Audience: Brian Tichnell
Last week I had the true pleasure of experiencing Padua Playwrights audaciously steamroll through the Los Angeles Shakespeare Center with a sound and fury that any idiot would be proud of. Absolutely one of the most fun times I've had at the theatre, Double Double ingeniously mashes up two of the most infamous tales of murderous collusion born of passionate ambition, Double Indemnity and Macbeth. The production takes no prisoners, wickedly trolling both Los Angeles and Shakespeare in their own Center, as well as the medium of experimental theatre itself (the beginning of the play starts with an over long, over serious, over dreary, over drawn out sequence, provoking a collective "oh god, we have to watch this avant garde shit for an hour", only to dazzle us soon after.) And while all the dancing and king-killing may seem to signify nothing, Guy Zimmerman's play offers macabre relevance, relating manifest destiny from England (Macbeth) to Los Angeles (Double Indemnity) as the cultivation of a culture of "would-be Kings", destroying whatever lay in the path ahead, be it nature or fellow man, in order to feed our own fleeting ambitions. Dark stuff from Guy; vicious and terse. Enter our fabulous director Juli Crockett to sprinkle some joy and silliness into the violence pot. The show is segmented into vignettes of ecstasy and irreverence that keeps the audience on its toes, wondering what was just witnessed, laughing all the while, only to piece the puzzle together during the uber ride home. The cast as a whole deliver with vigorous precision and seductive focus. The hyper-skilled Shaughn Bucholtz is magnificent as the crippled, adulterous, alcoholic, toe-tapping, MC'ing Macbeth. His three accompanying Barbara Stanwyck-Witches take him through a perilous fever dream of song and dance, choreographed by the brilliant and prolific Jessica Emmanuel. Jenny Greer brings centered focus to the coven with alluring depth in every move she makes. Henita Telo's stellar talent is undeniable as she eats the audience alive with her eyes. And Isabella Boose is a treasure to behold, a hilarious, giggly sprite with a glint in her eyes that says, "isn't all this theatre shit silly." The ensemble performs the piece with confidence and cojones. The Petal Soundsations would be proud. Bri Patillo's lighting design makes the whole affair look beautiful and 'seem' legitimate. 😉 Michael Feldman's incredible live scoring is the glorious glue that holds the chaos together. This was a show to see. And must be shown again.