Theater Reviews: En Un Sol Amarillo, The Glory of Living, Loyal Women | Theater | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Theater Reviews: En Un Sol Amarillo, The Glory of Living, Loyal Women 

Also: Macbeth, Romeo and Julius and more

Monday, Nov 5 2007

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MACBETH Jeffrey Morris’ contemporary staging of the Bard’s Scottish play fails to give a satisfactory account of itself. The obvious intention here is to make some kind of commentary on the political situation in the U.S. — a stage marked red on one side and blue on the other, and a mockup of the Capitol in the background — but the more the play progresses, the more it becomes apparent that this concept just doesn’t work, simply because the connection is never made. The famous first scene with the three witches is reduced to a high-speed, glib monologue spewed out by Collins Reiter that has all the impact of dripping water. Macbeth (Jeff Holden) is here a war hero who kills President Duncan (Megan Morrison) and assumes power. The bulk of the play unfolds through a series of terribly awkward scenes that are as poorly staged as they are confusing. Holden’s performance is not at all convincing or polished. William Jennings as Banquo is charismatic and effective, while Wallis Herst is a smooth, delightful menace as the femme fatale Lady Macbeth. NOHO ACTORS STUDIO, 5215 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Nov. 11. (213) 926-2726. (Lovell Estell III) ROMEO AND JULIUS Writer-director Tess Smith may have been aiming for theater of the absurd, but the result is merely silly and exasperating. Romeo (Wil Bowers) and Julius (Josh Kayne) are gay, but they are so deeply closeted and/or commitment shy that they must have a practice wedding at the Heavenly Chapel in Las Vegas, presided over by Elvis Presley (Alex Gonzalez), with Alice B. Toklas (Pamela Van Zandt), Gertrude Stein (Teresa Berkin) and Allen Ginsberg (David Anthony Hernandez) dancing attendance. Julius, we’re told, is the son of The Donald, who is the most active offstage character ever: A murderous homophobe, he has seduced and impregnated Paris Hilton (Stefany Northcutt). To provide a father for her child, Paris marries Julius, but, embittered by discovering her mother and Donald in flagrante delicto, she performs an auto-abortion with a kitchen knife. At the end, everybody (including Paris) turns out to be dead, and this, supposedly, is heaven — which makes hell seems infinitely preferable. Every aspect of this farrago is embarrassingly ham-fisted and woefully inept. The script suggests an X-rated old-time radio sitcom, or a disastrously misfired SNL sketch; but you can’t blame the actors — nobody could make this material work. HOLLYWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 6817 Franklin Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru Nov. 18. (323) 960-5521. (Neal Weaver)

SUBURBAN SHOWGIRL “If you find your passion — that’s a gift!” claims writer-performer Palmer Davis in her sprightly, if slight, solo show. By her own admission, Davis should consider herself lucky, as she has managed to live her entire life embracing and honing her passion — e.g., the art of dance. In her autobiographical monologue, Davis recounts stories of a California girlhood in which her parents first dragged her to ballet class in an attempt to keep her from “hanging out at the beach smoking pot.” She then describes becoming a pro dancer in music videos, taking a brief turn as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, and appearing in the national tour of a Broadway show. The vignettes are also liberally peppered with dance interludes, as Davis frequently lets loose, one moment with a gorgeous balletic pirouette, next with a glamorous Vegas-style choreographed kick line (of one). Director Leslie Welles commendably brings structure and energy to the genial work, which is otherwise as light as the gauze in Davis’ showgirl costume. Davis’ acting occasionally falters — her singing voice, which at times strains to hit the notes, has little of the range and vigorous training of her dance numbers. Also, the lack of conflict in Davis’ narrative inevitably makes portions of the piece seem unintentionally self-absorbed. Still, when Davis gives in to her passion, the show soars — sometimes literally. THEATRE UNLIMITED, 10943 Camarillo St., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 4 & 8 p.m.; thru Nov 17. (323) 960-7780. (Paul Birchall)

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