Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:57

‘For Better or For Worse’

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Playhouse West is a school as well as a repertory theatre, and has been training actors, writers and directors for the past 30 years. It’s pedigree is fairly impressive with such actors as Steve McQueen, Jeff Goldblum, Diane Keaton and Sandra Bullock passing through its doors.

This new play, ‘For Better or For Worse’ is written by a current student at the Playhouse, Reed Arnold, who also stars as Mark, one of the three best friends from college, two boys, one girl, who together form the story of the play. Rose, played by Kelly Russo and Ryan, played by Travis Laughlin are the ill fated couple in this story. Ryan loves Rose in college, confess to her when she comes to him distraught after finding out her boyfriend has cheated on her, so his confession of love goes horribly wrong. Then years later, after they have barely been in touch, their friendship ruined, Rose finally comes to realize that she has always been in love with Ryan, and picks the morning of his wedding to give him the good news, much to the horror of their other best friend, and best man, Mark.

The story is set in present day, with some hilarious and flawlessly handled flashbacks to their college years.

The performances are brilliant, and the roles are perfectly cast.

I think the biggest compliment to give any play, or film or TV show for that matter, is to say that it was truthful, that we can see ourselves, as we sit in the audience, in each and every role, and that the story is one we all know, on an emotional level. This play is exactly that. I knew this story.

That is not to say in any way that “I have seen this all before”, not at all. But I knew these people, I knew their stories, I have felt their pain. Reed Arnold is an extraordinary writer, he takes us effortlessly through these particular moments in the lives of these particular characters, and we believe them. I believed everything they said, I believed these people were friends, lovers, and everything in between, which is where the truth of relationships really lie.

This is truly is as much a compliment to the actors, who were absolutely superb, as it is to the writing.

I felt as if there were perhaps a lot more of this story written and that it had been carefully crafted into this play. With just the three actors telling the tale, there was little exposition, and therefore much substance. Honestly there were so many memorable lines I’ll just have to go and see it again to try and remember a few of them. Reed Arnold was brilliant as the slightly obnoxious, but touchingly heartfelt Mark, frantically trying to hols it all together. Kelly Russo was delightful and hilarious and strong as Rose, nothing cookie-cutter girly-role about her performance as she careens from emotion to emotion, and Travis Laughlin was adorable and touching and memorable as Ryan, oh how I wish my daughter was a few years older!

I left the theatre smiling and wanting to see more. More of the play, more of these actors and much more of the productions by Playhouse West.

A nod to the director, Wolfgang Bodison, there was magic on the stage and I am sure we have him to thank for giving these actors the freedom to find it. The staging was expertly handled and executed and I highly and enthusiastically recommend this play, please go and see these wonderful actors bare their hearts and souls on stage for us all, you wont regret it!

This play has free admission, you just need to book ahead.

It runs from March 13th - April 4th on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and on Sundays at 7pm.

‘For Better or For Worse’, Written by Reed Arnold, Directed by Wolfgang Bodison

Playhouse West, 10634 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood


Mark - Reed Arnold
Rose - Kelly Russo
Ryan - Travis Laughlin


Wolfgang Bodison


Stage Manager - Michael Miraula
Stage Crew- Kara Pilcher, Sydney Nicole, James Lim, Justin Chalupa, Zachary Zarvos.

Read 13904 times Last modified on Friday, 20 March 2015 01:51
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Writer, Filmmaker, Musician. Samantha has Produced over 60 short films and Written and Directed 20. She is the co-creator of 52 Films/52 Weeks and The Cinema Tribe Collective. She has written over 400 LA Theatre reviews and is partners in Xpress Records a Music Publishing Company in the UK.  This year she will be directing her first feature film which she also wrote, developing several others and is writing a children’s book. 

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