Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: NICE THINGS Very Nice!

Nice Things/by Vince Melocchi/directed by Elina de Santos/Rogue Machine (in Theatre/Theater)/thru November 23, 2014

The world premiere of Vince Melocchi's Nice Things receives a solid mounting with all creative elements perfectly in place. A strong, nicely-matched cast of four playing well opposite, and with, each other; firmly directed at a steady clip by Elina de Santos; and presented with top-notch production elements make Nice Things a very nice 85 minutes of entertainment.

Nice Things begins with the first encounter of Justin and Amy at the funeral of Afghanistan vet Danny, the old school chum of Justin and the fiancée of Amy. Justin has long left their home town of Dunsmore, PA for a reporting career at a radio station. Amy had big plans for her future with Danny while working her shifts at the local donut shop.

Amy's need to blame someone, anyone for Danny's death, has her lashing out at military recruiter Staff Sergeant Bobbi Jo Gunning. Amy elicits Justin's help in trapping Gunning in her seemingly lying methods of recruiting. Gunning had promised Danny would never be sent to Afghanistan.

Although Gunning refuses to help Amy in collecting Danny's death benefits, Gunning feels somewhat at fault or responsible for this particular recruit. Gunning's rationalization for her culpability finally gets revealed to her lover Sandy in a post-abuse apology.

Actual reasons for Amy's plotting and Gunning's guilty responsibilities and physical abuse get satisfactorily explained by curtain.

This talented, convincing cast consist of Michael Hanson as upright, wanna- do-right Justin; Conner Kelly-Eiding as the grieving, blaming-everyone-but-herself Amy; Rebekah Tripp as the rigid, traumatized Gunning; and Melanie Lyons as Gunning's loving, but battered girlfriend Sandy.

Props to scenic designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz and video designer Nicholas Santiago for facilitating the smooth scene transitions with their combination of efficient, effective moveable panels on sliders with various video projections on each to depict the various set locations (recruitment office, mall hallways, doughnut shop, funeral home, respective dwellings of Gunning and Amy).

A last pro and con -

Pro: The instant black eye make-up application by Lyons after Tripp hits her. Nice!

Con: the cuffs of Hanson's ill-fitting dress shirt hanging/dragging out of his suit sleeves. Why?

Community Play Readings Return to L.A. Libraries Photo
Through Center Theatre Group’s Education and Community Partnerships’ Community Play Readings, Boyle Heights libraries will be the first to experience new works from three local playwrights in March and May.

Company Of Angels, Angel City Improv To Reopen Theater With WELCOME TO THE VANTAGE POINT Photo
After closing their doors to the public at the beginning of the covid pandemic in 2020, Company of Angels (CoA) has announced that they are reopening with their first mainstage production in 3 years, 'Welcome to the Vantage Point,' an improvised family-friendly comedy show.

Laguna Art Museum Awarded California Cultural and Historical Endowment Grant Photo
Laguna Art Museum has been awarded the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Museum Grant in the amount of $178,288 from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) in support of the museum’s Create Access Program, which provides free educational student tours and hands-on art classes that build history studies, language arts and art skills for K - 12 Title 1 Students in Orange County, CA.

Photos: First Look at MENSTRUATION: A PERIOD PIECE at Big Little Theater Company Photo
Big Little Theater Company in association with the Los Angeles LGBT Center with support from We the Women present the world premiere production of Menstruation: A Period Piece by Miranda Rose Hall. Check out photos here!

From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in... (read more about this author)

Interview: Ed F. Martin Leaving His Indelible Mark With His KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMANInterview: Ed F. Martin Leaving His Indelible Mark With His KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN
March 21, 2023

Next up at A Noise Within, Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman beginning April 1, 2023 (with previews starting March 26th). Michael Michetti directs this classic two-hander with Adrián González and Ed F. Martin. Ed, a familiar face on the Los Angeles stages, managed to squeeze out some time between rehearsals to answer a few of my queries.  

Interview: Alli Miller-Fisher Is Most Definitely Not Clueless in CLUE-LESQUEInterview: Alli Miller-Fisher Is Most Definitely Not Clueless in CLUE-LESQUE
March 17, 2023

Cherry Poppins latest show Clue-lesque has taken up residence at Tranny Tramp Granny’s through April 26, 2023. This burlesque musical parody of the cult-favorite ‘80s Clue is powered by the cast of Lauren Avon, Heath Butler, E.K. Dagenfield, Kim Dalton, Shanera Denae’, Kristyn Evelyn, Everjohn Feliciano, Bianca Gisselle, Brin Hamblin, Emma Hunton, Carly Jibson, Janaya Mahealani Jones, Meredith Lim, Alli Miller-Fisher, Matthew Scott Montgomery, Camel Pugh, Cory Robison, Michael Shaw Fisher and Sarah Wines. The very busy performer/ director/ writer/ choreographer/ producer Alli managed to take a breather to answer a few of my queries.

Interview: April Stewart Sending LOVE LETTERS To Her Reunited FriendsInterview: April Stewart Sending LOVE LETTERS To Her Reunited Friends
March 11, 2023

A.R. Gurney’s classic Love Letters plays for one weekend at the Theatre 68 Arts Complex beginning March 31, 2023. Wendy-Marie Martin directs this two-hander with Courtney R. Hall and April Stewart.  The multitasking April managed to find some time between her voiceover gig, raising her daughter and volunteering for NAMI to answer a few of my queries.

Interview: Larry Eisenberg Directs Not ONLY A PLAY, But All That It EncompassesInterview: Larry Eisenberg Directs Not ONLY A PLAY, But All That It Encompasses
March 9, 2023

Up next for Theatre 40’s current season, Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play opening March 23, 2023. Larry Eisenberg directs the cast of Todd Andrew Ball, Peter Bussian, Fox Carney, Joe Clabby, Cheryl David, Mouchette van Helsdingen and Jeffrey Winner. Larry was most gracious in carving out time to give serious thoughts to answering my queries.

Interview: Rosie Narasaki Is UNRIVALED In Continuing Her Family TraditionInterview: Rosie Narasaki Is UNRIVALED In Continuing Her Family Tradition
March 7, 2023

Boston Court world premieres Rosie Narasaki’s Unrivaled beginning March 16, 2023. Boston Court Associate Artistic Director Margaret Shigeko Starbuck directs this co-production with Playwrights’ Arena featuring: David Huynh, Katie Kitani, Cindy Nguyen and Chelsea Yakura-Kurtz. Rosie was most gracious in answering a few of my queries.