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Friday, 14 April 2017 07:30

Murder Anyone? at Whitefire Theatre

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Left to right Carla Collins, Liesl Jackson. Photo James Sprague Left to right Carla Collins, Liesl Jackson. Photo James Sprague

Murder, Anyone? @ Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks playing through June 7

This is a play about writers.  In a city where you can’t throw a pistachio shell without hitting someone beavering away on their screenplay. "Murder, Anyone?" is a play about the struggles of a writing team as they bang away on a laptop creating, destroying and recreating what they hope will be a classic noir murder mystery…taking them from obscurity to fame and glory, is a no brainier.

Gordon Bressack has created an ode to writers everywhere and writers in this town in particular. 

Charlie stabbing George
Devin Caldarone, Jack Zullo (seated). Photo James Sprague

Here, in the land of movies, the temptation to write based on what broke the latest box office records, even if you are supposed to be writing a play, is clearly unavoidable for most.

George and Charlie are two writers teaming up specifically to write a murder mystery noir style play for a small black box theatre.  At least that is what Charlie imagines they are doing. George, on the other hand, seems determined to turn the play into a movie script full of the most cliche plot twists in the book.

As the two writers grapple with the storyline, the characters and each other, we see the action they write unfold in front of our very eyes on the other half of the stage…very clever.

The action is further enhanced by a projected backdrop of the play’s setting, a country house’s living room, complete with flickering fireplace, adding a great cartoonish quality to the play.  Since the actual writer, Mr Bressack, wrote for "Scooby-Doo," "Animaniacs" and, my absolute favorite, "Pinky and The Brain," this is a really lovely touch I think.

Coopee stranglingg Bridgette
Abraham Smith, Liesl Jackson (seated). Photo James Sprague

It’s a very interesting concept overall, the writers write, the actors act, and each time a change is made, whether an accent or a character’s personality is flipped, instantaneously we see it played out on stage.  It’s quite hilarious…

Everyone is brilliant of course, they really have to be.  The action is delightfully twisted and the actors become puppets to the writer's whims.  But they somehow really do inhabit every line, which is tough to do when your purpose is to fulfill the other half of the play's fantasy.  The only way a play like this could work as well is if the actors take everything totally seriously without playing to the crowd or hamming it up, and this group of highly experienced and excellent actors are perfectly in control of every scene. Just wonderful!

Oh, and there is also a man in a large yellow chicken costume…which always works somehow.

As the power struggle between the two writers plays out the effect on the actors becomes more and more ridiculous and funny and we are never quite sure what will happen next.  There is a brilliant twist to the end, which I shall absolutely not tell you…but what I can tell you is that I loved this play!

George strangling Charlie 1
Jack Zullo, Devin Caldarone (seated). Photo James Sprague

 

The Whitefire has some bloody fantastic plays this season.  I have enjoyed everything I have seen so far, but "Murder, Anyone?" is a particular highlight for me. I really, really recommend it!

Don’t dawdle, the show is only playing on Wednesdays until June 7th, so get your tickets and go and support live theatre for heaven's sake!!!

Murder Anyone?

Written and Directed by Gordon Bressack

Whitefire Theatre
13500 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, 91423

April 5 - June 7

Wednesdays at 8 pm

TICKETS>>

Featuring 

Carla Collins - Marie Clements

Devin Caldarone - Charlie

Bruce Clifford - Blaine

Liesl Jackson - Bridgette

Abraham Smith - Cooper

Jack Zullo - George

Production Crew

Playwright & Director - Gordon Bressack

Co-Producer - Venus Banuelos

Technical Director & Graphic Designer - David Svengalis

Lighting Director - Derrick McDaniel

Fight Choreographer - Mike Mahaffey

Props & Costumes - Venus Banuelos & Nancy Santiago

Stage Manager - Nancy Santiago

Publicity - Nora Feldman

Read 377 times Last modified on Saturday, 15 April 2017 20:00
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer, director, filmmaker and photographer living in North Hollywood. In 2012 she was involved in the unprecedented project 52 Films/52 Weeks: A Year in Filmmaking, where she and her partners, wrote, directed, produced and edited a film a week for an entire year. She currently has several independent projects in development, runs a music video production company as well as a budget conscious photography business for the hard working actor. You can reach her at samronceros@gmail.com.

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