Of Grapes and Nuts
Humor à la Joad comes to Burbank in this revival of a parodic hybrid between two of John Steinbeck's best-known novels, The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. Written by Doug Armstrong, Keith Cooper and Tom Willmorth, the plotline is loosely that of The Grapes of Wrath, following Tom Joad (Ian Vogt) and the Joad family on their trek from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression. The primary additions from Of Mice and Men are the characters of Lenny (David Reynolds), Candy (David Ghilardi) and Curly (Kimberly Van Luin). Director Paul Stroili, part of the original 1990 Chicago cast, lets his actors go full bore into an over-the-top campiness that winks heavily at the gritty realism of the source material. The self-made frontier ethos is particularly lampooned in a production that gets mileage from both the sly anachronistic jokes in the script and the gusto with which the cast tackles them. Casey Kramer, as Ma Joad, has some particularly hilarious rants, as does Lauren McCormack, who plays the womanizing preacher Jim Casy. Reynolds portrays dim-witted Lenny with such earnestness that we can't help but like him, and Ghilardi (who plays four roles) and Jen Ray (playing both a bulldozer driver and a waitress) showcase their versatility. Even David George's wooden grape crate of a set is comical, providing an appropriate backdrop to a show that puts the "funny" in the "bone" dry Dust Bowl. Little Vic Theatre at Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 4 p.m.; through October 24. (818) 623-6666. seaglasstheatre.org. A Sea Glass Theatre production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Sept. 18. Continues through Oct. 24, 2010
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