Friday, 31 July 2015 12:23

Off Book @ The Secret Rose Theatre

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Off Book, written by Khai Dattoli, Directed by Paul McGee

Off Book is a play within a play within a play.

The actors are playing actors on the opening night of their new play. They are all nervous, excited and overwrought, understandably, and when you throw into the mix the lead actor texting the director that he is on a plane to Hawaii to shoot a film and is quitting the show and the writer of the show is also producing the show and the director of the show has cast his sister in one of the lead roles and they are both freaking out about it and an extremely highly strung writer and you have a rich recipe for disaster and hilarity.

And ‘Off Book’ is hilarious…and that’s just the first act!

The plot careens from actors crushing on each other, and the usual pre-show shenanigans to the a feverish attempt to avert disaster by recasting the lead role.

The truly original twist is that at the end of act one, when the cast of the play grapples with who among them is ready, willing or even able to assume the role the hapless romantic lead actor has left behind, the audience, that is us, is given the chance to actually vote on which of the three remaining candidates, the director, the neurotic writer or the stage director with a photographic memory and a terrible case of stage fright, will step into the vacated leading man’s shoes and save the day!

I cast my vote with just as much enthusiasm as the rest of the audience and held my breath to discover wether who I chose would win the day…

They didn’t, and to keep things honest I will never disclose who I chose, suffice it to say that a little incest never hurt anyone, at least in a play that is!

This terrifically funny premise offers the audience, and the actors, an opportunity to experience something truly unique. Each night could be a totally new interpretation of the same exact play.

The second and third acts are the play within this play and the transformation we see from the actors already playing roles to playing new roles as the characters they have already established with us is more than a little head spinning…but in the good way.

The writer Khai Dattoli has given us a rare treat in the theatre and something unexpected, strange and wonderful, a surprise ending. Each of the actors in this play are superb, and so committed to the epic panic and pandemonium that I really was on the edge of my seat wondering if they could pull it off.

But pull it off they did…brilliantly.

Kudos to the director Paul McGee who has pulled together a group of talented and brave actors willing to put themselves on the spot every night and at the mercy of the fates.

This is a fun and thrilling show, and well worth your time. I really had a wonderful evening, and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone!

Off Book is playing at The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
It plays through August 22nd, Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 2pm.

For more information and tickets go to

Jay Aaseng, Matthew Bridges, Danielle Kazarakis, Corsica Wilson, Lauren Baldwin, Jennifer Haley, Khai Dattoli, Luis Selgas, Ryan Rowley.

Production Team
Paul McGee - Director
Anna Yosin - Assistant Director
Brandon Dattoli - sound/lighting
Matt Basora - videography

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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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