Theater Listings | L.A. Weekly
PHIL NEWBY A memorial service was held at Sacred Fools Theatre on Sunday for that company's young and beloved actor who was found in. Opening This Week AGING WITH GRACE The 18th annual New Works Festival kicks off with a reading of Frank Farmer's romantic comedy. Blake attended 13 schools including Burbank High School where . Anti-crease, resistant to shrinkage and fading makes wYse the perfect travelling companion. . Australiaâ€s cheeky, flirtatious underwear is now in .. It may be old Hollywood, s flapper, the preppy prude look of the.
Also quite good is Padriac Duffy's "The Dirty Laundry of Marjorie," a tone-perfect tragicomedy about two blue-collar housewives Alison Martin and Tara Karsian, both excellent stuck in a too-small town, staged with empathy and humor by Chris Fields. AN Stage 52 Theatre, W. Groundling Theater, Melrose Ave. Sacred Fools Theater, N. Gem of the Ocean, the first play in the cycle, is probably the playwright's most symbolic and provocative.
The setting isPittsburgh, a time when many blacks were no better off than they were during chattel slavery. But the home of year old Aunt Ester alternate Carlease Burkeis a place of rest, refuge and mystery for a colorful group of residents and regulars. Then there's the rabble-rousing, garrulous Solly Two Kings a star turn by Adolphus Warda former Union scout who helped runaway slaves. When a troubled stranger, Citizen Barlow Keith Arthur Boldensteals into the house seeking Ester's magical soul-cleansing powers, it sets off a chain of events that forever alters the lives of all those involved.
Gem is a play where grand themes like the connection between past and present, the nature of freedom and spiritual redemption are explored, but you don't get that sense here, at least not in a dynamic fashion. With the exception of Ward, the performances lack the necessary polish and emotional resonance Director Ben Bradley who did brilliant work in Fountain's production of Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, is not at his best here, as the pacing at times is far from crisp - though I did see it late in the run.
Rounding out the cast is Stephen Marshall. In his engaging character study, Brian Lee Franklin constructs a compelling portrait of the "other son," Robert Francis, and the historical milieu that shaped him.
Call in a convincing turn about Joffa's mob connections. From the outset, Franklin creates a profoundly flawed and conflicted image of Kennedy, one that is steadily and skillfully nuanced throughout this production. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in his relationship with his father Joe, Steve Mendillowhose vaulting ambition contoured the lives of all of his sons, and whose approval of "good Bobby" was desperately sought by RFK but, according to Franklin's play, never fully realized.
We follow RFK's rise to national prominence, his battles during the civil rights era as U. Attorney General, his involvement in his brother John's presidential campaign and more than a few unsavory deeds during that timethe aftermath of JFK's assassination, and Bobby's gradual ascension into the Democratic party's nominee for president in The performances are uniformly high caliber under Pierson Blaetz's fine direction.
Tapping the same root used by Shockheaded Peter, writer-director Debbie McMahon takes the scariest fairy tales in the world, and draws both their violence and latent eroticism through a vivacious and rude entertainment that's part-French vaudeville and part-British Punch and Judy puppet show.
Not meaning to be overly literal, but there was some vagueness as to the era: The production is framed as a touring show, circawhile, at the same time, being a birthday party for Monsieur Guignol, who turns this year. So Puppets Punch and Guignol perch in their wooden booth looking down on their human replicas, as four fairy tales are played with song and dance, with Chris Bell's set sheet backdrops, mostly and puppets, Jeanne Simpson's charmingly goofy choreography and Matt Richter's deliberately rambling lighting design.
Hood Hannah Chodos removes her red bonnet revealing pigtails, of course before stripping down for the Wolf Gary Karplanguishing in the bed of Grandma Vanessa Forsterwhom he's just eaten.
There may have been a reference to her being eaten out; at least that joke was made about somebody. The ensuing carnage shows poor Little Red with an alarmed facial expression, as her bloodied intestines are strewn from her midsection around the stage. And when the witch, opening her oven, tells Hansel and Gretel, "You thought the famine hasn't come to my house!
Knightsbridge Theater, Riverside Dr. Director Mitch Silpa's production retains the crisp comic timing and assured ensemble work that maintains the group's sterling comic reputation. Here, 19 writers and musical director Gerard Sternbach, on keyboard, serve up a pastiche of almost two dozen ballads and up-tempo musical comedy standards on themes of nakedness, sexual awakening, sexual arousal, body image and self-esteem.
These are performed by three men Eric B. Anthony, Marco Infante and Brent Keast and three women Heather Capps, Carole Foreman and Lana Harper entirely in the buff, singing and prancing like nudists on a tropical beach to Ken Roht's choreography on and around small wooden blocks on a stage mostly defined by a lush upstage curtain. Like the remake of some very successful movie, it pales slightly when compared to the original, perhaps because it's trying to reinvent that earlier wheel.
With a few notable exceptions "Patron Saint" and "Work of Art" the songs just don't have the wit and vigor of Naked Boys. It's slightly paradoxical that the company, with varying body types and ages, some buff, some less so, are so comfortable in their skin, and so charming, that the impact of their nudity eventually wears off, exposing not their flaws, but the those of the musical itself. They are certainly all profiles in courage. Stella Adler Theatre, Hollywood Blvd. And there are of course constant characters whom the company switch in and out of, depending on who's available on any given night.
Dawson on the night this show was reviewed, a highly reputable fellow engaged in a snarky and pointless dispute with one Miss Amelia Green the charming Jo McGinley Much of the plot concerned the ability of these two porcupines to find love - in a Regency English style no less, encumbered by tightly fitting corsets, vests, dinner jackets and ties. Among the moments of high tension was when Amelia's father Floyd Van Buskirk found the prickly lovebirds unescorted in a parlor room, sparking a scandal.
There were also gorgeous cameos by Stephen Kearin as the genteel, horse-faced Mr. Eleven first rate comedians performed the night the show was reviewed; somebody hadn't turned their cell phone all the way off, triggering a whining sound over the speakers, and causing a spontaneous subplot about a swarm of invading bees, and some controversy over whether or not it was decent of Mr. Aside from its breathtaking wit, the show reveals the codes of behavior that accrue into a acting style, and even a social style.
This is a comedy about essence rather than substance, revealing how one is so often confused with the other. If there is such a thing as humane comedy, this would be it. Theatre Asylum, Santa Monica Blvd. An Impro Theatre production. His characters are often based on real people: The characters are types, but Hart transmutes them into archtypes, readily recognizable to those too young to remember the era they represent. We meet them in a hotel in Boston, where they're preparing for the out-of-town opening of a show they hope will go off "like a roman candle in the tired face of show business.
The pretentious, over-emotional director Colin Campbell is said to cry at card-tricks, and the callow young playwright Dominic Spillane must undergo his theatrical baptism by fire. Hart's script crackles with wit and wise-cracks, and, under the clever direction of Bjorn Johnson, the laughter is near-constant on Victoria Profitt's art-deco set.
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In the first two, she was a nympho; the second two, a victim. In all, however, her husband Chuck Traynor here, played biliously by Jimmy Swan is clearly a sleaze who lured her into prostitution.
Anna Waronker and Charlotte Caffey's dark and haunting musical is anti-pimp, not anti-porn, even though the two are inextricably linked. Ken Sawyer's well-staged production is fated to descend into hellish reds and writhing bodies, yet it's shot through with beauty and sometimes even hope.
As Linda, Katrina Lenk is sensational -- she has a dozen nuanced smiles that range from innocent to shattered to grateful, in order to express whatever passes as kindness when, say, a male co-star Josh Greene promises to make their scene fun. Waronker and Caffey were members of two major girl bands, That Dog and The Go-Go's respectively, and their music -- with its keyboards, cellos, and thrumming guitars -- has a pop catchiness that works even with the bleakest lyrics, some originally written by Jeffery Leonard Bowman.
Though the facts of Linda's past went with her and Chuck to the grave both died within months of each other inthere's strong evidence that her life was even worse than the musical's ending suggests, but it's cathartic to watch her stand strong and sing of her hard-fought independence before flashing lights that, in ironic defiance of the play's title, beam out her real name: Lyric Theatre, N. As playwright Jon Robin Baitz once said, L.
In director Joe Jordan's crisp as toast style, a company of nine performs this excruciating screenplay with unfettered mockery, with Your Host Thurston Eberhard Hillsboro-Smythe, a. This is the story of a chubby girl named Amber Franci Montgomery, who is not chubby at all, which is part of the jokeabused like Cinderella by her beer-swilling aunt CJ Merrimanwho curses her, slaps her and calls her a pig -- a Punch and Judy show by any other name.
Amber has a fantasy lover, the ghost of a Hollywood actor Michael Lanahan accidentally slain during the filming of a gangster gun battle. Through plot convolutions to tedious to enumerate, Amber winds up in Hollywood, in a movie about her travails, for which she receives an Academy Award. As the plot slid into its final trajectory, the crowd shouted out "noooooh", as it became cognizant of where this was heading.
Any play can be ridiculed simply by employing theatrical devices used here: But even this wildly presentational brand of theatrical ridicule can't disguise the artlessness of the dialogue and stage directions. What emerges through the event's cruelty, besides the mercifully unnamed screenwriter's ineptitude, is a portrait of the writer, for whom Amber is an obvious standin. As the lampoon wears itself out, we're left with something underneath that's gone beyond parody to the pathetic - the reasons that somebody would have written such a story in the first place, and the hollow, generic fantasies that serve as balm for her feelings of isolation.
Watching this show is like watching well trained runners pushing somebody out of a wheelchair. That's a comic bit from old sketch TV shows, but 90 minutes of it leaves you feeling that the company's comic fury is so strong, and its skills so sharp, the joke has been propelled beyond its target to a very dark place that's fascinating in its own right.
Sacred Fools Theatre, N. Sporting shades of Alan Ayckbourn, the play concerns a married couple, Jane Bess Meyer and Kev Adrian Neilwho discover disturbing facts about each other's taken-for-granted fidelity. Dealing with these hurtful revelations becomes complicated by the demanding presence of their two willful daughters, 4-year-old Jess and 6-year-old Betty played by adult performers Phoebe James and Abigail Revaschand by their weekend guests, Kev's old friend Phil David Corbett and his narcissistic girlfriend Lorna Stephanie Ittleson.
The play takes a while to get going by virtue of an unnecessarily lengthy scene showing the frazzled Jane struggling to cope with the bratty kids. While no reflection on the performers, casting adults as children -- meant to convey the breadth of a child's presence in people's lives -- is a device whose humor soon wears thin.
But once the arena shifts to grown-up turf, the piece gets more involving, in large part due to the performers' adept and nuanced work. Of particular note are Meyer, unfailingly on the mark as an intelligent but harried homemaker, Neil as a man twitching timorously on the verge of an affair, and Corbett as his blither, more roll-with-the-punches pal. DK Lost Studio, S.
Matrix Theatre, Melrose Ave. Masterfully choreographed and directed by Tina Kronis, an ensemble of eleven performers, in their own words, "shreds" the story into a movement-based, bare-bones series of scenes punctuated by musical numbers.
The action follows London lawyer Mr. Utterson Jake Eberle investigating strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Jekyll Jacob Sidneyand the misanthropic Mr. Hyde, who is first discovered by Utterson's acquaintance, Mr.
Utterson is aided by reports from Jekyll's butler, Mr. Poole Mark Skeensand his domestic staff, as well as by Dr. The performers, dressed in period attire but barefoot, remind one of the ensembles behind avant-garde works of the s like The Serpent or modern incarnations like The Wooster Group.
Christopher Kuhl's dynamic lighting, which compensates for the almost non-existent set, emphasizes Kronis' precise direction and degree choreography. The cast shines in its exacting execution of Kronis' minimalist vision, proving Mr.
Utterson's observation that "never is a reflection more thoroughly itself than when it is nothing.
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A Theatre Movement Bazaar Production. Art Share Los Angeles, E. Jaime Keeling's merciless skewering of the hyper-action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey is loaded with laughs as well as surprises, like picking an audience member to play Reeve's role of Special Agent Johnny Utah.
Dragonfly, Santa Monica Blvd. There are some really interesting ideas at the core here, but they're not brought into focus by Moore or Crowell. Priest "John" a woman in disguise lives a life of piety to God, which in her mind includes exercising her hearty libido, while the Church parades its wares in any number of different disguises.
This all provides the possibilities of an intriguing fable about authenticity and artifice. Through an intricate web of fortune and alliances, not to mention her uncanny skill to raise the dead, she gets elected Pope, under the name "John. It takes until the middle of Act 2 for her actually to make it into Pontiff's garb, which is when her callowness comes to the surface; her insistence on feeding the peasants while she's surrounded by power-mongering clerics is not so far removed from politics in Washington right now.
Joan, but this work's larger purpose is too muddied to draw that conclusion. Moore seems so determined to tell a biographical-history including opening, largely irrelevant sequences devoted to the fall of the Roman empire and the birth of Christianity, and one cumbersome chunk of expository backstory that rounds out Act 1. The effect of all this lumbering narrative, that includes dreadful, archaic dialogue, is that the one striking visual symbol of the central character, stripped and with a crucifix resting on her naked back, isn't really the essence of much that's actually being dramatized.
There a six-piece band onstage that isn't well served by voices that can barely hold a tune the chorales have the strongest effecttoo many supporting actors have scant stage presence, Crowell's "choreography" is simply movement for non-dancers, and Brent Mason's set of medieval walls and platforms stifle the allegorical potential rather than giving it the flight of, say, Arthurian legend. Most of whatever glimmers of magic appears on the stage comes from Shon LeBlanc's gorgeous costumes.
He is certainly a man whose life makes for interesting theater, and despite some missteps, playwright Charles Pike has written a generally interesting semi-biographical work. However, two distinct plays emerge out of Pike's "day in the life" approach to his subject. One is a deep and disturbing, darkly comedic portrait of a mad genius of the '60s a suitably sardonic Chairman Barnes disintegrating into professional seclusion.
The other is a punch-line-laden, vaudevillian romp packed with iconic characters including William Burroughs played with rich dryness by Roy Allen. The collisions of these two tracks keep either from melding into a singular stage experience.
The cast is mostly good, despite some sloppy timing possibly the result of a jittery opening night. The play is set on the day of Richard Nixon's resignation, a day of joy for Terry and his gaggle, who spend the second act spouting wry liberal vitriol, perhaps tacitly lamenting that their enemy-- and essentially their purpose-- is gone. A's rock music world on the verge of the "break" that will propel him to stardom.
But his self-absorption and personality quirks often put him at odds with band mates, Hank Brandon Scott and Shane Patrick Graves. However, the squabbles with his fellow musicians pale in comparison to the volatile complexities that inform Dorian's relationship with his ex-girlfriend, June Melissa Stephens. Both are ensnared in a grotesque attraction for each other fueled by lust, gratuitous physical brutality and shared, lacerating pain.
When Dorian's bible-thumping sister, Lydia Laila Ayadinforms him that his father is dying, Dorian is ultimately forced into a harrowing confrontation with his own demons.
First-class performances and Headland's smart direction don't quite compensate for a script, that's cleverly written but is often too wordy and static. The characters are compelling and well sketched, yet the playwright doesn't delve perceptively enough into their personalities to make their emotional and psychological fault lines truly convincing. An Iama Theatre Company production.
Next Stage Theater, N. San Diego Theatre and Dance Department, have rolled in Hollywood with a production of Chekhov's century old masterwork about miserable marriages, unrequited loves and stifled ambitions in a colloquial adaptation by Susan Coyne. Here it's set quasi-atmospherically within the ornate confines of the newly and beautifully remodeled Masonic Lodge of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The audience sits on two sides of the elongated rectangular stage, at the head of which is a separated playing area used for a banquet scene or, later in the play, an area depicting the woods set and projection design by Tom Ontiveros.
This means that the action floats all over the room, presenting a challenge to lighting desgners Rebecca Bonebrake and Ontiveros, who are working with only four lighting instruments in the sky, plus some floor-lights, and the glow emanating from the room's grand chandeliers and some art nouveau floor lamps that punctuate the sprawling playing area.
The result is a number of scenes played in murky shadows, blurring the dramatic focus of this tender, difficult play. Larissa Kokernot's staging mixes Slavic and Japanese influences, with the over-educated Prozorov family that would be Masha, Irena, Olga and their brother, Andrei - stranded in the provinces and yearning for a more cultured life -- all played by Asian-American actors, the women sometimes dressed in silky kimono-like attire. Kokernot's laconic staging avoids the pitfalls of strained farce with a languor that allows Chekhov's innate humor to bubble out, gently, between the ruminations and glances.
The biggest drawback, however, is that the actors playing the Pozorovs careen between overplaying and underplaying so that the play's core feels both overly and underly mannered. Some of the supporting cast, however, provides a sense of what this all could be, were its potential matched by the sparks of talent on the stage: Smith's love-struck Baron Tuzenbach possesses an earnest and endearing clarity of purpose, while Corey Brill's schoolteacher, Kulygin, presents a soft-spoken clown, suffering the quiet of agony of watching his wife fall in love with the visiting battery commander, Vershinin Ricardo Antonio Chavira, in a strong and generously dignified portrayal.
Owiso Odera is particularly grand as the seething and often rude army captain Solyony, prone to vicious verbal outbursts followed by inevitable remorse and embarrassment. A Chalk Repertory production. However, most of their pieces belabor punchlines, giving this revue the choppy rhythm of a work in development, rather than a sharp, witty cavalcade of laughs.
Intermittent video pieces that share the same sluggish pacing don't enliven the downtime between sketches as much as they should. Director-choreographer Karl Warden has this duo following tried-and-true dance moves well, but like the whole show, none of the steps is really inspired.
Now there are clear high points, such as their penultimate go as an aging lounge act couple that--between complaining about their tranny son and lesbian daughter--break into hilarious versions of contemporary club favorites. But what really salvages the night is how absolutely likeable these performers are, how much we applaud their desire to fight middle age ennui with the sheer power of jazz hands and fart jokes.
The Complex, Santa Monica Blvd. After she's dumped by her louse-lover boss Chet Grissomcorporate secretary Annie Jenny Kern tries to kill herself. She receives emotional support from a co-worker - the soft spoken, eerily staring accountant, Mr. Banks Sam Andersonwhom the other folks in the office have long considered slightly creepy. After she moves into Mr.
Banks' sprawling, dusty house, Annie discovers that the co-workers don't know the half of it. Still attached by a cast iron Oedipal apron string to parents long since dead, Banks has furnished the home in a dusty style that can charitably be called "Norman Bates Modern. Although the plot slightly bogs down during a needlessly long Act Two road trip, Huff's writing is otherwise smartly edgy, full of vituperative charm.
Amant's comedically tight production punches the weird, Addams Family tone with brio, nicely balancing horror with genuine sympathy for the characters. From his deep, soft, insanity-steeped voice to his shambolic gait and his half baked "drunk crazy uncle" stage persona, Anderson's turn as the crazed killer-accountant is utterly compelling.
Gurney's engaging, bittersweet play details life in a dining room -- or, rather, several dining rooms -- inhabited by a multitude of characters. Short, overlapping vignettes transpire around a dining room table: Most of the bits present snapshots of family dynamics stressing the universality of what happens around a table, despite the WASPy leanings of the material. With minimal costume changes, the actors use vocal mannerisms to carve out distinct characters, often with physical transformations to suggest age and vitality.
Marmalade Scott Bradywho batters his assistant David Jay Barrychecks his BlackBerry all through teatime and blows her off with lame excuses. Why Lucy conjures up an abusive, coke-head playmate is left for her future therapist.
Gardner Stages, N. The Space, N.
The plot is deviously simple and fertile ground for the darkly funny musicality in the prose that Pinter is renowned for. Let the mind games begin, where past and present inexorably collide. LE3 Lost Studio, S. Knightsbridge Theater, Riverside Dr. Lyric Theatre, N. As Great, Brett Schneider is a charismatic and appealing performer, impressive as both an actor and a magician.
Condi Rice makes an appearance. Groundling Theater, Melrose Ave. Kelly Ann Ford directs. Two years later his equally psychologically damaged wife, Colleen Crabtree, joins him to create this touching and hilarious two-hander that follows their courtship. Tolins knows the milieu well, and Glover offers a flamboyantly flawless star turn. Director Matt Shakman finely balances comedy with emotional probing. Russell might have been a fly on the wall in the school cafeteria when he wrote this endearing and insightful teen drama about sex and power in a suburban American high school.
Jim Michael Grant Terry and Judy Tessa Thomson are two blessedly beautiful people, attracted to each other and with enough quirkiness to keep them from running with the herd.
Directed by Michael Matthews, the four-person ensemble is spot-on from first moment to last. Bootleg Theater, Beverly Blvd. Perfs alternate in English and Spanish; call for schedule. Frida Kahlo Theater, W. Yet the cast has able voices and energy to spare. Some bits are too shrill for the small space and the dancing is tentative, but the comedy skits perk up the act, particularly a cornball serial melodrama about a wife Marian Tomas Griffin who ditches her broke husband Heather Wood for the landlord Kristi Leigh Snyder.
That back then white women sang the blues was news to me, given that two years earlier Al Jolson slipped on blackface to do the same. Nevertheless, nimble piano player Billy Revel plinks along without missing a beat. Actors Forum Theatre, Magnolia Blvd. Alexia Robinson Studio, Magnolia Blvd. Avery Schreiber Theater, Magnolia Blvd. His direction is as fast-paced as the dialogue, and Barbara Gruen delivers a tremendous performance as a deceptive matriarch, a manipulative drug addict.
We are on a contemporary college campus where Lou Tara Samuelwho has epilepsy and a load of emotional baggage, is teamed with the paraplegic Chuck Danny Murphy to write a paper for a gym class, in lieu of their handicaps.
In fact, at times the cheerleaders Kristin Arnold, Anya Profumo, Chris Scoles, Danyelle Weaver, Kimi Winker doing their slick routines during scene changes provides some of the more gripping entertainment.
Open at the Top Theatre Company. Reilly is more like an old-fashioned operetta with a dash of 19th-century melodrama thrown in than a modern musical. But the adapters have been too faithful to the original novel: The Gypsy is so deceived by the transparently vicious guardsman that she often seems like a ninny.
Also, it was a delight to see so many teenagers in the audience enraptured by this staging. The tale of huge Lennie Small here played brilliantly and movingly by Sean Branneywhose massive strength overpowers his limited mental capacity, can only lead to a doom that we anticipate with dread.
Lennie is obsessively drawn to small, soft animals, but his brute physical power makes his affectionate caresses accidentally lethal.
The ranch hands are depicted with respectful sympathy: Theatre Banshee, W. Really distant — in Moscow, thanks to a corporate-crime indictment. Nevertheless, along with another union member Emily AdamsWill flies to the former Soviet Union to confront the exiled owner. What sets her apart is her charismatic delivery and willingness to plumb her most embarrassing depths, which makes her feel like the insta—best friend you just hugged in the ladies room.
Her latest show punctuates itself with cheery anthem rock that underscores her climb out of postdivorce depression, sung karaoke style by her, Nora Linden Titner and Carol Ann Thomas. Two Roads Theater, Tujunga Ave. With an ensemble of performers who are uncommonly believable playing young soldiers, the stage all but teems with testosterone and aggression.
Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. A young, novice New York publisher Thomas Burr and his gay office assistant Kyle Colerider-Krugh try to deal with a mysterious machine that has just arrived. Pages it has been spewing out are of book proposals and accompanying manuscripts from the future.
They stand appalled and self-consciously naked as they read how their era — and Seavering himself — will be judged by academics not yet born. Director Stuart Rogers brings out all the nuances of this funny yet melancholy fable about decisions and consequences. Director Joe Olivieri delivers a production that is neither taxidermied relic nor overly precious giggle-fit, and gets a fine comic performance from Wigell. For nearly two hours we watch the robotic routines of 10 prisoners later joined by an 11th as they are loudly ordered about by a crew of sometimes sadistic, mostly bored guards.
This production, directed by original cast member Tom Lillard, is a remount of a Obie-winning effort. While virtually interchangeable, the prisoner ensemble of 11 actors performs frighteningly well, at turns morphing into a giant green caterpillar of movement. SM Odyssey Theatre, S. Yet, even in director Beth F. To raise money, corpulent televangelist Cotton Slocum V.
Found Theater, Long Beach Blvd. Morgan-Wixson Theatre, Pico Blvd. Edgemar Center for the Arts, Main St. Three gents Quincy Miller, Herb Mendelsohn, Charles Pacello are first seen having a discourse over whether a wife who is virtuous, foolish or witty would be more faithful. In short order, the spouses of this clueless trio Jessica Mills, Julie Granata and Catherine Cronin provide the answer.
The cast turns in excellent performances, and Tatum keeps the physical comedy and shtick at a perfectly modulated level. The result is a story that never becomes predictable. Pico Playhouse, W.