Today, we review three shows: Round Rock, I Get Knocked Down and In Dream
by Marcus Kaye ~
Mixed up with the likes of outlaw Sam Bass and three members of his gang, Round Rock is a Western drama that reads like a history textbook. Slow and fact driven, Round Rock spends more time ensuring that we know why we should care about Sam Bass than giving us a Sam Bass story to actually care about.
After a mildly successful train robbery, Sam Bass and his gang finds themselves on the outs of society and on the verge of disbanding.
The script, characters and nearly all the performances lacked passion, resulting in what was essentially an unmotivated and uninspired roll call of Sam Bass affiliates (including one in a misguided drag performance that proved a complete tonal shift from the rest of the material.).
The brightest part of Round Rock was a saving performance by Rachel Kerbs as the outspoken Jenny Murphy, sister to a Sam Bass gang member. Her emotional depth and accessibility was unmatched on that stage.
Staging by director Aaron Kozak utilized the space well and costuming accurately and successfully established the time period.
Round Rock plays June 17th @ 4PM and June 22nd & 23rd @ 7:30PM at the Complex Theatres.
by Tracey Paleo~
Finally! A one man show that has everything!
Now playing at Studio C Artists is the biggest hidden little gem being offered at the Fringe this year. Hands down, I Get Knocked Down is a tour-de-force performance by actor Evan McNamara who brings his entire self, his talent, laser delivery, spot on stage choreography, exciting character development, exuberant imagination and integrity with every moment.
Sitting in the audience, captivated by this man’s performance, I was treated to some of the best, well rounded, no holes theatre I’ve seen in a very long time. I Get Knocked Down is McNamara’s personal journey through his destructive relationship which leads to a ruthless dissolution of his marriage, pushing him into a dark abyss and ultimately to a triumphant return. Told through seven archetypal characters (magical elf, martyr, damsel in distress, scholar, angel, lover, clown) that make up the fragmented parts of his personality, each part of his psyche plays the dual roles of antagonist and protagonist, teaching him powerful lessons about himself which finally lead to a profound understanding of unconditional love.
Co-written by McNamara and Director John Coppola this show is everything but ‘formula.’ Intimate, inventive and wholeheartedly sincere it truly takes its audiences into the deepest parts of a man’s mind and heart.
Playing at Studio C Artists, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd. on Saturday, June 23rd @ 9:30pm (One Performance Left!)
by Tracey Paleo~
Veteran actor, Jeff Elam is ‘spot on,’ pulling to center the new, two part, one act play, In Dream written by Matt Chester. In Dream takes place in the surreal world between dreams that may or may not be remembered by the visitors once the night is over. Two stories ensue throughout this evening. In the first, a young man sits in a room with a total stranger who claims to be the most evil man in the world. In the second, a young woman has a conversation with her fully grown daughter, who has not yet been born. Each dream is arranged by a seemingly superficial, uninterested mediator who keeps an eye on the clock, setting the rules of engagement for each encounter.
With a psychologically astute and well written play such as this, it takes a sophisticated talent to really hone in on the important nuances that lie within the script and Mr. Elam does it brilliantly. The other three actors in this play have their quality moments, but lack a bit of instinct in delivery, which in part is due to the too quiet stage direction. It is an interesting piece that decidedly needs more specificity in set design, movement, costuming, lighting and volume. At times, the audience simply does not hear the dialog and we lose the impact.
Mr. Chester is certainly a promising playwright of quality. Notwithstanding that this show needs a bit more work, In Dream percolates with intrigue and is very satisfying.
Playing at the Blackbox at NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd. on Monday, June 18 @ 10:00pm (One Show Left!)