Pure Confidence Takes Us Back To A Complicated Chapter In America’s Past

Review by Peter Foldy

It’s perhaps a little known fact that prior to the Civil War, black jockeys dominated the sport of horse racing. Pure Confidence by Carlyle Brown explores that world in Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble’s West Coast Premiere of a powerful and multi layered tale that explores the complicated relationship between master and slave.

Simon Cato (Armond Edward Dorsey) is a cocky, confident and most winning jockey owned by two children who have inherited him. Through their lawyer, they lease Simon to Colonel Wiley Johnson (William Salyers) — a man Simon rides and wins for. The colonel’s horse is also the title of this play; Pure Confidence.

Simon and the colonel have an understanding, a friendship of sorts, and the colonel and his wife begin to think of their jockey and rented slave as a distant family member. Simon begs the colonel to buy him from the children so that he in turn can buy his own freedom with money he hopes to win by racing.

The colonel’s wife, Mattie (Deborah Puette) helps Simon put his plan in motion and even allows the Simon to buy her “girl,” Caroline (Tamarra Graham) on the condition that Simon marry her. These are forward thinking, modern minded people who are certainly out of step in their class conscious, racist world.

The first act sees Simon achieve his dream. He gets his freedom, but by the second act Simon’s fortunes have changed. Injured in a racing accident, he has suffered permanent damage that prevents him from riding and now works as a bellboy for an abusive, racist hotel clerk (Eamon Hunt). His marriage to Caroline, though caring on many levels has also turned abusive. Simon vents his anger by hitting his wife.

When a newspaper reporter (Dylan John Seaton) tracks Simon 15 years later so that he can write a story about the once great jockey, we learn that it was Colonel Johnson and his wife who hired the writer to locate their former jockey.

At a touching, heart-felt reunion, these two couples, one white and powerful, the other black and struggling, try to rekindle their prior relationship in the new age of Reconstruction, but they are thwarted by the social climate, ultimately having to acknowledge that it is not a level playing field, and a legitimate friendship between them is never to be.

Staged in a black box at the Sacred Fools Theatre, this production is most impressive.  Director, Marya Mazor has crafted a poignant piece that feels as real as it is disturbing.

The set design by Tom Buderwitz and clever use of film and photo projections from Nicholas Santiago help give Pure Confidence a slick, almost off-Broadway feel. Kudos to Mylette Nora for her costume design that looks and feels so authentic. But it is the acting that makes this play well worth seeing. Armond Edward Dorsey is exceptional as the ambitious Simon. William Salyers ably unfolds Colonel’s mindset, letting us see the complexities of his character.

Tamarra Graham asCaroline” is both sensitive and fragile, but strong when she needs to be, while Deborah Puette as the colonel’s wife convincingly portrays a modern thinking woman from a troubled time.

The rest of the cast, Eamon Hunt and Dylan John Seaton are both solid in their respective roles.

Pure Confidence is a thought provoking drama that compels as it takes us back to an ugly chapter in America’s past. Its message is not only powerful – it may also move you to tears.

Where: Sacred Fools
1076 Lillian Way
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Schedule: 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 3pm Sundays
Closing: April 30, 2017

For reservations call (323) 960-7745 or online at www.lower-depth.com/on-stage

Tickets: $25 – $34

Production photos by: Ed Krieger

 

“Punk Rock” Screams Teenage Angst

by Peter Foldy

Our teenage years were fragile. Many of us grew up wondering how the other half lived. At times,  we wondered whether our class mates had the same fears and insecurities we did. Were they as fragile as we sometimes felt? Did they think crazy thoughts or was their journey as easy as it looked at the time?

Tony Award winning playwright Simon Stephens attempts to answer some of these questions as he examines the life of seven British teenagers in the excellent new production, PUNK ROCK, produced by Sally Essex-Lopresti and Ron Sossi, and currently playing at the Odyssey Theatre in West L.A.

Set in an up-scale Grammar school in the north west of England, Punk Rock gives us a fly-on-the-wall experience as these bright, articulate kids, living in a privileged bubble, prepare to take their college entrance exams.

William (Zachary Grant) is a quirky lad who could have easily stepped out of the hilarious British TV series, “The In Betweeners.” He is instantly likeable and reluctantly wears his heart on his sleeve. When a new girl, Lilly (Raven Scott), transfers to the school, William develops a crush on her but is soon shattered to learn that she has been seeing and sleeping with Nicholas (Nick Marini), a handsome student who is also a part of their core group.

We also meet Cissy, (Miranda Wynne) a pretty blonde who dates Bennett (Jacob B. Gibson), a savage bully who, under the guise of being macho, may in fact be secretly unsure about his sexual preference. Bennett’s main victim at school is the brilliant young student, Chadwick, (Kenney Selvey) a kid who doesn’t bother trying to defend himself from Bennett’s verbal and physical attacks. Chadwick is caught up instead in an existential belief system where nothing really matters.

Bennett’s other target of choice is Cissy’s best friend, the somewhat chunky Tanya (Story Slaughter). Bennett berates the girl, calling her fat, and Cissy does little to stop him. By her silence, she is also complicit, as are the other kids who stand by and do almost nothing to stop him. Nobody wants to get involved.

At first, the group gossips, talks about sex, teachers, and their prospects in the outside world; but as the pressure mounts and the story begins a slow simmer, the characters amp up their anxieties, allowing their true personalities to rise to the surface. We begin to wonder who will make it through this final semester. Who will allow the truth to be revealed – who will be the one to snap and reign chaos on their classmates?

Playwright Simon Stephens examines this vulnerable age where everything seemed so important. Sexual desire is hard to control and teenage angst feels like the world is coming to an end. A look, a rejection, a slight from a friend has a deep and profound effect.

Though this production might have benefited from pushing the envelope even a little further, director Lisa James manages to keep the tension building. She plays her cast like a game of chess, moving them fluidly around the stage. She is also fortunate in that she has assembled a fine cast who expertly bring this story to life.

Zachary Grant as William is charming and enigmatic; his transformation seems tragic and real. Jacob Gibson’s Bennett feels threatening but threatened at the same time – a victim of his suppressed insecurities. Kenney Selvey is the perfect little bookworm here,
detached, intelligent, and in need of a hug.

The rest of the talented performers, Scott, Marini, Wynne, and Slaughter, as well as Mark Daneri, who makes a brief appearance as Dr. Harvey, are on the mark in their respective roles. Each actor feels real and three-dimensional. Each scene change is punctuated by loud punk rock music as a statement of their youthful rebellion.

Punk Rock is raw, graphic, erotic, and ultimately highly disturbing. It reminds me of that time you pick up a large stone to find hundreds of little bugs scurrying about underneath. The turmoil is just below the surface – till it isn’t.

When: Fridays & Saturdays @ 8 p.m. and Sundays @ 2 p.m.
plus 2 Wednesdays: April 12 & May 3, and 1 Thursday: April 27, all @ 8 p.m.

Where: The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025

Tickets: $15 – $30 (Student, Guild and Senior Discounts available)

www.odysseytheatre.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Shades Of Disclosure” Celebrates Life

Review by: Peter Foldy

Heartbreaking, but ultimately positive and powerful, the World Premiere of SHADES OF DISCLOSURE, reminds us of the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that still continues to pose a host of social injustices such as homophobia, racism, immigration rights, healthcare discrimination, and the rights of transpersons.

Created and performed by the revolutionary QueerWise, a Los Angeles based group of LGBTQ writers and spoken word artists, Shades of Disclosure introduces us to a a number of HIV/AIDS survivors, and a few that were spared. Their deep and personal stories illuminate not only what they went through when the plague hit some thirty years earlier but how it still impacts their lives today.

The cast members on stage are not actors playing roles. They are real people sharing remembrances of heartbreak and loss, of good luck and bad. Some on stage were infected early while others, though promiscuous and care-free, escaped the epidemic.

Wrapped in an atmosphere of the current political climate, QueerWise tell their stories in well staged production that encourages others to do the same. “Who Are You?” they ask.

The outpouring of truthfulness on stage soon becomes contagious and one cannot help but feel a deep empathy.

Ultimately, we know that honesty about ones self is a beautiful, unifying and galvanizing force that we need to carry into 2017 if we are to survive, thrive, and maintain, says director, Michael Kearns.

Though it may sound like this performance piece is a downer, it is actually a celebration of being alive. Something we can all relate to.

Featuring Albert Auben, Gil Feroli, Cheri Gaulke, Randy (Joe) Gravelle, John Glenn Harding, Jessie Jacobson, Sophie Kim, Darrell Larson, Timothy Mack, Mason Mahoney, Jen O’Connor, Roland Palencia, Christine Papalexis, Jim Pentecost, Ken Pienkos and David Trudel, Shades of Disclosure plays at 8:00pm Saturdays, and 3:00pm on Sundays through February 25, 2017.

Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027.

Tickets are $15 – $40. Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://SkylightTix.com

Review: Hedwig And the Angry Inch Keeps It Fresh At The Pantages

by Peter Foldy

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is an innovative, powerful and wickedly humorous musical that will stay with you long after the final curtain.

The show actually began its life as a racy, sexually charged cabaret act. Created by STEPHEN TRASK and JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, it first morphed into a 1998 off-Broadway hit and thenDarren-Criss-Hedwig-and-the-Angry-Inch a 2001 film before finally hitting the bright lights of Broadway in 2014. As the show’s legend grew, ultimately rising to cult status, it’s stars also received well deserved acclaim. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, who played “Hedwig” on Broadway won a Tony, as did LENA HALL, here in Los Angeles reprising her role as “Yitzhak,” Hedwig’s back-up singer husband.

Though it’s been twenty years since it’s inception, this welcome First National Tour still packs a punch and manages to keep it fresh for new audiences. As we are drawn into Hedwig’s heart-breaking story,  the nature of the play allows for saucy, cutting-edge, ad libbed banter from it’s star, here brilliantly played by the energetic and talented, DARREN CRISS.

Hedwig, we learn, is an East German rock singer who suffered a botched sex-change operation that left her down there with only an inch of flesh. In Los Angeles to perform a one-night-only concert at the Pantages, she reveals that 1434618341137.cachedshe was recently involved with “Tommy Gnosis,” a now famous rock star with whom she co-wrote many of the songs that helped fuel his career. Hedwig was in fact the “mysterious blond” who distracted Tommy while he was driving his car, causing him to crash into a school bus. That accident and it’s subsequent notoriety made Tommy a star, leaving Hedwig to live her sad life as an “internationally ignored song stylist.”

By coincidence Tommy is also in town, headlining the Hollywood Bowl, and when Hedwig opens the backstage door, she can hear him talking to his adoring fans, never once acknowledging Hedwig’s contributions.

Throughout the show we also meet the aforementioned “Yitzhak,” a doting waif of a man whom Hedwig treats with disdain. Though Yitzhak also craves the spotlight, Hedwig does all she can to prevent her husband from showing off his talents.

Joining the pair on stagehedwig-rebecca-naomi-jones-3794 is Hedwig’s fictional band, The Angry Inch, comprised of musicians JUSTIN CRAIG (guitars, keyboards), MATT DUNCAN (bass, guitars, keyboards), TIM MISLOCK (guitar) and PETER YANOWITZ (drums), the same quartet who played the Broadway run and who are really not a fictional band at all.

In between banter, Hedwig and the Angry Inch roll through an array of great songs, many of them a nod to glam rock, grunge and metal rock. There are also ballads like, “Wicked Little Town” and “Wig In A Box” that are also standouts.

But the real stand out here is Darren Criss. His performance as Hedwig electrifies as it breaks your heart. Criss is charming and likeable, seemingly inhabited by Hedwig’s persona in this 90 minute physically demanding role.82321-11 He speaks to all those with a dream not fully realized, making L.A. a perfect venue for this story. Criss’ job is not made any easier by the array of over-sized wigs and platform heels his character prances around in, but the physically fit actor makes it seem flawless.

Lena Halls surprises as “Yitzhak” once her powerful singing abilities are finally revealed, and in a clever twist, Hall becomes Hedwig by the end of the show, allowing Criss to reveal his muscular body and the fact that he is not a “slip of a girly boy” at all.

The set by JULIAN CROUCH is compact. A car crash scene with moving parts that seems a good fit for this car crash of a story.

MICHAEL MAYER’S direction keeps the show moving at a pace while some ingenious screen projections from BENJAMIN PEARCY during the beautiful ballad, “The Origin of Love,” make us feel as if we are watching Hedwig in an animated fish bowl, his thoughts coming to life in front of our eyes.18386_show_landscape_large_02

Tickets for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH are on sale now and are available for purchase at www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787, and at the Hollywood Pantages Box Office (6233 Hollywood Boulevard). Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by visiting www.PantagesGroups.com or by calling 866-755-3075.

Darren Criss will NOT appear as “Hedwig” in the following performances: Sunday, November 6th at 6:30pm; Sunday, November 13th at 6:30pm; Sunday, November 20th at 6:30pm & Friday, November 25th at 8:00pm.

 

 

 

 

“It’s Time” Is A Poignant Celebration Of Love And Life

Review by: Peter Foldy

The Beatles said it best. “All You Need is Love.” Paul Linke reaffirms that notion in his heartfelt, nostalgic solo performance currently running at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. Linke’s current piece, IT’S TIME, bookends his Ace Award Nominated HBO Showcase entitled “Time Flies When You’re Alive.”

This time Linke shares a remarkable journey that saw him love deeply and then grieve desperately before finding a new love again, I_T_Paul_Linke2a love that has sustained him and his family for over twenty five years.

Best recognized for his role as “Artie Grossman” on the NBC-TV series CHiPs as well as for his co-starring roles in “Parenthood” and “K-PAX,” Linke’s story starts out in the 1960s. He introduces us to his younger self, a horny pot smoking college kid who has no clue where his journey is headed. Nor does he care. His main focus are girls and seeing the Doors at the Whisky Au Go Go. By chance he finds himself in a college acting workshop where at his audition he proceeds to embarrass himself with an impromptu improvised sex act on a plant. Not a great start, but, hey, it’s the 60s.  Fortunately, the people running the workshop see something in this free spirited wild child–a potential of talent–which gets him into class and ultimately sparks his interest in pursuing a life as an actor.

Having finally discovered his calling, Linke also manages to fall in love. It’s a deep, committedI_T_Paul Linke4 love that brings him much happiness and produces three beautiful children. But as most of us know, life sometimes has other plans. Linke’s wife is diagnosed with breast cancer and before long he finds himself a single dad with not a clue as to how to move forward.

Linke shares his deep debilitating grief while humorously revealing his attempts at dating and parenting. It’s a time of  pain and desperation but somehow Linke carries on.

Eventually, through an unexpected introduction, he meets a beautiful actress called Christine and he is instantly smitten. His nerves however get the better of him and he makes an obnoxious first impression. The opportunity almost implodes but the actress gives him another chance and gradually a deep, caring relationship is formed and a broken family slowly becomes whole again.

Expertly directed by I_T_Paul Linke8EDWARD EDWARDS, Linke’s story is brought to life through a series of projected photographs that ably connects the audience to Linke’s loved ones.

This is a beautiful journey. One that is honestly and openly shared. It is hard not to shed a tear, nor to feel empathy during Linke’s 70 minute performance. He celebrates the magnitude of life, the power of love and applauds the contributions of those around him who helped turn his life around. And isn’t that something we can all relate to? Seeing “It’s Time,” may compel you say thank you, or I love you to those who matter the most in your life.

When: IT’S TIME runs at 8pm on Fridays, 5pm Saturdays, and 2pm on Sundays through December 4, 2016 (no performances November 25 – 27).

Where: Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405.

How Much: Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, seniors, and guild members) and can be purchased in advance by calling (310) 397-3244 or online at www.ruskingrouptheatre.com Ample free parking available.

 

 

Skulduggery – Never Trust A Ghost

Play Review by:Peter Foldy

MICHAEL SHAW FISHER’S musical prequel to Hamlet, SKULLDUGGERY, currently playing at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood, is an emancipation of one of history’s most epic stories. Fisher takes Shakespeare’s greatest play and extracts the core, bringing the characters to life in a most vibrant and colorful way. In particular, Fisher shines a light on Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and the villain of the original story, showing us his human perspective.

Skullduggery takes placeskullduggery-the-musical-prequel-to-hamlet_29404314503_o years before the birth of young Hamlet. Claudius is a meek and poetic teenager when he and his brother, the imposing Hamlet Senior, meet Gertrude for the first time. Emotions run high among the three youngsters and an attraction between Claudius and Gertrude is apparent. With the kingdom is on the brink of war swift choices must be made. Claudius’ sickly demeanor makes him more of a battlefield liability than a viability and he is soon left behind while Hamlet and their father, known only as “The King,” leave for war. Seven years later Hamlet Senior returns to Elsinore and takes Gertrude as his bride, leaving his brother nursing a broken heart.

Time passes. Chaos ensues and the country is forced to reconcile with the new, warmongering king.

While this may sound dark and gloomy, Skullduggery is also a light-hearted musical romp with songs such as “Never Trust A Ghost,” “Girl Talk” skullduggery-the-musical-prequel-to-hamlet_29737035550_oand “Snake In The Garden.” The play attempts to reveal answers missing from the original Hamlet. What really happened to Yorkick? What fate befell Ophelia and Laertes’ mother. The skeletons in Shakespeare’s masterpiece all come come out to play and ultimately, Claudius is faced with his most difficult decision. To kill or not to kill?

JOHN BOBEK as Claudius convincingly transforms from a poetic teen, filled with puppy love, to a murderous villain and the nemesis of Shakespeare’s classic play. DAVID HAVERTY creates an ominous force as Hamlet Senior, while LEIGH WULFF’S brilliant and melodic Gertrude brings them together and helps to reveal the humanity in the villain.

JOE FRIA (substituting last week for Brendan Hunt) as Yorick is a stunt-laden spectacle while CURT BONNEM as Polonius and REBECCAskullduggery-the-musical-prequel-to-hamlet_29404310583_o LARSEN as Berta, bring a lighthearted, comedic essence to the production.

The Scenic Design by DEANNE MILLAIS and the costumes by LINDA MUGGERIDGE bring character and a sense of reality to the incredible story.

Fisher’s intelligent play, (he wrote the script and the music), SCOTT LEGGETT’S sure handed direction, NATASHA NORMAN’S fluid choreography and MICHAEL TEOLI’S impressive musical direction, (leading a tight 10 piece band), make Skulduggery a not to be missed theatrical event. It’s a Broadway worthy production right here in our own backyard.

WHERE: Sacred Fools Theater, 1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, CA 90038

WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sunday Matinees at 3pm. Ending November 5.

COST: $25 online at http://www.sacredfools.org or by calling 310 281 8337

Moral Imperative At Theatre 40

Play review by: Peter Foldy

A moral imperative is a strongly-felt principle that compels a person to act. It is when something must happen because it’s the right thing to do.

Using this definition it might have been correct to eliminate Adolph Hitler before he ignited World War II. Or to have disposed of Charlie Manson before he and his minions went on their murderous rampage. While I suspect moral imperatives are seldom murder related, SAMUEL WARREN JOSEPH’S riveting new play, MORAL IMPERATIVE, tackles a dilemma that does ultimately lead to someone’s demise.

Joseph’s M_I_0109 copy 2 story concerns “Seth” (MARTIN THOMPSON) a self righteous professor and Provost who has waited patiently to be appointed president of Briarton University, his Alma Mater. Seth’s world is shattered when his most hated rival, Oscar (DAVID HUNT STAFFORD) is unexpectedly bestowed that prestigious position.

When Oscar’s modus operandi becomes clear it drives Seth to the edge of desperation. Oscar, we discover, intends to eliminate tenure for the professorial staff, start a school hockey team, and perhaps most offensive, start a hotel management school.

Already disgusted with the dumbing down of America, Seth seethes with anger as he commiserates with his close friend and colleague, “Robert” (KEN KAMLET). As they discuss various options, German philosopher, Immanuel Kant’s name is mentioned and Seth suggests that perhaps it is their moral imperative to wipe Oscar from the face of the earth. It takes some convincing but a plot is hatched and eventually executed, but not without complications.

Seth finally realizes his dream and becomes University president, delivering a touching eulogy at Oscar’s funeral. His partner in crime however slowly begins to unravel.

Soon a Colombo like detective, (BRANDEE STEGER) pits Robert and Seth against each other in order to confirm her suspicions that Oscar didn’t die of natural causes. Here the play takes some brilliant Hitchcockian turns as it spirals toward it’s poignant conclusion.

Director, HOWARD STORM,M_I_0236 copy 2 expertly guides his talented cast through this twisted thriller. One and all deliver stellar performances.

Martin Thompson as “Seth” capably hides his desperation as a pompous man with little left to lose. SUSAN DAMANTE as his wife, “Mary” is powerful as a woman who recognizes the truth but tries to ignore it for as long as possible. Ken Kamlet as the volatile Robert is compelling. It is painful to watch him unravel and crumble.

The set design by JEFF G RACK is detailed and exceptional. At times I felt like I was watching a wide screen movie.

If you’re fan of intelligent theater, Moral Imperative is the play to see.

WHERE: Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. The venue is on the campus of Beverly Hills High School and there is free parking.

WHEN: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00, Mon. at 8:00

TICKET PRICES: $30.

HOW: Reservations may be made by calling (310) 364-0535 or online at www.theatre40.org.

 

 

 

Siamese Sex Show Will Leave You Smiling–And Maybe Scratching Your Head

Review by Peter Foldy

Who cares if the story line of the SIAMESE SEX SHOW by JOHN PAPAGEORGE, now playing at the Lounge Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood make little sense. It’s a light-hearted romp with great costumes and talented singers and dancers performing radio worthy pop tunes that are going to entertain and have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face.

Okay, you really want SSS_0159 copyto know what the show is about?

Let me try and explain it if I can.

We’re in the future. A mysterious military, industrial, entertainment complex called Monocorp has fabricated a global epidemic claiming that sex will lead to certain death. By controlling our most basic human need Monocorp stands to profit. Why you ask? Because they have created a “safe” sex product called the Love Light that is guaranteed to increase their power and wealth. Or something.

This somehow brings the world to the brink of an apocalypse and it will now take four fallen pop stars to overcome their pop star differences and band together in order to stop Monocorp’s evil agenda.

Are you following me?

If not it really doesn’t matter, because here’s SSS_0078 copythe thing. The Siamese Sex Show is a hoot. Director, KIFF SCHOLL, calls it “a living comic book that satirizes pop music, technology, and of course sex,” and while the story line may be a yawn to some, the show is a joy ride with cutting edge music and some stand out performances.

The entire cast gives it their all. Some are worthy of special mention.

EDDIE GUTIERREZ as “George O Thornhill” delivers a Broadway worthy turn as a nerdy Clark Kent type who ultimately betrays Monocorp. A strong singer and dancer Mr. Gutierrez presence here centers the craziness whenever he’s on stage.

ERIN RYE is hilarious as a sex robot with a “Doctor Evil” like tic, placing her little finger in the corner of her mouthSSS_0362 copy before speaking. Her joyful exuberance in this role is contagious.

RICCARDO BERDINI is at ease as “Mr. Hadji,” an Italian magician who also happens to be a great singer, while JILLIAN EASTON is an alluring love interest.

JANELLE DOTTE, MIKI HOLMES, ALYSSA NOTO and DAYNA ALICE AUSTIN, the four beautiful ladies the play calls “The Board” are excellent in their song and dance routines.

Other impressive cast members include ISAAC CRUZ, SEAN LEON, CLOIE WYATT TAYLOR and KEITH E. WRIGHT.

Kudos to APRIL THOMAS’ choreography, MICHAEL MULLEN’S costume design, SHEILA DORN’S wig and makeup design, DAVID OFFNER’S sets, YEE EUN NAM’S production design as well as the effective lighting by KELLEY FINN.

Produced by RACQUEL LEHRMAN and Associate Produced by VICTORIA WATSON of Theatre Planners, Book, Music and Lyrics by JOHN PAPAGEORGE, Rap Lyrics by rap lyrics by KOOL KEITH, MISTAH FAB ans J DIGGS, Siamese Sex Show is presented by El Greco Production.

WHEN:
Performances through Nov. 13:
Fridays October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays October 15, 22, 29 November 5, 12 at 8:00 p.m.
Sundays October 9, 16, 23, 30 November 6, 13 at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90038

TICKET PRICES:
$30 general admission

HOW:
(323) 960-7738 or http://www.plays411.com/siamese

Check out the music for the Siamese Sex Show here: http://www.siamesesexshow.com/music1.html

Hero Of The Underworld – Film Review

Review by: Peter Foldy

A gritty character study, HERO OF THE UNDERWORLD,  slowly draws you in and doesn’t let go as it exposes the lives of several down on their luck characters living and working in New York City.

“Dylan” (TOM MALLOY)  is the likeable, quick thinking overnight manager at a chic, upscale downtown hotel. Clearly heTom Malloy in Hero of the Underworld - 2 should by now have advanced higher on the ladder of success, both at his job and with life in general, but Dylan struggles with demons that won’t let go. He is a heroin addict whose girl friend hung herself  in his apartment and Dylan is burdened by the guilt. Abandoned by his his family and struggling to hold on to his job, Dylan is a pained and desperate man.

When a young woman, “Holly” ( NICOLE FOX) is badly beaten at the hotel, Dylan takes it upon himself to find her and save her from the drug underworld that he is quite familiar with. This leads to a bout of regret and self examinationNicole Fox in Hero of the Underworld as Dylan tries to overcome his demons, somehow convincing himself that Holly can help save him.

Ably directed by JOHN VINCENT, the film crackles with nervous energy and cutting edge humor. It also portrays a revealing look behind the scenes of hotel management–how they handle double bookings, who gets preferential treatment and why.

As you might imagine, money always talks.

Though lacking in some production values due to it’s budgetary restrictions, there are strong quality moments and stand out performances in this otherwise well made indie.

DAVID JOSH LAWRENCENicole Fox and Tom Malloy in Hero of the Underworld - 2 is likeable as the caustic hotel clerk, “Jarrod.”

LISA VARGA is convincing as an ill-fated call girl working to support her 9 year old daughter.

QUINTON AARON, lead in the film, “The Blind Side” (opposite Sandra Bullock) brings some star power as the drug dealer, “Tino,” as does the always impressive, CATHERINE MARY STEWART, playing a woman who has been moved out of her hotel room without her permission.

But this is Tom Malloy’s vehicle. Giving a believable, heart-felt performance as the wounded “Dylan,” he hits all the right notes. Malloy carries the film and helps elevate “Hero of the Underworld” to the top of this year’s indie releases.  Raw and emotional, “Hero of the Underworld” is a winner.

Available through Gravitas Ventures on November 14, 2016 to outlets everywhere.

 

 

 

Re-Bourne

Review by Mark Salcido

It’s been about 11 years since we’ve had JASON BOURNE grace our movie screens with enough espionage and action to give any fan of the spy genre a big o’stiffy. The studios tried out Jeremy Renner to continue the franchise and we all know how that turned out. Now Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have returned to the action fold that made them both household names in hopes to bring the legacy of Jason Bourne back to the glory days it once was.

Was it worth it? Let’s talk about that.

As the film opens we discover xjason-bourne-1068x601.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bnRz7Rs5HTBourne back in hiding and trying to find meaning in his life. He’s getting up there in years and looks worn down after the events of the ‘Ultimatum’. He may be done with that mess, but it’s not done with him. The film introduces the current topic of world-wide mass surveillance. Think Snowden, folks. This is not much a spoiler and not much of a plot. It gets quickly left behind as the film focuses more on Bourne and his father issues. It’s a nice personal touch to the character but felt somwhat forced as there was no hint of it in the previous films.

Within the first 20 minutes, of “Jason Bourne” you see where the surveillance plot is going and will probably guess where it will end up. 10 minutes after that, you already know who the villains are to the point where you wonder if the writers even tried to put any mystery behind it.  I will have to add, there is a death in the film that I didn’t seem coming but it had me question if it was even necessary. It follows the same kind of path that was in the ‘Identity’, ‘Supremacy’, and ‘Ultimatum’ but it doesn’t add anything new to the franchise. But hey, I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The acting in “Jason Bourne” is what you expect from the stellar cast and Matt Damon still manages to bring some of the emotional level that was also evident in ‘Supremacy’.

The new players like Tommy Leee Jones and jason_bourne_2016_8k-1280x720Alicia Vikander do a serviceable job though Vikander’s character feels like she was trying too hard be a tough CIA Agent. Her face reveals a look that feels soulless, even when she goes for that connection with Jason Bourne, like Joan Allen’s character did in the last films.

The action of the film is it’s only saving grace. Greengrass hasn’t lost a step when it comes to really good action scenes that feel genuine and with little CGI effect. The first action sequence reminds us how bad ass Bourne is and continues to escalate as the film goes on, but not to a ridiculous level. Yet, Greengrass can’t seem to stop it with the shaky cam. It’s not to a nauseating degree, as he’s done in some of his previous film but it can be bothersome. You hope at some point the director will  put the camera on sticks show us the awesome coordination of the fighting.

The final car scene shot in Las Vegas is spectacular and leaves you with a visceral rush that makes the 2 hour experience ultimately worthwhile.

I love the Bourne films…exceptjason-bourne-2016-movie-review-21-1500x844 ‘Legacy’. I can watch the first three all day on repeat because they had a level of mystery and action that mixed well. When I heard that Damon and Greengrass were coming back for another installment, I was all in. After watching ‘Jason Bourne’ I’m not so sure they should continue. By the end,”Jason Bourne” had enough set ups to warrant a few more sequels, but this installment doesn’t leave you wanting more.

With the dismantling of Treadstone and Black-Briar,‘ Ultimatum’ ended in a way that could’ve seen Jason ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. But with the inclusion of a new operation known as Iron Hand, you kind have to wonder, is there even a purpose in what Bourne is doing? Or is the franchise being kept alive for the big score that this movie will surely reap with this current wide release.