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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Night At The Theatre

The Road Theater in North Hollywood (NOHO) has become a favorite of mine over the past few years. I don’t always love their productions, but I admire the chances they take with the material, and the quality of the performances is always impressive.

This past weekend I went to see their latest production, the West Coast Premiere of LADY.Written by Craig Wright and beautifully directed by Scott Alan Smith LADY tells the story of three boyhood friends, now middle-aged, who come together for an annual hunting trip. Their childhood bonds are threatened as recollections of past memories, ideals, and morals are confronted.

Kenny (Matt Kirkwood), the least ambitious of the three, is a stoner who escapes his reality by living vicariously through movies. He loves his wife, who’s battling terminal cancer, and fears the inevitable.

Dyson (Shawn Michael Patrick) is in a loveless marriage and brags about his numerous infidelities. His only child, a son, has decided to enlist in the Marines, which Dyson vehemently opposes, and Dyson blames Graham (Mark Doerr) for inciting his son to enlist.

Graham is a Congressman representing the town where these three friends grew up together. He’s an elected Democrat whose political beliefs about the Iraqi war favor the Republican president.

What could have been contrived and predictable unfolds with multiple layers of character flaws and yearnings with plot twists to keep the audience fully engaged. Wright’s dialogue is right on the mark, both passionate and incisive. But what makes this production so wonderful are the performances, most notably Matt Kirkwood whose nuanced delivery builds to a final emotional release that goes straight to the heart.

LADY continues through June 14th. Tickets can be purchased through The Road Company’s website: roadtheatre.org.

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