Madness, Mayhem, & Other Stimulants… When Women Write! Summer Playwright’s Lab
“Kissinup to Mr. Bliss” by Susan C. Hunter Dates Sept 9-10, 15-17
I greatly enjoyed the new farce “KissinUp to Mr. Bliss” this afternoon at the cozy Brickhouse Theatre in the NoHo Arts District.
“Kissinup to Mr. Bliss” is the second in the well-produced series produced by John Lant with Michael Eiden, Susan H. Hunter, Linda Rand and Rochelle Perry.
The very funny, very entertaining, two-hour, two-act original farce was inspired by a true story when Ms. Hunter’s teenage son and nephew competed years ago for the same part in an acclaimed director’s movie.
(Left to Right) Cruz-William Castillo, Matt Pick
In this version, 17 year old first cousins/best pals Freddy Harland (Aaron Stall) and Ben Bennett (Michael Aghasaryan) compete for the same role in a gritty new film from acclaimed artsy and egotistical director Brando Bliss ( stylishly played by British actor Matt Pick). The young actors are very funny as the competitive cousins. The audition was arranged by zany yenta Uncle Bruce (Jeffrey Paul Morgan) after he has come to the rescue of Mr. Bliss caught up in a precarious situation. It was fun to see the action unfold as the once friendly cousins get very competitive with each other as do their well-meaning parents – Sheila Bennett well played by Nicole Picard as Freddy’s Mom and Stuart Bennett well played by David Scott Carroll as Ben’s Dad.
Adding to the mayhem is the fact that Ben’s parents are separated and on the verge of reuniting – his Mom Linda Bennett is played by pretty Ashley Ledbetter who is hysterical when she enters the picture. David Scott Carroll and Ashley Ledbetter are very touching as the story moves on. Funny Grandmother Gammy is well played by Kathryn L. Hunter who lends much no nonsense practical and mature wisdom to the proceedings. The mysterious young and pretty Ozzie (Jaylene Iannini) pops up frequently and is very funny in her various appearances and characters. Added to the pathos is the character of Diaz X. McKenna (Cruz-William Castillo) who gives a strong performance as a bumbling hiccupping pizza man/domestic terrorist out for fame. Rounding out the cast is driven, strong-willed and calculating TV reporter Cassandra Claussen played by feisty Carla Valentine who is a standout.
Kudos to writer Susan C. Hunter for creating the very amusing scenario with such a lively, colorful bunch of characters for the actors to sink their collective teeth into.
FREDDY HARLAND – Aaron Stall
BEN BENNETT – Michael Aghasaryan
SHEILA HARLAND – Nicole Picard
STUART BENNETT – David Scott Carroll
BRUCE BENNETT – Jeffrey Paul Morgan
GAMMY – Kathryn L. Hunter
OZZIE – Jaylene Iannini
LINDA BENNETT – Ashley Ledbetter
BRANDO BLISS – Matt Pick
DIAZ X. MCKENNA – Cruz-William Castillo
CASSANDRA CLAUSSEN – Carla Valentine
Produced by John Lant with Michael Eiden, Susan Hunter, Linda Rand & Rochelle Perry
Lighting Design/Sound Design by Ken Cosby
Associate Producer/Stage Managed by Jonathan Harrison
Graphic Design by Rochelle Perry