Theater Review: The Curious Savage

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Blog
Theater Review The Curious Savage, Ericka Zepeda, North Hollywood Mirror Theater

Ericka Zepeda and cast, post performance at The Mirror Theater

This NOHO’s Theater Review The Curious Savage came to light only recently, so we’re posting it now!

 

Theatre Review The Curious Savage

Written by

Playwright, John Patrick wrote this play about a character named Ethel P. Savage who is a woman whose husband recently died and left her approximately ten million dollars. Guess what her sweet, (not) lovable children want?  Originally produced in New York at the Martin Beck Theatre, “The Curious Savage” opened in October of 1950 and starred the legendary Lillian Gish in the role of Ethel.

The Mirror Theatre in North Hollywood has a colorful production of this play which was directed by Julie Raelyn.  It has some quirky, energetic and some very spot-on performances of people in a special home with very special “issues’ of their own. It is a place where their reality as the patients is a little different from the real world that exist around them. There are many moments that are filled with humor and unique character types. The ugly head of money and greed come shining through and you get to see the true colors of  one particular family and the ulterior motives when an inheritance turns up missing.

Much applause and respect for actress, Laura E. Rosas for playing the lead Ethel P. Savage.  Laura had an amazing characterization of a woman with many ulterior motives. Considering, she received the script the night before at 5pm and was still reading from the pages, she made the character trait of reading from her “book” part of the Ethel’s actions. Although pausing to catch up and read from time to time, she made the transition and actions seem natural. This was due to the original lead actress having an accident that would not allow her to open the show this particular weekend. Kudos to Laura for doing a really fine job with less than 12 hours’ time to learn and rehearse! A rare theatre treat – when it works, and it worked.

Now watching Alaina Whitney play the hyper active, often hysterically funny and money obsessed daughter, Lilly Belle was a pure delight. Alaina gave the role so much spitefulness that you just want to go up and slap her around a little bit to get her in line…not to mention her reactions which make you laugh out loud.

On the sympathetic and honest side of performances, Ericka Zepeda does an amazing job of empathy toward Ethel playing Miss Willie, the resident nurse. Ericka plays understanding and concern with real feeling and emotional charm and you understand by the end of the play why she does what she does.

Giving a wildly energetic and fresh performance of a girl with obvious reality and over-excitement issues is Poonam Basu-Rushton playing Fairy May. Poonam gives her character a very broad performance that is not only colorful, but as you realize what she wants is sincere truth that is tied to her past.  A bit confused and often way out there, she will definitely make you laugh.

Nicholas Anthony Reid and Mark McKeown play two other “inmates” at this facility, Jeffrey and Hannibal. Nicholas shows his own personal scars of emotion and pain in terms of his low self-esteem issues while Mark is a little more than obsessive with facts and figures that make the other characters a little more than agitated.

Brothers will be brothers and Jason Hamilton plays the more timid and oppressed younger brother Samuel with much fear and nervousness as Grafton Doyle plays the senator Titus (and older brother to Samuel) and does this with a lot less politeness and more negative energy regarding their wanting need for the ‘missing money’ (inheritance).

Now throw in a somewhat over confident doctor played by Carlos J. Echevarria and 2 other patients like Kate Kennedy who plays Florence a woman who misses her son just a little more than her reality will allow her to understand.  As a woman who hates everything,  Mrs. Paddy, Eugenia Care does a good job of rattling off lists over and over on everything she actually hates with a little more than gusto.

Over all the play has some good scenes where the crazy children of Ethel are literally driving each other crazy in their obsession and some really nice heartfelt moments between the nurse and the more enlightened ‘mentally challenged’ patients that inhabit this special home/facility. It has some basic commentary on greed and makes it very clear that most of the time that family is never all they really’ say’ they are. In reality, most of the time, we all know exactly what we are doing and why. Check them out at themirrortheater.com.

To see the original Theater Review The Curious Savage, visit NOHO.