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Orson Welles & Scatman Crothers in 'A Hollywood Ending'

ensemble theatre · pachyderm productions · Ages 14+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by TIM POWELL

June 08, 2015

My overall impression

David Castro does it again! Castro certainly knows how to write!
In A Hollywood Ending, in 1985, two Hollywood legends from opposite ends of the spectrum meet in a common experience most actors will recognize: the audition waiting room, and compare life notes from their own perspectives. Sounds intriguing to begin with, right? – But Rob Locke as Orson Welles and Dennis Neal as Scatman Crothers (with an “o”, not a “u”) kicked into overdrive in their preview performance – exponentially inhabiting their characters in a way that could only be explained irrationally as “channeling.”
Having seen a couple of rehearsals and a tech-through, I knew this show was good, but once it was in front of a packed house on Sunday it blew up so big that “Amazing” doesn’t even come close to describing it! Dennis Neal’s slow build into Scatman’s persona is pure magic. As the show progresses Dennis Neal ceases to exist, and all we see is a whole 3-D Scatman, a man who navigated the racist south and exclusivity of Hollywood for over 40 years to become “that guy” “what’s his name” that everyone recognizes, and is satisfied by his place in history and craft. Its only in conversation that we see Scatman’s ire surface when he butts heads with the fading star that was Orson Welles. And Dennis Neal: who knew he could sing that well? And do all those voices?? Damn!
As for Rob Locke, a Hollywood resident Guest Star transplant from London who bears a striking resemblance to his Character physically and vocally, the legendary creator and boy-genius Orson Welles, mastermind of Citizen Kane – I’ve seen Rob work a crowd before, but this may be among his most masterful work! Rob slips inside of Orson Welles like donning an Armani Tuxedo. The arrogance, the nuance, the magic, the surprising vulnerability of his Welles is a marvel to behold. Rob’s performance reminds us of why we love acting. Why we do what we do.
David Castro’s brief insight into the world of these two larger than life geniuses is well worth the price and the time. A trip through post-war Hollywood. It may be just “two old men sitting around talking” – but its so much more. MUST SEE. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

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