Antaeus’ “Little Foxes” Are Irresistibly Cunning

Review by Lucy Houlihan

The Little Foxes at Antaeus Theatre is stunning in both its appearance and its execution, and powerfully kicks off the Glendale Theatre’s new season. From the set, to the acting, to the costumes, this production gives an updated and captivating take on Lillian Hellman’s Post-reconstructionist Southern drama.

Rob Nagle, Deborah Puette, Timothy Adam Venable, Mike McShane, Calvin Picou, Jocelyn Towne

The extraordinary set (designed by John Iacovelli) is covered in perfectly ostentatious details: from sculptures of lounging women to black marble columns. However, the thing that draws the eye most intensely is the bright blue, velvet cameo back sofa. It is this extravagance, this garishness that drives the story of the Hubbards in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.

The sofa acts as a center for the action and the emotion of the room, Cameron Watson’s direction ensures the characters circle the grandiosity while scheming with and against each other. While the Hubbard siblings each grasp for the wealth they believe they deserve, they use the sofa to stoke their fires, a gorgeous reminder of a “by-any-means-necessary” itinerary.

Jocelyn Towne and Deborah Puette

Deborah Puette plays the brilliant and severe Regina Hubbard Giddens, who uses the sofa to trap her family where she wants them, a spider in a web full of seats. Her husband (John DeMita) and her brothers (Mike McShane and Rob Nagle) are at her whims, try as they might to stay ahead.

Jocelyn Towne’s remarkable performance as Regina’s sister-in-law and foil, Birdie,  is honest and captivating in its frenzied victimhood. Judy Louise Johnson shines in her kindness and poise as Regina’s black maid, whose presence in the script both solidifies the play in its 1900s setting and draws attention to the racial issues still present in America today. Kristin Couture is powerful as the the young daughter, who holds onto the hope of escaping and standing up to the locusts “who eat the earth and eat all the people on it.”

John DeMita and Judy Louise Johnson

The Little Foxes is written with the women at the forefront, and Puette, Towne, Louise Johnson, and Couture certainly stand their ground and provide a compelling, poignant view of feminism both then and now. The acting on all sides is superb, and Watson’s direction shows deep knowledge and reverence to Hellman’s characters and her story.

Anteaeus Theatre’s production is designed and performed to perfection, an enchanting two-and-a-half hours that should not be missed.

Where: Antaeus Theatre Company

Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center

110 E. Broadway

Glendale, CA 91205

When: opens Oct. 25 and runs through Dec. 10.

How much: $35

Photos by: Geoffrey Wade Photography

antaeus.org

Melodramatic “Kiss” Is a Conversation Starter

Review by: Peter Foldy

What starts out as a soap opera about star-crossed lovers soon does an about-face and turns dark and sinister in Guillermo Calderon‘s KISS, making it’s West Coast Premiere at the Oddysey Theatre in West L.A.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo and performed by Kristin Couture, Max Lloyd-Jones, Kevin Matthew Reyes, Natali Anna, Nagham Wehbe and Cynthia Yelle, (a group of talented actors) Kiss turns out to be a play about a play.

It is hard to delve into the details without giving away too much and spoiling the experience for future audiences, but I can tell you that Kiss starts out comedic and becomes a dark, fluid story that is sprinkled with hidden meaning. It examines human resilience and highlights the suffering of people caught in unimaginable circumstances.

Kiss however also walks a fine line between it’s intended melodrama and it’s surprising plot twists and it’s these unexpected revelations that causes the play to ultimately wear out some of it’s welcome.  If it weren’t for it’s fine cast who help smooth the credibility gaps with their commitment, Kiss might be a far less thought proving piece of theater.

Nina Caussa’s impressive scenic design certainly helps us visualize the story as it unfolds, as does Katelan Braymer’s lighting design. Both of these artists help to transition this drama from laid back suburbia to violent war zone.

Regardless of it’s credibility gaps, Kiss provokes and stimulates conversation. It reminds us how lucky we are to live in a relatively trouble free environment where plays such as this can be staged without fear of repercussion. Go see it with an open mind and enjoy the ride.

When: May 5 through June 18 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, May 17; Thursday, May 25; and Wednesday, June 7, all at 8 p.m.

Where: The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Tickets: $34 on Saturdays and Sundays; $30 on Fridays; and $25 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with discounted tickets available for students and members of SAG/AFTRA/AEA.

There will be two “Tix for $10” performances on Friday, May 5 and Friday, May 26. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

Photos by: Enci Box