Review by:Peter Foldy
June 15, 2015
Sometimes you see a couple and you just know that they are perfect together. Even if they’re having problems sustaining a relationship, one can feel the love that bubbles below the surface. That was my initial reaction as I watched “The Cellar,” a compelling two-hander currently on stage at the Flight Theatre in Hollywood as part of the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Jay Seals as “Troy” and writer Kimberley Cooper as “Helena” portray the couple who, after attending a friend’s party, find themselves trapped in his wine cellar. Soon the pain of their recent breakup leads to a raw and no-holds-barred exploration of just what went wrong. Each of them hold grudges and as the wine begins to flow, insults fly, secrets are revealed and the balance of power firmly put to the test. Vino verite indeed.
With her first stageplay, Australian actress, Kimberley Cooper shows strong writing potential with this fast paced, cutting-edge production. Though the twist and turns in “The Cellar” are ones that have been explored in numerous films and plays, Cooper still makes the revelations feel fresh as she gives us a voyeuristic look at this couple unraveling. Her dialogue rolls off her tongue and finds a fine balance between heart wrenching pain and self deprecating humor. She is brash and confident, both as a writer and as an actress, her brazen, no bullshit attitude coming across as likeable as her Aussie accent.
Jay Seals as her ex brings on the charm and is also easy to like. He’s like one of your buddies and you want this couple to get back together, despite Seals’ betrayal of Cooper’s character. But “Helena” also has some revelations up her sleeve and we soon learn the she too had her hand in a deceit, one with perhaps even greater consequences. Though it may be too late for them to turn back the clock, the familiarity that exists between them is still there, a comfort level that only people who truly know and like each other can convey. It is a fine accomplishment from both these actors that they can bring that comfort level to life.
Director, Jonathan Roumie keeps the piece fluid, letting his actors work the stage as the story comes to a boil. Clocking in at a mere 35 minutes, ‘The Cellar” is a solid piece of theater that deserves kudos for it compelling dialogue and realistic performances. Go see it while you can!
Where: The Fringe Theatre, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd. L.A. CA 90038 (2nd Floor)
When: Saturday June 20th at 4:15 pm, Sunday, June 21st at 6:15 pm and Friday June 26th at 10:30 pm.
Stage Manager: Roger Mathey, Original Score: Nick Kenworthy-Browne