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Michelle Pond


The Real Inspector Hound & 15 Minute Hamlet

Someone has been terribly clever. That’s what you’ll think moments after the show begins. The Real Inspector Hound, a farce written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Steve Hill, asserts that fiction is make believe and anything goes. There’s a double-meaning to most parts, like a drawing which is both a representation of a real thing as well as a pattern on the page.

The Marriage of Bette & Boo at the Masquers

This is the stuff of which nightmares are made: bad memories and worse imaginings from childhood, pretending to be funny. The Marriage of Bette and Boo is directed by DC Scarpelli and Peter Budinger. Written by Christopher Durang, the show draws close parallels to his own troubled youth. For many, parts of the story are all too true—an upbringing immersed in Catholicism, eccentric relatives, and friends with crazy families.

The Apple Tree at the Masquers

Feeling at loose ends? Don’t know what to have for dinner? The Apple Tree might solve your itch—it’s three, seemingly unconnected plays in one. Continuity occurs because the same actors play throughout, time travels from long ago to the present, and the stories are about love and innocence. The publicity flyers for the show differ, stating that these plays are about getting what you want and discovering what you really wanted afterward. You’ll have to decide who's right.

Music and lyrics of The Apple Tree were written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The first play was based on the writings of Mark Twain, the second a short story by Frank R. Stockton and the third a story by Jules Feiffer. In the Masquers performances, Robert Love directs, with music direction by Pat King. Music is ably performed by Pat herself, Ted Bigornia, Jo Lusk, Jim Ware and Barbara Kohler. The show plays until May 1.

The first play is The Diary of Adam and Eve, a sweet comedy, especially for those with a Judeo-Christian background—particularly since it answers so many questions. (Photos by Jerry Telfer).

Rocky Horror Show at the Masquers

I was a virgin until that night. Assistant Director Michelle Pond told me that’s the label for someone who’s never seen Rocky Horror Show. As always, virgins are rare. For 30+ years, Rocky Horror, written by Richard O'Brien, has drawn a huge cult following; Director G. A. Klein has seen the production upwards of 500 times.

G. A. Klein directs a big show: Rocky Horror has lots of glitter, a copious cast and sweeping, grand music.

Absent Friends at the Masquers

Awkward, what? A few delicate difficulties exacerbate a rare gathering of old friends in Absent Friends, written by Alan Ayckbourn and directed by Angela Mason. The situation is ripe for the kind of tragic comedy for which British playwrights, especially Ayckbourn, are well known.

Angel Street at the Masquers

Who would’ve thunk it? A genuine thriller full of nail biting suspense on our very doorstep. Angel Street, a Victorian thriller written by Patrick Hamilton, was performed first as Gaslight in 1938 in Richmond (London), England; in 1942 by Vincent Price on Broadway; and, on its 70th anniversary, by the Masquers in Point Richmond, California, which is directed by Patricia Inabnet.

This is a play for breaking rules.

Little Mary Sunshine at the Masquers

Little Mary Sunshine looks like a tribute to musical entertainment from the past, starting with a pretty damsel lighting the gas footlights which illuminate the stage. This was a time before television, perhaps even before radio, when men were men, ladies were girls, good and bad were easily distinguished, and virtue always triumphed—a time when the hero went off to save the world (or at least Colorado) leaving the heroine behind. Problems arose, trouble ensued, but it all came right in the end.

I’m not absolutely certain of author Rick Besoyan’s intent, but I can tell you the outcome when the wise old hands of Director Robert Love and his crew were done with it.

Company at the Masquers

I cheated, just so you know. All reviews I have ever read were based on attending one performance. This time I interviewed 11 people, some more than once, went to several auditions and rehearsals, and attended Opening Night.

Company, directed by Gregg A. Klein, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, is playing at the Masquers Theatre ending Dec 16th. See www.masquers.org.

Ruthless! at the Masquers

Why on earth I was ever nominated to write theatre reviews is beyond me. I have never liked slapstick humour. Having seen the promo pictures of Ruthless!, I was ready to be irritated at the entire production, but I sat to watch the play regardless. Ruthless! written by Joal Paley with music by Marvin Laird, is directed by Tammara Plankers.

Yes, the story line is appalling; but once you’ve accepted its premise, the plot and characters thereafter steadily improve. It ceases to take patience to watch the stage. You will laugh. It becomes a very funny play. Moreover, the singing is out of this world. Breathtaking. If you like to hear people sing, and sing well, get tickets.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown at the Masquers

Unlike Kyle Johnson (who plays Charlie Brown), I have always thought of Charlie Brown as a rather pathetic character. Yet (much to my surprise), I felt warmly towards Charlie early in the show.