FLASH TO THEATREFANS: The annual HOLLYWOODFRINGEFESTIVAL, a wild and crazy collection of the performing arts, is being staged in about thirty venues throughout Hollywood, between Western and Gardner east to west, Franklin and Melrose north to south, from June 12th to the 29th. It’s a community event that’s open and uncensored, diverse and exciting, offering exposure to (mostly) talented performers to strut their stuff. For the complete scoop, schedules and information, log on to HFF14.org or call (323) 455-4585. See you there!
THINGSBEINGWHATTHEYARE By Wendy MacCleod * * *
The Hollywood Fringe Festival shoots out of the gate with a spectacular start, with this delicious comedy about two neighbors of diametrically opposed personalities, whom fate has brought together at a point in their lives where finding a friend is like a life raft to a drowning man. Bill (Cameron Jappe), has just moved into a new condo, presently bare, while awaiting the arrival of his lovely actress wife, Adele (Laura Buckles), when Jack (Chet Grissom) from next door, drops in. I should say, settles in, he’s never in a hurry to leave. Being divorced and lonesome, his neediness grates on Bill, who’d rather be on his own. He’s too well mannered to actually throw him out and reluctantly offers him one of many beers and conversation. And, we bless him for his hospitality. These two guys are immensely simpatico; one is a sensitive gentleman of good character, sincerely in love with his wife, regretfully childless and concerned about his spouse’s suspected infidelity. Jack, on the other hand, is earthy, a bit crude, a former philandering husband and absentee father but so amiable and funny, we’d love to have an acquaintance just like Jack, to keep us amused. In the course of the story, full of humor and heart, they have to deal with serious setbacks not merely of a temporary nature and you will savor every moment of their bumpy way to becoming brewsky-buddies.
According to his program bio, Director Darin Anthony specializes in emotionally resonant performances and that’s what he got. Both men are superb in their characterizations. If Bitter Lemons gave a BLIP Award (Best Individual Performance), they’d have to share it. Another remarkable fact is, that the playwright is a woman who captures every nuance of the bonding male idiom so authentically, one suspects she hid in a man cave, wearing a wire. She’s a graduate of Yale School of Drama, currently in residence at Kenyon College and a serious candidate for Bitter Lemon’s BLIFF Award ( Bitter Lemons Irreverent Femmes Award) We look forward to seeing some of MacCleod’s other plays but you’ll never squeeze a sweeter lemon than this one.
Dorie Theatre at The Complex, 6478 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90038. $15. Performance dates in June: 14th at 2:30 pm; 19th at 9 pm; on the 22nd at 7:15pm; on the 26th at 8 pm and on the 29th at 4 pm. Tight street parking. (323) 455-4585 or www.http://hff14.org 1766 ends 6/29
Pre-Performance Dining Suggestion: Nobody should attend the theatre on an empty stomach. The growling noises might disturb you neighbors, so treat yourself to a fantastic meal at LITTLEFORK, which is about a ten minute drive from the Complex and well worth it. It has a sleek, contemporary interior in shades of dove grey and an inviting, secluded, covered patio, miraculously isolated from the honking and other traffic noises. The wine list is minuscule, per glass from $10 but there are plenty of sipping opportunities in the cocktail department. Jason Travi, who first made his mark at Culver City’s Comme Ça, now co-owns this place. The menu is full of surprising delicacies, nary a déjà vu L.A. standard and the service is outstanding. Awaiting at table is a jar of pickled squashes and orange slices, most unusual but very good and reminiscent of mustard pickles, still crisp. Ever heard of poutiness? These are Canadian dishes, with French fries, such as cauliflower with curry gravy and mozzarella curds $11, salads like kale, Lyonnaise style, from $11 to$14 or, if you crave sterner stuff, house smoked brisket, trout and sturgeon $11 to $14 or skate (bone-in) for $19. Must haves are sunchokes, a.k.a. Jerusalem artichokes, which they slice, skin on (who knew the skin is edible?) and roast to a golden turn. We should all be so firm! On the plate are raw, shaved ‘chokes, sprinkled with flat-leaf parsley and a dip of Green Goddess dressing, truly heavenly. We passed on the candied lemons, $9. Their steak tartare comes hand chopped, a la tuna poke, beautifully seasoned, with a tiny pitcher of bacon Hollandaise and crostini. Our good waiter brought a few extra slices. Since portions are small and $9 and $14 aren’t budget breakers, you should splurge on desert (to share). They have buttermilk pie, which sounded intriguing but we succumbed to a chocolate pot de crème with Chantilly (flavored whipped cream), pure caloric silk, which disappeared faster than you can say “this last bite is mine!” $8.
Littlefork, 1600 Wilcox Avenue at Selma, Hollywood 90028. Fullbar. Valet parking with validation $6, $10 on weekends or in public lot a few steps north. (323) 465-3675