This Week in Theater.
“L. A. Deli”
Written by Sam Bobrick
Review by Rose Desena
Sam Bobrick (writer) dishes up an interesting look at the lives of the rich, the famous, and the pretty who wheel and deal in this wretched but glamorous town called Tinsel Town.
Kathleen (Gail Matthius) is a waitress in a Jewish deli somewhere in Hollywood. Writers, producers and women who want to meet them, come and go as a series of stories expose the bitter truths about the ruthless dealings that go on in a place, without conscience, where the money is good and the dreams are big.
The play itself is meant to be a comedy showing the irony of it all, and there are some good laughs. A few of the stories were taken from Bobricks’s own experience as a writer hustling around trying to sell his scripts, poor guy. It’s brutal. I am amazed anyone ever gets a deal.
The director took many of the characters way over the top, so at times I felt like I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit. A few of the stories were very predictable. Bobrick taps into every Hollywood cliché. Selfish manipulative people, egomaniacs and brainless beauties are all represented. Well, that’s what I thought at first. What I didn’t see until I thought about it afterwards was the other story.
Is LA a refuge for those who are dreamers or escapees from their boring lives, or a life that is just not tolerable? Maybe you’re just a soul who needs to be in a place where if you can’t shine you are invisible, without a name. There is no place in this country that captures the high-life more than LA, but it is not without a price. The emptiness is frightening.
I thought most of the acting was good, particularly Phil Proctor, Jeffery Landman and Matthius. I just didn’t care for some of the directional choices. Walter Painter (director) went a little too animated for me and I found it distracting.
However, the ending of what I thought was a light comedy brought everything together, and was a good hard reality check. It was clearly the best part for me and very unexpected. Furthermore I loved the musical number at the end. I think this would be an excellent musical.
Jeffery P Eisenmann built a wonderful stage set, giving the audience a true diner experience.
This is the kind of work that leaves you with a lot of thought, and you just might ask yourself, what the heck am I doing here?
Written by Sam Bobrick
Directed by Walter Painter
Cast: Rachel Boller, Scott Kruse, Jeffery Landman, Gail Matthius, Phil Proctor, Darrin Revitz.
Though, April 27, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday at 3pm
Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg, 7936 Santa Monica Blvd (one block west of Fairfax), West Hollywood.
Reserve online: www.plays411.com/ladeli or call (323) 960-7738.