BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE at The Theatre Of Note

BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE   at The Theatre Of Note

Kirsten Vangsness has a most fertile imagination. Her creation, a new play called Cleo, Theo & Wu, is a wild and crazy spaceship-ride through the annals of time as a way for her character Lucy to empower her own life back on earth.

The World Premiere, Directed by Lisa Dring, and written by Kirsten Vangsness is a verbal wonderland of dialogue that is smart, funny, poignant and immensely clever and fast-paced.

As we first meet Lucy from Los Angeles, embodied by Kirsten Vangsness, her world is pretty chaotic and confusing. Her job as a boss, her boyfriend woes and overstimulated sleeping habits have her brain working overtime to figure out just how she fits into her own world as a proud, assertive, confident woman.BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE   at The Theatre Of Note

We go along with her to foreign lands, different time eras... different atmospheres, through her inner mind... to other universes back in time and visit with out-there aliens, who give us their own perspective on the situation, two Cleopatras and an assortment of historical and made-up characters that somehow impart wisdom to our dear Lucy, arming her to face the future with assurance.

It is a journey by a cerebral yet sensitive and caring individual. Things matter to Lucy. She seems to have an original take on everything in life, both with optimism and pessimism, that play with her senses.

Lucy often comes home from work, gets in bed, writes down her random thoughts, eats Cheetos, and falls asleep to dream away reality.

We soon meet up with some very strange robots-gone-berserk that materialize and let us drop in on their discussion. Their attire, silver mylar-like jackets with a hood, identify them enough to make us realize they are aliens from the future that know all about Lucy. She is the One. They meet up with her, and others that represent different moments in history from the past, that assist Lucy in discovering who they really were and what they were really about, making her able to return to reality with new-found knowledge and clarity. BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE   at The Theatre Of Note

Each scene is another adventure, sometimes mad-cap, sometimes bawdy and quite entertaining, along Lucy's wild trip. It is full of energy and uniqueness from start to finish, getting you all caught up in this wacky but enlightening saga. Kirsten Vangsness's natural ability to energize any space that surrounds her, and her innate goodness, is all over this production.

The cast of characters is beyond intriguing, largely because of the playwrights' mixture of research and her creative mind. Theo(dora) a Byzantine Empress from the 6th Century, embodied by Cat Chengery in this production, was the perfect role model to meet up with Lucy. Other influential women who made an appearance were Wu Zetian, a some-say ruthless, one-and-only female Emperor of China. Hiwa Chow Elms plays her perfectly. BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE   at The Theatre Of Note

The name Cleopatra needs no intro, but the title should have included two Cleos; Cleo 1 and Cleo 17. They were different phases of the same person, and delightfully portrayed by Tamara Perry and Jennifer Flack. Tane Kawasaki played Caliphia and Antonina both with very different characterizations. All of the actors were excellent and several played dual roles. Gene Michael Barrera played both Caesar and Zhao with grand aplomb. Joel Scher, as Glock, was absolutely wonderful. The other talented actors include Tony DeCarlo, James Guinn, Justin Okin, Phil Ward and Kathleen O'Grady, as Lucille. BWW Review: CLEO, THEO & WU TAKE ON WOMAN'S DOMINANCE IN THE UNIVERSE   at The Theatre Of Note

I got a kick out of the set, which very creatively utilized the space, Designed by Eli Smith, and the rest of the production team, Stephanie Petagno, Costumes, Queertet, Music, and Matt Richter, Lighting and Sound; each had the most interesting resumes in the program credits. Diversely talented group.

You can catch this original, captivating and enjoyable performance at The THEATRE OF NOTE; 1517 N. CAHUENGA BLVD IN HOLLYWOOD, through Saturday, December 8th.

Photos Courtesy of Karianne Flaathen

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From This Author Valerie-Jean Miller

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