Steambath

Critics

LemonMeter

64 %

Reviews: 14

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

What if God turned out to be a Puerto Rican steam bath attendant, assisted by a butler named Gottlieb? Renowned stand up comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez stars in a revival of Steambath, the 1970 off Broadway hit comedy by Bruce Jay Friedman that also became a PBS television special. Friedman's razor-sharp comedy remains as outrageous and politically incorrect as when it first electrified off-Broadway audiences nearly 50 years ago. Recommended for mature audiences — mild adult themes and partial nudity. Oct. 20 – Dec. 16: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with 3 additional weeknight performances on Thurs., Nov. 8; Wed., Nov. 28; and Wed., Dec. 5; all at 8 p.m. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025; The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Reviews

Avatar

Although the show is dated and politically incorrect, it is also very very funny and well worth seeing.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - CA Highways - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

(Paul) Rodriguez dominates the proceedings as God really should do. His comic timing is perfectly matched to Friedman's surreal humor. Don't miss this opportunity to see this time capsule gem of a comedy to offend everyone. Visit Steambath, breathe in the steam and luxuriate in the totally un-PC but outrageously funny humor.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Debuting the year after Sossi founded the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the company's latest offering has not aged nearly as well as the soon-to-be fifty-year-old West Los Angeles treasure. Despite sporadic chuckles, Steambath should have been left on the shelf.

sour - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Avatar

For a hysterical, tongue-in-cheek evening at the theater, STEAMBATH fills the bill.

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Avatar

Dry and effectively offhand, Rodriguez anchors the show with a bracing naturalism that underscores its surreal aspects.

sweet - Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

How we act in the face of death is what Steambath is all about. Could we have postponed our demise had we been a better person? What have we done in life to deserve such an ignominious end? These are the questions the playwright raises in his offbeat, irreverent play, but the way he goes about answering them, with shtick replacing story, is unsatisfactory and disappointing. Hats off, though, to the hard-working and talented cast, and to director Ron Sossi for his inventive staging.

sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

There are some scattered laughs here but it was probably funnier and more provocative the first time around, some five decades ago. Paul Rodriguez is one of my favorite stand-up comedians but seems a little out of his element as the Deity. Anthony Rutowicz has a bit as a longshoreman and Shay Denison dances in and out of a scene in Act II so swiftly – blink and you'll miss her. Gary Guidinger's set is fabulous and so realistic that when you walk in, you feel like doffing your clothes and grabbing a towel. Sound and lighting are in the capable hands of Christopher Moscatiello and Chu-Hsuan Chang, respectively. I have to say that some of my older acquaintances have held up better than Steambath. Go and see it for its nostalgic value.

sweet-sour - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

When it was originally presented, Bruce Jay Friedman's brazenly sharp-edged and then considered obscene humor camouflaged his play's rather slim premise that these typically dysfunctional humans continue to obsess about the same petty crap that obsessed them before they Bit the Big One. In this revival, the play's shortcomings are glaringly revealed by the passage of time since it was written and the slings and arrows of our own daily lives as our world spins off to oblivion, something accentuated further by the characters' lack of community. For Steambath to succeed in the era of Trump, #METOO, Samantha Bee, caravans from Guatemala, and the imminent devastation from climate change, it needs something new and fresh and inventive to make it work again. Ron Sossi's skillfully realized production, although certainly reverent to the original, is done in by the world in which we exist today.

sweet-sour - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The cast is excellent, but Steambath has its flaws. It is a piece of popular culture that is frankly dated and the shenanigans in the steam bath, as delightful as they are, seem empty. It is too lightweight to sustain a two-act evening. Still, it is diverting enough to recommend as an unusual theatrical experience.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

The way God is depicted in this play is blasphemous to me and I, personally, did not see the humor in it.

sour - Carol Segal - ...read full review


Avatar

It has been resurrected and under the direction of Ron Sossi is currently on stage at the Odyssey Theatre. Unfortunately, this revival simply does not work.

sour - Beverly Cohn - LA West Media - ...read full review


Avatar

STEAMBATH's political incorrectness may both surprise and amuse you. Measured by our modern sensibilities, the play is at times both racist and misogynistic... You go into STEAMBATH hoping for a few laughs (well, with a comedian in it and all) and, although it is entertaining, the play gives you more food for thought than what you would expect.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

But get past the datedness and you can easily see Friedman's point. In Jewish theology, God knew from the start (well, starting with the apple) that his human creatures were severely flawed. Maybe he purposely made them that way just for fun, to see what would happen. It's up to humanity to improve and perfect the troubled world to restore it to its original Edenic state. Measured against that yardstick, it's no wonder some of these folks got to where we see them now. Meredith (Shelby Lauren Barry) appears reading a book, but mostly what she thinks about is the micro-miniskirt she was just buying at Bloomingdale's and now who's going to pay the bill? Not to sound too unkind, but these folks were mostly just taking up space. I mean, people have the right to take up space, but we all do know people like that, don't we?

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

The amazing thing about this production is that the producers wanted to update this already controversial story, adding up to date, modern dialogue reflecting the crazy, Trumpian times we live in! Yet, happily they still left much of the the original material intact, as Friedman's world is not so different than ours, and cleverly includes ad libs about Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court fiasco, all so germane and powerful.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - ...read full review


Avatar

Although the show is dated and politically incorrect, it is also very very funny and well worth seeing.

sweet - Daniel Faigin - CA Highways - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

(Paul) Rodriguez dominates the proceedings as God really should do. His comic timing is perfectly matched to Friedman's surreal humor. Don't miss this opportunity to see this time capsule gem of a comedy to offend everyone. Visit Steambath, breathe in the steam and luxuriate in the totally un-PC but outrageously funny humor.

sweet - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Debuting the year after Sossi founded the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the company's latest offering has not aged nearly as well as the soon-to-be fifty-year-old West Los Angeles treasure. Despite sporadic chuckles, Steambath should have been left on the shelf.

sour - Steven Stanley - Stage Scene LA - ...read full review


Avatar

For a hysterical, tongue-in-cheek evening at the theater, STEAMBATH fills the bill.

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


Avatar

Dry and effectively offhand, Rodriguez anchors the show with a bracing naturalism that underscores its surreal aspects.

sweet - Kathleen Foley - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

How we act in the face of death is what Steambath is all about. Could we have postponed our demise had we been a better person? What have we done in life to deserve such an ignominious end? These are the questions the playwright raises in his offbeat, irreverent play, but the way he goes about answering them, with shtick replacing story, is unsatisfactory and disappointing. Hats off, though, to the hard-working and talented cast, and to director Ron Sossi for his inventive staging.

sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

There are some scattered laughs here but it was probably funnier and more provocative the first time around, some five decades ago. Paul Rodriguez is one of my favorite stand-up comedians but seems a little out of his element as the Deity. Anthony Rutowicz has a bit as a longshoreman and Shay Denison dances in and out of a scene in Act II so swiftly – blink and you'll miss her. Gary Guidinger's set is fabulous and so realistic that when you walk in, you feel like doffing your clothes and grabbing a towel. Sound and lighting are in the capable hands of Christopher Moscatiello and Chu-Hsuan Chang, respectively. I have to say that some of my older acquaintances have held up better than Steambath. Go and see it for its nostalgic value.

sweet-sour - Ingrid Wilmot - Will Call - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

When it was originally presented, Bruce Jay Friedman's brazenly sharp-edged and then considered obscene humor camouflaged his play's rather slim premise that these typically dysfunctional humans continue to obsess about the same petty crap that obsessed them before they Bit the Big One. In this revival, the play's shortcomings are glaringly revealed by the passage of time since it was written and the slings and arrows of our own daily lives as our world spins off to oblivion, something accentuated further by the characters' lack of community. For Steambath to succeed in the era of Trump, #METOO, Samantha Bee, caravans from Guatemala, and the imminent devastation from climate change, it needs something new and fresh and inventive to make it work again. Ron Sossi's skillfully realized production, although certainly reverent to the original, is done in by the world in which we exist today.

sweet-sour - Travis Michael Holder - TicketHolders LA - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The cast is excellent, but Steambath has its flaws. It is a piece of popular culture that is frankly dated and the shenanigans in the steam bath, as delightful as they are, seem empty. It is too lightweight to sustain a two-act evening. Still, it is diverting enough to recommend as an unusual theatrical experience.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal

The way God is depicted in this play is blasphemous to me and I, personally, did not see the humor in it.

sour - Carol Segal - ...read full review


Avatar

It has been resurrected and under the direction of Ron Sossi is currently on stage at the Odyssey Theatre. Unfortunately, this revival simply does not work.

sour - Beverly Cohn - LA West Media - ...read full review


Avatar

STEAMBATH's political incorrectness may both surprise and amuse you. Measured by our modern sensibilities, the play is at times both racist and misogynistic... You go into STEAMBATH hoping for a few laughs (well, with a comedian in it and all) and, although it is entertaining, the play gives you more food for thought than what you would expect.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

But get past the datedness and you can easily see Friedman's point. In Jewish theology, God knew from the start (well, starting with the apple) that his human creatures were severely flawed. Maybe he purposely made them that way just for fun, to see what would happen. It's up to humanity to improve and perfect the troubled world to restore it to its original Edenic state. Measured against that yardstick, it's no wonder some of these folks got to where we see them now. Meredith (Shelby Lauren Barry) appears reading a book, but mostly what she thinks about is the micro-miniskirt she was just buying at Bloomingdale's and now who's going to pay the bill? Not to sound too unkind, but these folks were mostly just taking up space. I mean, people have the right to take up space, but we all do know people like that, don't we?

sweet - Eric A Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

The amazing thing about this production is that the producers wanted to update this already controversial story, adding up to date, modern dialogue reflecting the crazy, Trumpian times we live in! Yet, happily they still left much of the the original material intact, as Friedman's world is not so different than ours, and cleverly includes ad libs about Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court fiasco, all so germane and powerful.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - ...read full review