This Week in Theater
Review by Rose Desena
15th century France is alive and well at the Odyssey Theatre. Francois Villon, the brilliant poet, is at large. Unfortunately he is also a thief and a murderer and can’t seem to stay out of jail. Murray Mednick (Writer/Director) gives us a witty and entertaining look at this eccentric character.
Kevin Weisman does a splendid job as the hard-nosed yet academically creative criminal who can’t seem to stop pissing off everyone around him, including the police and the king.
A foster father raised Francois, and his brains get him through a masters program at the University of Paris, but his education does little to keep him from his destiny: a life of crime. His friends are not of his intellectual stature. He favors deviants and prefers a life of brothels and bars to one of work and status. After Villon kills a man in an alcohol-fueled bar fight, he is banished from Paris. He and his merry men get into trouble again for stealing gold, and Villon ends up in prison. While there, he makes good use of his time by writing Le Grand Testament. He spends most of his life being banished from one place or another and eventually goes into hiding, never to be heard from again.
His sidekick Clotilde (Peggy Ann Blow) is a sharp addition as she helps him relay his story. His merry men complement his cantankerous character, making this slice of French history really fun.
Mednick works his characters well, and he presents the story artistically and comically.
It just goes to show that just because you’re a smarty pants, it doesn’t mean you will be successful. Some people are just bad to the bone.
Check it out
Villon’s best work was written while in prison.
If you’re interested in a little more research, here are some good sites:
Produced by, Guy Zimmerman and Laura Hill
Written and Directed by Murray Mednick
Starring Peggy Ann. Blow, Alana Dietze, Troy Emmet Dunn, Geoffrey Dwyer, Carl J. Johnson, Gray Palmer, Christopher Rivas and Kevin Weisman
Performances: Feb. 15 – March 23:
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 21, 28; March 7, 14, 21
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Feb. 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22
Sundays at 7 p.m.: Feb. 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23
A guest production at the Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90025
(310) 477-2055 ext. 2 or www.PaduaPlaywrights.org