“Beloved”

Taylor Gilbert, Cherish Monique Duke and Sam Anderson star in the World Premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson and now playing at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood.
Taylor Gilbert, Cherish Monique Duke and Sam Anderson star in the World Premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson and now playing at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood. in the world premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson. Photo by Michele Young.

A NoHo Arts theatre review of the Road Theatre Company’s “Beloved,” written by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson, and running through June 25. 

This darkly riveting play was developed at the Road as part of their Summer Playwrights Festival last year. I caught the online version and was utterly floored by it. Particularly, considering the acute difficulties of producing a play on the web.  But now, we are happily able to visit live theatre once again and this new, full-length version of Arthur Holden’s “Beloved” is much more than the already brilliant play I had seen.

A marriage is unraveling. Two people, once very much in love, now grappling with a nightmare scenario. Their teenage son, David, their only child, is caught at school downloading child porn. Something so completely terrifying that it’s hard to understand how anyone could deal proportionally with such a thing. But this disparate couple, Stephan, played wickedly well by Sam Anderson and Dorothy, played by a heartbreaking Taylor Gilbert, try their worst to.

Sam Anderson and Taylor Gilbert star in the World Premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson and now playing at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood.
Sam Anderson and Taylor Gilbert star in the world premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson. Photo by Michele Young.

At the time this begins, Stephan and Dorothy’s commercial real estate company is in its final throws. No one shops at malls anymore, and their latest venture will be their last and likely ruin them financially. So it is into this that their son’s own ruin explodes and any semblance of a graceful exit for them in their marriage or their business is over.  

They turn on each other, as sometimes people do. Blaming and shredding and saying the things that can never be forgiven, defiantly defeated. It’s a vicious crumbling of a world. And as they circle each other looking for weakness, hoping for strength, we can feel their aching need to understand why David did such a thing. And the why turns out to be more terrible than the deed itself. 

The story is told in three waiting rooms. The first at school, the second at a hospital and the third in court. In each room with them is a school therapist, a doctor and then a lawyer, all played with magical ease by Cherish Duke. All of these characters are as reflective a mirror for the world around them as I have ever seen.  Then that is the point, I suppose, to show Stephan and Dorothy exactly how delusional they have been and, in the end, how far they have come from where they began, or where they hoped to be.

Taylor Gilbert and Cherish Monique Duke star in the World Premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson and now playing at the Road Theatre in North Hollywood.
Taylor Gilbert and Cherish Monique Duke star in in the world premiere of “BELOVED,” by Arthur Holden, directed by Cameron Watson. Photo by Michele Young.

It’s a painful story, told with exquisite specificity. Each of these people raw and unfettered, the diabolical turning pretence into farce. We watch them dissolve, perhaps finding at their core some forgiveness. Perhaps not. Either way, the unfolding is mesmerising, the performances epic and the deftness of the direction sublime.

The Road truly cherish their ability to unwrap new talent. They support and encourage and find work that pushes boundaries, making us not only think and feel, but also believe in the power of art.  

“Beloved” is art, at its finest. Unapologetic, difficult, and so visceral and real it’s hard to leave it behind. Bravo. The show runs through June 25 at The Road Theatre on Magnolia. Don’t miss it!

Check out the Playbill>>

The Production Team

The Design Team for “Beloved” is as follows: Scenic Design by Brian Graves; Lighting Design by Derrick McDaniel; Sound Design by Marc Antonio Pritchett; Costume Design by Michele Young.  Projection Design is by Nicholas Santiago. The Production Stage Manager is Maurie Gonzalez.  “Beloved” is produced by Danna Hyams with consulting producer Darryl Johnson.

When:

Running through June 25
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm

Where:

The Road on Magnolia
10747 Magnolia Blvd., NoHo Arts District, CA 91601

Tickets:

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.