BWW Review: An Intriguing ANDY WARHOL'S TOMATO Captivates at the Pacific Resident Theatre
Andy Warhol'S TOMATO/by Vince Melocchi/directed by Dana Jackson/Pacific Resident Theatre/thru September 22, 2019
The world premiere of playwright Vince Melocchi's Andy Warhol'S TOMATO receives a solid mounting at the Pacific Resident Theatre. Dana Jackson directs this fictionalized two-hander on the possible beginnings of pop artist icon Andy Warhol, with a deft hand and a meticulous eye for character development via the subtle physical actions of the two wonderfully convincing actors - Derek Chariton as Andy Warhol and Keith Stevenson as Bones Bonino, the owner of the bar's storage room which TOMATO entirely takes place in. Chariton vividly captures the unique idiosyncrasies of Warhol while giving inner life to lines Warhol might have really said. Stevenson effortlessly portrays Bones, some might describe as the polar opposite of Warhol, as a gruff on the outside, compassionate, caring drinking man's man. Their initial cat-and-mouse dialogue so piques your interest questioning what exactly keeps their conversation going.
Set in 1946, Hometead, PA, TOMATO opens with a semi-conscious Andy waking up after being rescued prone off the street in front of Bonino's by Bones. TOMATO presents an intimate, quiet look at the various encounters Andy and Bones have after Andy agrees to compensate for a picture frame of Bones he damaged, with the painting of Bonino's new front door sign. Melocchi sprinkles enough known facts of Warhol's life to make you wonder, really wonder, if you're watching a non-fiction depiction rather than the well-constructed story Melocchi made up.
Kudos to scenic designer Rich Rose for his detailed Bonino's storage room/office combo, Andrew Schmedake for his lighting and projection design clearly delineating the passage of night and day, and Christopher Moscatiello for his various sound effects of the unseen upstairs restaurant and the outside street traffic above.
At approximately 80 minutes in length, TOMATO's just the perfect time to spend with two well-written, well-directed, well-acted characters that keep you transfixed by their quirky, but incredible relationship. Your heartstrings will be pulled.