Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Last Act of Lilka Kadison: A Review

Your Blog saw the most amazing play at The Falcon Theater, this evening.

While your PC loves big, commercial, Broadway musical spectacles as much as a straight man can, the intimate theater at Gary Marshal's house feeds my love of the art of live theater. And while I have never left The Falcon disappointed, "The Last Act of Lilka Kadison" was the most astounding piece of theater that I have ever witnessed.

I went in knowing nothing about the play. (We are Falcon subscribers, mostly to insure that we never miss a "Troubie" show, the other plays during a season are just little Christmas presents that we get to unwrap as we encounter them.)

The plot sort of defies an easy description.

I'll take a shot at it...

An elderly woman in Burbank, CA makes life hilariously miserable for a Pakistani healthcare worker, while the ghosts of her past tell the story of her youth...

A Polish Jew who escaped Poland as the Nazi's invaded, losing her family and her soul mate in the process.

Did I mention it's a comedy?

Mindy Sterling, best known for her role as Frau Farbissina in the "Austin Powers" movies...

Leads a cast of four of the best actors The Falcon has ever hosted.

Mindy is "Lily Fisher."

Her younger self, Lilka Kadison, is played by west coast newcomer Brittany Uomoleale...

...who is so "salt of the earth" beautiful that your Blog could not tear his eyes from her, whenever she was on stage. She not only acted the crap out of her part, she sings a song so beautifully that not tearing up was not an option.

                        Nicholas Curto plays Ben Ari Adler, the afore mentioned "soul mate."

And Usman Ally, an actor that has been in every TV show you have watched in the last five years, is the long suffering, former cellist turned home-care nurse.

The play ran 85 minutes without an intermission.

And these amazing actors made your Blog nostalgic for the days when he trod, (treaded?) the boards.

And then, there is the stage design.

Simple and brilliant.

A Burbank living room morphs into the streets of Poland, a Polish cemetery, and a barn, with a few on-stage shifts. Amazing!

Possibly the best line of the play...

As Lilka and Ben hunker down in a barn as the Nazis invade, Ben quips...

"The last time two Jews spent the night in a barn, they launched a whole new religion."
There are also a few simple magic tricks and some wonderful shadow puppetry involved.

Mrs. Blog, who tends to treat theater as an excuse for a very expensive nap, stayed awake, never got fidgety, and sat, literally, on the edge of her seat, for the whole show.

That is high praise from Mrs. Blog!

She slept through most of "Wicked" for fuck's sake.

Angelians tend to give standing ovations to any theater curtain call. (Except for the Pantages Theater's recent production of "West Side Story." Because it sort of sucked, frankly.) Because that is just how we are.

But, at this curtain call, no one stood.

Not because it wasn't the most wonderful performance we had ever seen, because it was.

But, I'm thinking, because there was just something about this that would have made a standing O wrong, in the same way that an intermission would have broken the mood.

But, holy shit, did we applaud? We clapped until our hands were numb.

We clapped. And we wiped tears from our cheeks.

It is a small miracle that enough feeling has returned to your Blog's fingers that he can type out this post.

Bottom line...

If you are in the Los Angeles area, the show's run has been extended to next Sunday.

If you appreciate the art of live theater, run, do not walk, to The Falcon Theater box office and score yourselves tickets to this play.

You can thank me later. 

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