Theatre Mirror Reviews"California Schemin'"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"California Schemin' "

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity at the Granite Theatre's current show is "California Schemin' '' by Ron House. Roger Gallais, a small time hustler, is in a desperate fight to save his office from demolition. He needs $1500 in 24 hours or his estranged wife Lola, an illegal alien, and her new boyfriend Nobby Carlyle, a fugitive from British justice, will take possession of the property, turn it into a mini mall and make a million bucks. Roger and his sole employee, Jules, are at the end of their rope, when Wanda Harrington appears on the scene. She has just inherited the family oil fortune and is in Los Angeles to find her long lost lover, Henry, who she hasn't seen or heard from in 25 years. Roger reinvents himself and becomes a private detective specializing in missing persons cases and guarantees he will find Henry in one hour. Many comic situations pop up including one involving Harvey Martin, the "Gay Activist" who is running for mayor of West Hollywood. Ian Ramsden debuts as a director for this show and casts seven fantastic performers in each and every role. He shows a keen eye for comic moments and has his cast do some clever sthick in the show. Their reward is a resounding round of applause from the cheering crowd.

Ian's debut as a director is terrific as he blocks the show beautifully and supplies a multitude of farcical situations. He makes each character different from the other so you can easily identify them. Ian opens the show with a flushing toilet which gets the laughter rolling all night long. David Jepson designed the set for this show. Production manager Tai Schavetta keeps things running smoothly while running lights and sound execution perfectly. She always does a topnotch job and this is another feather in her cap. Grace Rezendes is the stage manager handling the props and moving set pieces in the filing cabinet. These have to be seen to be believed. Leading the cast as Roger is Brian Olsen. He is the master of disguise in this show, appearing as a water delivery man, a detective and a Chico Marx look alike doctor. He and John make a great pair of the two stooges in this farce. John Cillino is a hoot as Jules who invented the transcabator which is a high tech sci-fi piece of equipment that melds people's minds ala Star Trek. John disguises include a mime complete with white face which left me laughing out loud at his antics. He passes out pretending to be dead and gets punched back to life which is hysterical, too. Great work from this comic duo.

Diana Blanda plays the Latin bombshell who runs roughshod over all the men in this show. She gives a show stopping performance as Lola Montezuma complete with Spanish accent. Lola plots and schemes to take the house away from Roger, enlisting the help of dimbulb, Brit, Nobby. Diana swears up a storm in Spanish and interacts beautifully with the whole cast. Greg Blivens is very funny as the sinister but stupid Englishman who does a fractured Spanish accent that is hilarious. He keeps trying to blow up the place. Danielle Aube plays the secretary, Shelly Levine and sounds just like Fran Drescher from "The Nanny. Danielle is a gorgeous blonde who is extremely humorous in this role. I first reviewed her in "It Runs in the Family" back in 2008. Shelly is not only a secretary but a stand up comic, too.Christine Reynolds plays the Southern belle, Wanda who is searching for her long lost love but finds love anyway. She is terrific as this dimwit who the two guys try to bilk out of her money by pretending to find her long lost high school love. The Gay Activist who enters on roller skates while singing "Camelot" is well played by John Lamar. He is a hoot. This is one of the best written farces I have seen in quite a while. So for a laugh out loud new comedy, be sure to catch "California Schemin' " before time runs out. It is one of the must see shows of this summer season. Tell them Tony sent you.

"California Schemin' " (22 June - 22 July)
RENAISSENANCE CITY THEATRE INC.
@ Granite Theatre, 1 Granite Street, WESTERLY RI
1(401)596-2341

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