Review: Antaeus' DIANA OF DOBSON'S - A Firecracker of A Woman (& A Play) To Experience

JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 Season

DIANA OF DOBSON'S/by Cicely Hamilton/directed by Casey Stangl/Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center/thru June 3, 2019

Playwright Cicely Hamilton's first productions of her DIANA OF DOBSON'S in 1908 must have been quite controversial with a, then unheard of, strong, outspoken woman Diana Massingberd as the lead character. Abigail Marks more than fills the shoes of Diana with her relentless command of the stage, constantly speaking her quite honest mind, whether in the midst of her peers (her lady co-workers of Dobson's Drapery JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 SeasonEmporium in London), or in the elite company of the rich and famous in a plush hotel in Pontresina, Switzerland. Director Casey Stangl deftly guides her talented cast in a fast-talking, fast-paced journey of Diana's adventures.

Play opens with three of Diana's co-workers in their sparse dormitory room. The vocal interplay between these three women (captivatingly played by Kristin Ariza, Cindy Nguyen and Krystal Roche) enchant and enthrall in their gossiping, dreams and well-JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 Seasonwishes, all the while getting out of their layers and layers of clothing, and undoings of their elaborate Gibson Girl hairdos. Kudos to costumer A. Jeffrey Schoenberg and wigs and hair designer Jessica Mills for their spot-on period contributions. (Spoiler alert: Do enjoy these actresses in these three characters as these three delightful characters, most unfortunately, do not reoccur pass this initial scene.) These three, joined by a later arriving co-worker (Shannon Lee Clair), do go on about the un-likeability and non-popularity of Diana, as Diana has a tendency to not bite her tongue in speaking with her superiors, causing shared punishments or reprimands to all the women.

With the just arrived letter informing Diana of her inheritance of 300 pounds from her recently deceased relative, Diana announces she's quitting Dobson's and going to really enjoy herself on a vacation.

JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 SeasonScenic designer Nana Caussa's stark, metal-framed bedded dormitory most cleverly transforms in the plush lobby of the Hotel Engadine in the Alps before the audiences' eyes. Now in Pontresina and decked out in posh outfits, Diana mingles effortlessly with the vacationing aristocrats already there - Mrs. Cantelupe and her nephew Captain Victor Bretheron, and Mrs. Cantelupe's friends Mrs. Whyter-Fraser and Sir Jabez Grinley.

Eve Gordon's impeccable comic timing mines the ultimate laughs from her Mrs. Cantelupe's quips. Gordon effortlessly shows the audience all the hard work it takes to be a socialite. One can actually emphasize with Gordon's Mrs. Cantelupe's heavy plight.

John Bobek totally inhabits the born-with-a-silver-spoon Captain Bretherton. Charming, yet unexposed to the realities of 'the common folk who need to work,' JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 SeasonBobek throws cute, immature tantrums when not getting his befuddled way.

John Apicella makes his stage presence known as Sir Grinley, the well-to-do factory owner who thinks nothing of overworking his faceless employees to death. Apicella shines in his comic lighter bit.

Lynn Milgrim simply IS the doddering, harmless, accommodating Mrs. Whyte-Fraser.

After the second intermission, Caussa's set changes to the Thames Embankment, full JELLY'S LAST JAM And More Annouced For Pasadena Playhouse 2023-24 Seasonof homeless. Paul Stanko makes his mark as the efficient, respectful Constable Fellowes who recognizes his former military superior Capt. Bretherton amongst the embankment's denizens. Bobek easily essays a much more matured Bretherton. Milgrim, in her second role as a homeless Old Woman, spouts wisdom wise beyond her years and her situation.

Technical elements quite complementary and solid, as expected at an Antaeus Theatre Company production - sound by Jeff Gardner and lighting by Karyn D. Lawrence.

Go meet DIANA. You may be put off by her brashness, but you won't forget her.


BroadStage to Present the World Premiere of Los Angeles Ballet's MEMORYHOUSE

BroadStage will present the world premiere of Los Angeles Ballet's Memoryhouse, the first full-length ballet by Melissa Barak as Los Angeles Ballet's new Artistic Director. The ballet will run June 15-17, 2023 at 7:30pm at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage.

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Lin Shaye to Debut Solo Show TRIPPING ON LIFE at The Hollywood Fringe in June

 Rugolo Entertainment and Buchwald have announced the highly anticipated staged reading of “Tripping on Life,' written and performed by the legendary Lin Shaye. Directed by Robert Galinsky, the solo show will be showcased as a staged reading at this year's prestigious Hollywood Fringe Festival.

IF I'M GOOD to Play Hollywood Fringe in June

Tennessee Whiskey & Fresno Chile Productions has announced the West-Coast premiere of If I'm Good, by Ronnie Larsen, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.


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