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Out to Lunch

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If you’re ever going to believe me on one theatre recommendation, please let this be it. There are only a few showings left, and the stellar performance of the amazing Alan Mandell is not to be missed. I just pray that someone tapes it for posterity. It’s a Master Class in acting.

There are just a few portrayals that no other actors should ever tackle, such as Hugh Jackman in “Boy From Oz.” They shut that show down when he left, rather than trying to replace the irreplaceable. That’s how I feel about Mr. Mandell as former Attorney General Francis Biddle. If you don’t see his tour de force, you will never see it the proper way.

Of course, no matter how great he is, any actor needs the brilliant words, which in this case, were provided by Joanna McClelland Glass. She wrote this 2-person play based on her months as young secretary to Mr. Biddle. (Rebecca Mozo holds her own in the role, which is a hard task next to the shear genius of Mr. Mandell.)

I’m thrilled that lessons of proper language usage are featured prominently in the play, not that anyone learned from it, I’m afraid. If I hear one more person mis-use “lay” for “lie,” I’m going to scream! I almost stood-up and cheered when the character explained it here.

Although the subject of a formerly brilliant 81-year-old man beginning to lose it is not exactly an upper, this is primarily a comedy. The laughs are hearty and plentiful. I’m so glad that Mr. X accepted my pleas to see it with me because he thoroughly enjoyed it, as did everyone.

Actually, this is a special revival of the first running of “Trying” at the Colony that happened last summer. I really do try to see every show here because 4 out of 5 of them are usually very good. But, for some reason, I had missed this one, and was kicking myself because I heard that it was the best play ever. I heard right.

There’s not much more to tell you, except run to your phone to reserve tickets this instant!

“Trying” running just 10 performances, through May 25
Colony Theatre 555 N. Third St. Burbank 818/558-7000 ext. 15


The night after I saw “Trying” at the Colony, I attended the opening of “Boise, USA” at the Matrix Theatre. I was never a big fan of the shows I had seen here, and after the magical-ness of “Trying,” I thought I’d never enjoy another play again.

But, though this topic was another bummer, (and without humor this time), I thought it was pretty good. And enlightening. On the heels of the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, seeing a show about the real-life homosexual with hunt that took place in Boise, Idaho in the 50s was a real shock.

The only problem I saw was that by the end, [SPOILER ALERT, but not a big one] when it turned-out that just about every male portrayed was gay, it was bordering on a “Saturday Night Live” skit. (I had already cast Alec Baldwin in it, in my mind.) And, I hesitate to bring this up, I have a feeling that most of the actors themselves were of that particular persuasion, so I couldn’t tell if they were portraying that as characters, or just living their real lives, which made the revelations in the play a tad confusing.

That being said, I had never seen any of these actors before, in any medium, so I had no pre-conceived notions of them. I thought they were all pretty good, especially the fact that none of them gave that pat theatre-piece delivery.

I didn’t notice this part, but to give you one other opinion, my guest, who’s done quite a bit of theatre herself, thought that they were all a bit shout-y. I wasn’t bothered by it, and was just caught-up in the sadness of the situation, which I couldn’t wait to Google as soon as I got home. (I had to postpone my research, though, cause this friend was classy enough to take me to dinner after, when we saw the reception food was mainly cheese, on a very hot night.)

They made clever use of the set and lighting, too. It was an over-all good theatre experience, which there are, sadly, too few of nowadays.

“Boise, USA” running through June 29
Matrix Theatre 7657 Melrose Ave. 323-960-4420


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