The Defiance Theatre Company stages a comedy production of betrayal, lies and murder, that keeps the audience on their toes.
As a former exchange student in Los Angeles, now studying journalism in London and being an absolute theatre addict, I see many shows in the West End, which is the English equivalent to Broadway. Coming back to L.A. and going to a show in NoHo is something I’ve always wanted to do, especially since it’s so different to what I’m used to. And this show did not disappoint.
The Henderson Hotel in Hollywood is an affordable safe haven for artists until the owner dies. His son, Jerry (Daniel McCann), wants to turn the hotel into condos. He’s hungry for money and pushes peoples’ buttons for fun. He is hated by most and ends up dead in the lobby of his hotel, after evicting the small group of tenants living in the hotel.
His cheating wife Roxanne (Domenique Fragale), who’s involved in a drug business is only one of the suspects. There’s also her lover John (Matthew Edwards), a young musician with a wealthy father. An old, retired and still glamourous actress, Coco (Mariko van Kampen), an eccentric artist, Ron (Jake Tittl) and an alcoholic poet, Naomi (Glenda Suggs). All these people seemed to have personal issues with Jerry, even before they were evicted and therefore any of them could have had a good reason to kill him.
Lt Black played by Marjorie LeWit was the most captivating character. She was hilarious, intriguing and clever. She’s a rockstar in homicide and thus paparazzi follow her to every case. Together with Kirby, an LAPD detective played by Erica Green, the team makes a great and iconic combo.
The cleaning lady played by Morgan Tritch is the comical highlight of the show, with the ability to make the audience laugh without saying a word, using only her on-point facial expressions.
The intimate atmosphere in the theatre enhances the feeling of being a fly on the wall or secretly peeking through a window into the hotel. Jacques Freydont has created a classical and timeless who-dunnit crime comedy. His characters represent NoHo and its artistic diversity, including actors, dancers, artists and poets. The NoHo Arts District is just in a one-square-mile neighbourhood and is the home of 20 theatres, six dance studios and a ton of recording studios and, of course, all the fun. Seeing that the play is about artists, their struggles and passions, this show is meant to be shown in NoHo.
Being used to theatres in London’s spectacular West End, it was incredible to see a show in an intimate, 50 or less seat theatre. Brian Allman, the director, used the limited space phenomenally. The actors coming from different entrances and walking through the audience creates a sense of inclusion. His direction is clear and easy to follow, making it an entertaining evening out. The comedy promises a night full of lies, laughter and suspense.
The show runs on Fridays and Saturdays through July 2 at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse.
Morgan Tritch, Daniel McCann, Glenda Suggs, Caiti Wiggins, Matthew Edwards, Mariko Van Kampen, Jake Tittl, Domenique Fragale, Travis Taylor Clark, Erica Green, Marjorie LeWit.
About the Reviewer - Sarah Louhichi
Twitter | Instagram: @sarah_louhichi
I’m a former exchange student in Los Angeles, now studying journalism at the University of Westminster in London. I’m a theatre lover and hopeful future theatre critic. I call the West End, London’s theatre wonderland, my second home. I’m always on a mission to get the best deals and cheapest tickets for my favourite shows. Sunny Afternoon, a show about the English band The Kinks is my guilty pleasure, I’ve seen it 24 times and counting.
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