Baby Oh Baby
Felicity Wren, Amy Tolsky and Douglas Scott (Photo by Ed Krieger)
Written by Phil Scarpaci and T.L. Shannon
Directed by Phil Scarpaci
Produced by Pattie Kelly
Well this is definitely the first time I have reviewed a play in LA, set in England, with actual English people…I’m English…I would have remembered.
Baby Oh Baby is a fabulously funny homage to the great British sitcom…with a bit of a twist…
Two half sisters, Bella and Angie, played respectively by the wonderful and talented Amy Tolsky and Felicity Wren, live together in a flat somewhere on the outskirts of London. They appear to be polar opposites at first, Bella, the older of the two, a bit shy and resigned to her singledom, and Angie, clawing at the remaining vestiges of her youth and determined to remain ‘hot’. And yet, as the play unfolds, we learn how truly connected they are to each other, how committed, and, even when a little rivalry kicks in, how much they deeply love each other.
This is a comedy and it is romantic, but it’s not a romantic comedy in the traditional sense.
The ‘romance’ or more accurately, the ‘love story’ is between these two glorious and beautifully written women.
And here’s something surprising about the ‘writing’ of these two characters, the playwrights are both men…so well done there! I felt that I could have known these women, been friends with them, and I probably do have friends just like them in fact, and as slightly neurotic as they both are certain stages of the play and for very different reasons, they are not cliches, far from it.
These women are both very real and very relatable and very, very funny.
There are some wonderfully colorful male characters as well. Weena, the sister’s landlord and frequent drop in guest is an hilarious and heartfelt, flamboyantly gay man brilliantly and fondly played by the lovely Douglas Scott Sorenson. We also have the delightful Kaelan Strouse who plays, how can I put this delicately, the ‘donor’. It’s another brazen and seriously funny performance by an actor who is clearly enjoying every minute. Thirdly, but by no means lastly, we are introduced to the very attractive and sweet, if not a ever so slightly clueless Rory, Angie’s hapless love interest, played by the adorable Andrew Katers.
Everyone bravely attempts an English accent, Felicity Wren is English anyway and Amy Tolksy spent many years there, so they have no worries, but the boys had a huge mountain to climb to be honest, and it’s clear that they threw themselves enthusiastically into it and more than pulled it off in my opinion, and I should know!
Felicity Wren Douglas Scott Sorenson and Amy Tolsky (Photo by Ed Krieger)
But what exactly is this play about I hear you ask. Well, without giving the entire plot away, a pet peeve of mine when reading reviews, this play is about women of a certain age grappling with the idea that they may not have a child…or that they may indeed have to take fate by the throat and just go it alone, maternally speaking. It’s about that fear of being alone, not just without a partner, but without a family, at least a traditional one. Just because it seems easier these days to meet people, online or otherwise, doesn’t at all increase your odds of meeting the right one…a fact of which many of us are all to painfully aware.
But Baby Oh Baby is far from glum about the whole thing, in fact I rather felt uplifted and hopeful and altogether proud of these courageous and very human characters. And, in a very typically English way, they all use slightly self-depreciating humor as their weapon of choice, which I adore and which the entire audience responded to so completely it was rather touching.
Baby Oh Baby is a funny, slightly neurotic, very honest and hopeful take on life beyond the traditional, after reality sets in and we are well into the faze when fleece PJ’s permanently replace the lacy lingerie.
If you enjoy laughing at the ridiculousness of a ‘life plan’, then ‘Baby Oh Baby’ is the perfect play for you!
I thoroughly recommend Baby Oh Baby at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks.
The play runs from March 19th through June 4th every Saturday night at 8pm.
Amy Tolsky, Felicity Wren, Douglas Scott Sorenson, Kaelan Strouse, Andrew Katers
Scenic Deisgner - Emmy Weldon
Costume Designer - Ellen Greenberg
Tech Director/Stage Manager - David Svengalis
Lighting Designer - Derrick McDaniel
Assistant Stage Manger/Prop Master - Daniel Hoisch
Publisist - Nora Feldman