Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Sophisticated Rogue (review)

Spoilers ahoy!

I can with confidence say The Sophisticated Rogue surprised me. One glance at the postcard and an image arose to mind--of a Writer spending some time with a Creation, a character who has come to embody something within her life. Yeah, I thought the writer in question was the lovely blonde to our left.

What I got was more frenzied, a lot funnier, with a much larger cast and a deeper disruption over just what might be real or not.

Please don't imagine for a moment this constitutes a complaint!

What we (the audience) got instead was something not unlike a dream, in which our author Bill (William Norrett--ironically enough our real author, as in the playwright) finds himself arguing with his character the Sophisticated Rogue (Josh T. Ryan) over the latter's over-the-top monologue about how many five year olds he can pummel before they overwhelm him with numbers. It is dark and funny, and we do indeed comprehend why Bill feels a tad uncomfortable in the company of such an uninhibited character. From there we eventually learn that Bills ex-girlfriend Delia (Michelle Snyder) is now suring for custody of the Rogue, given that she helped Bill create him. That Delia actually represents fictional characters for a living gives a pretty good hint about the world of this play.

In fact, I'm didn't walk away certain this play was even set in a world (for the most part) but may in a rambling waking dream on the part of Bill! After awhile all things seemed to be one metaphor piled onto another, up to and including a Professor (Alex Bartley) interviewing the women in Bill's life, treating his day to day existence as a work of art in and of itself. Hence Olivia Power is University Period, Alisa Vilena Gerstein his High School Period, Lauren Velasco his Blue Period, etc.  Eventually we even meet the actor (Michael Blomgren) who gets to play the Rogue on stage. Likewise Christa Davis ends up playing a variety of characters include a Critic.

The thing that saddens me is that only two performances of this wacky, gentle mind-f***k remain.  Because I'm sure a lot of folks could get something genuinely fun and weird and entertaining as well as thought-provoking out of this show.

Honestly, how often can you say that?

The Sophisticated Rogue plays Saturdays at 8:30pm unil December 19, 2015 at Zombie Joes Underground Theatre 4850 Lankershim (just south of the NoHo Sign), North Hollywood CA 91601. Tickets are $15 and available here.

No comments: