Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Angelos written by Tony Perzow

By Joe Straw

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in you heart or on it’s way
– Frank Sinatra’s Young at Heart

Angelos written by Tony Perzow and directed by R.S. Bailey and presented by the TOP Theater is a wonderful new play at the Studio/Stage in Los Angeles. This is a feel good comedy with lots of laughs and wonderful characters inhabiting the scenery. And throw in a lot of young love and characters who still feel the love and are young at heart.

Angelos is a find! It is an exhilarating one-act play from the opening moment to the very end. Picture watching Cheers, set in a barbershop, throw in a young Hasidic Jew deli delivery boy (think Jerry Lewis), robbing the place, and you have the makings of a play that is a lot of fun!

The play opens with Uncle Moe (Jack Kandel) under a spotlight sitting in a barber’s chair. He instructs you to say “Uncle Moe” when he appears and there’s no questioning it either. Messing with Uncle Moe is a cause not lightly taken. He is a made man in every sense of the word. Favors are granted but expect to repay those favors until you choke on your last breath.

Angelo (William Knight) runs this barbershop establishment.

Today and probably most every day he is cutting Barry’s hair (Tony Perzow) because Barry’s got money and likes to look good and likes it when other people think he looks good.

But let’s not stop with the hair, Barry, (racing form in hand), is getting the full treatment. His nails are nicely manicured by Brocha (Tina Saddington), an Israeli with a huge beehive hairdo that would topple over mere mortals devoid of a strong neck.

And his shoes are being shined by Mirror (Robert Fisher) an old African man from an undisclosed African country. Nobody knows where he came from or why he stayed. And nobody knows what he is saying but everyone understands him. And they love him.

There seems to be one rule with the people who conduct business at Angelos and that is Angelo gets 5% of all transactions conducted in his shop. Opa!

And if I haven’t said this already Angelo is Greek and very opinionated! Wanting what he wants when he wants it! And this includes dressing down Brocha because she is just as opinionated and not right about anything (according to Angelo). It is an inimical relationship for reasons not entirely recognized.

Coming into the barbershop is Jimmy the Book (Stephen J. Schwartz) and Kelly the Scalp (Jerome St. Jerome). Jimmy carries a bag with items for sale most notably lizard skin shoes and other stuff. They sit and play cards while waiting to make a sale and offering their valuable take on life.

Everyone has a unique perspective on life and no one is short on opinions. They’ve all seem to have lost something and are desperately trying to get it back.

Uncle Moe is the only one in control and he just sits in the corner, waiting for the right moment, engrossed in his Maxim magazine, when David (Frank Salinas), a deli delivery boy, comes in to deliver the food first and then to rob the place second. Why? Because, he is in love with a gentile, Maria. And love does strange things to hormonal misguided young men.

At first they do not take this boy seriously until the gun goes off and that’s when things go into high gear.

Everyone in the cast jumps into their character with great satisfaction. Knight as Angelo was absolutely wonderful.

Perzow as Barry was very funny and willing to take control as well as share the stage.

Saddington was marvelous with her beehive hairdo and is very willing to offer a woman’s perspective for the good cause.

Schwartz as Jimmy the Book has a high pitched voice and appears to have stepped out of a Peter Lorrie movie. What fun!

St. Jerome as Kelly the Scalp was fantastic and in the moment from beginning to end. What a wonderful performance from an actor who listens and reacts with the precision of a skilled musician.

Fisher as Mirror was very funny, quite unusual and specific in his tasks. It is a physically demanding role and well done.

Kandel as Uncle Moe and as Abba was a joy to watch.

Salinas as David was also funny and specific in his journey. He reminded me of a young Jerry Lewis, although not as funny! (I think Jerry would laugh at this joke.) Still, Salinas is a remarkable actor and wonderful in this role.

Angelos written by Perzow is etched from his memory of hanging out in a barbershop in Canada in a culturally diverse community. It is wonderfully written with rich characters and if there is anything I would work on is Uncle Moe’s final exit.

Bailey, the director, keeps things moving along nicely. The relationships work well with nicely developed characters and about the best thing I can say about this wonderful ensemble cast is that they all listened and move toward a singular objective.

It’s all about love. Opa!

520 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Reservations: 310-807-4842
Thru July 11, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment