At the Crown City Theater in the NoHo Arts District (just west of the Lankershim/Vineland intersection), celebrated actor Juliet Landau stars as Roberta in the famed, deeply emotional production of Danny And The Deep Blue Sea. The story of two misfits meeting in a dive bar in the Bronx, Danny, a truck driver prone to violence (played by Matthew J. Williamson), and Roberta, an absent single mother with a dark family secret- develop and instant and unavoidable connection. “What interests me about this play is that it covers some pretty dark territory, but there’s also a lot of humor in it,” Juliet confides. “These two characters are at their wits end; they’re really burning and churning and needing to connect and they do, and it’s quite a roller coaster.”
Catholic Girl - photo by Chelsea Sutton
Is The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity a one-woman show or is it a two-hander play? Now playing at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake, and written by and starring Anne Hendy, this light comedy feels somehow as if it is both. Or perhaps it began life as a one-woman show but later was expanded?
Whatever the case, The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity starts off well, with its first two scenes involving two actors, but quickly reverts back to its true core, a one-woman confessional with direct to audience address. Thankfully, the introspective monologues are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of great scenes between our hapless heroine and a motley assortment of men who might prove to be the recipient of her virtue.
Cyrus Alexander is the guy playing all the other male roles – and even one hilarious woman in drag – and he gives an exceptional performance throughout the evening. A highlight is a scene where our Mid-western virgin participates in an evening of ‘speed dating’. This calls for a virtuoso exercise in lightning-quick costume changes from Alexander as he whizzes through a parade of deviants and weirdos. Hendy’s play is a gift to any talented male actor, seeing as he gets to play so many diverse roles. Alexander is so brilliant as each of his distinct characters that he almost overshadows our leading lady and playwright. Director Gregg W. Brevoort deserves some credit for eliciting superb performances from his cast, given the slight material.
One aspect of the staging was a bit awkward, with our leading lady all but grunting as she shifted a central, padded bench set-piece around the stage that seems unnecessarily weighty given its apparent need for mobility. The remaining sets of solid-looking, semi-arch shaped ‘brick’ walls, designed by Keith Mitchell, served their purpose.
While mildly amusing, Hendy’s play doesn’t offer much that is revelatory about a Catholic woman’s guilt, sexual repression, conscience-wrestling and ultimate sexual liberation. But it does provide some funny and poignant scenes and proves a pleasant diversion.
The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity
4252 Riverside Drive in Burbank,
Runs until Sunday, March 6, 2011
Wed.—Sat. at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm
Approximately 90 minutes, no intermission
$29.50 – $32.00
Purchase tickets here or call (818) 955-8101