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Review: THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB at Pacific Resident Theatre

The sexy, fun, brilliant world premiere comedy plays through July 7th.

By: Jun. 12, 2024
Review: THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB at Pacific Resident Theatre  Image
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The Spy Who Went Into Rehab is a cheeky, high-spirited, brilliant new world premiere comedy at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice.  This sexy, adventurous romp follows a simple and hilarious premise — what would happen if James Bond were court-ordered to rehab?

Gloriously irreverent, and often, surprisingly endearing and touching, The Spy Who Went Into Rehab is so much fun.   There were non-stop roars and convulsions of hysterical laughter and spontaneous applause from the sold-out, packed audience on opening night.   

Review: THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB at Pacific Resident Theatre  Image
Stuart W. Howard and Zsa Zsa Galore

The Spy Who Went Into Rehab triumphs on many levels.  It is an outrageous, SNL style, sexy spoof.  A loving homage to 007 and classic spy films and shows. An irreverent comedy about the language endemic to therapy, recovery groups, workplace workshops, and the artist formerly known as Twitter.

It is also a feminist critique of playboy culture.  A thoughtful exploration of addiction and recovery.  A nuanced meditation on modern masculinity.  On a human level, there is a sweet, poignant story of healing and second chances, with a protagonist who, in spite of being a James Bond super spy, ends up being relatable and endearing.

This is all a credit to the inventive, imaginative, brilliant writing by playwright Gregg Ostrin.  And thanks to the undoubtedly superb, exciting direction from Cyndy Fujikawa, who mines great tonal richness in this material, and also is a truly fantastic “Z” (this production’s M) as well.

Review: THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB at Pacific Resident Theatre  Image
Satiar Pourvasei

To say too much about the play would be to spoil the delightful, wacky, wild twists and turns of the plot. I can safely share that there is a glorious Bond style theme song, written by Gregg Ostrin and sung gorgeously by Ava King.

Stuart W. Howard stands out in the excellent cast for his genius dual work as the vulnerable, lovable man in recovery, Gary, and the hilarious supervillain Lazarus Rex.  I almost fell out of my chair, I was laughing so hard at Lazarus Rex moving the twitching tail of his stuffed cat.  Stuart W. Howard is a complete treasure.

I loved a very quiet scene in rehab between the brilliant Alondra Andrade as Pixie and Satiar Pourvasei as the James Bond avatar Simon Cross, it was so poignant and beautifully simple.

Review: THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB at Pacific Resident Theatre  Image
Rachel Townsend, Jill Renner, Satiar Pourvasei,
Stuart W. Howard, and Alondra Andrade

Rachel Townsend is likewise utterly enthralling, hilarious, bone-deep truthful and sexy as Yvonne, in rehab for coke and sex addiction, and does thrilling work in her other surprise-twist incarnation.  Townsend also created the delicious, thrilling, slinky choreography.

To the iconic lead role, Satiar Pourvasei brings plummy rich delightful accent work, oodles of charm, and an impressive tonal range from debonair and irritatingly cocky to introspective and tender to wild and balls-out goofy.

The Spy Who Went Into Rehab is a total must-see delight.  You do not want to miss this one.

In March, I was blown away by another exquisite gem here at Pacific Resident Theatre, The Bespoke Overcoat.  Marvelously, The Bespoke Overcoat is still running, if you have not had a chance to see it yet. I am blown away by the extraordinary range of productions here, from haunting, lovely magical realism and profound humanism to this uproariously hilarious, sexy 007 romp.  

Pacific Resident Theatre is a cultural powerhouse and a gift to Los Angeles, and it is always a pleasure to celebrate it.

Photos by Phil Cass

The Spy Who Went Into Rehab runs through July 7th at Pacific Resident Theatre.  Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291.  Pacific Resident Theatre has some free parking in lots behind the theatre and free street parking nearby.  You can get tickets by calling (310) 822-8392 or clicking on the button below:


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