elvis’s Toenail runs through Dec. 8 at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre located at 4150 Riverside Dr. in Burbank.
For tickets, call or visit browpapertickets.com.