ensemble theatre · fermented apples · Ages 17+ · United States

world premiere
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June 18, 2014 original article

My overall impression

CAN’T TAKE MY (EYES) OFF OF YOU By Fiona Lakeland * ½

This is a play told in flashbacks, about a cute but wimpy guy, Stephan (Jeff Bowman), caught between two beautiful women. There’s Katherine (Melanie Alexander), a zaftig blonde with a gorgeous head of hair and a pleasant disposition, who has been his long time, platonic bosom buddy. His new love interest is Holly, (playwright Fiona Lakeland), a stunning, tall brunette who is moody, petulant, but exciting. It’s fun to listen to them bicker, even before the scheduled nuptials, like an old married couple that’s been getting on each other’s nerves for decades. The rest of the dialogue consists of a lot of small talk, the ending is unresolved and the story as redundant as the second “of” in the title.

On a positive note, it’s interesting to see the actual author perform her own work in a world premiere, a rare treat. The minimal set (by the talented cast) is cleverly utilized and shifted by them; costume changes are in full view of the audience. The action keeps flowing smoother than extra virgin olive oil, thanks to Director Adrian LaTourelle. One request: In the opening scene, please ask Ms. Alexander to raise her voice past a whisper, which was almost drowned out by the hum of the air conditioner.

Theatre of Note,1517 North Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood 90028. Performance dates: June 21st, 10 pm; 24th. 8 pm; 25th 10 pm and 28th 10 pm. $10. 65 minutes, no intermission. Parking in adjoining lot $4. (323) 455-4585 or Ends 6/28

Pre-Performance Dining Suggestion: Just a couple of doors from Theatre of Note, is a Thai restaurant called CHAN DARAE, not to be confused with the well known Chan Dara chain. A smallish room on the plain side, however, the art is in the kitchen. If you love Thai food, and who doesn’t, you’ll appreciate its high standards of robust fare and exceptional service. Wine, from $5 per glass. Starters from $6 to $10, which we never seem to order so as to save our appetites for the kaleidoscope of flavors in the main attractions. The array of taste sensations that cross your palate is simply amazing. Not to dis Italian food but, by comparison, doesn’t it seem like everything is either loaded with tomatoes or sautéed with white wine and garlic? Here, you can savor seafood with chili and basil, a veritable ocean of shrimp, scallops and calamari rings in a tongue-tickling, spicy sauce, excellent at
$18. Red curry in an industrial-size bowl, is pungent and perfect, with your choice of chicken, vegetables, tofu, beef or pork (our pick), is also chockfull of bell pepper strips, bamboo shoots, fresh basil leaves and more, $11. No Thai dinner is complete without our favorite glass noodle dish, pad woon sen, with choice of meat as above, from $11 to $14 (for shrimp and scallops). It’s enriched with bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, bits of egg and more. Not as sweet as pad thai and a must have, even though entrees come with complimentary jasmine or brown, rice. Use that to put out the burn of an unexpected bite of hot and spicy. Your call: from (1) mild to (4) alert the brigade. This is a walking close, one stop evening’s entertainment.

Chan Darae, 1511 North Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood 90028. Beer and wine. Open daily. Valet parking $3.50. (323) 464-8585.


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