Review On THE ART OF DINING


Leigh Kennicott

Registered Critic


Double and quadruple cast, Gloria Gifford’s production of Tina Howe’s 70s-era, episodic portrait of a Jersey neighborhood restaurant, purported to be situated in the actual home of its cook and head waiter, paints a fascinating portrait of 60s and 70s social life.
Ellen (Kelly Musslewhite) frantically readies herself for an onslaught of guests while her husband, Cal (Billy Budinich), dreams of expanding their little enterprise into a full-scale restaurant. Do you see the tension here?
Celebrants Hannah (Keturah Hamilton) and Paul Galt (Danny Siegel) and blind dates, David (Haile D’Alan) and Elizabeth (Sabrina), are disturbed when a raucous, ravenous threesome (Leana Chavez, Samiyah Swann and Gloria Alvizar) invades. But the most fun of all comes from the action in the working kitchen (part of the overall design by Gifford, Hamilton and Lucy Walsh).
Gifford has accomplished the difficult job of revolving casting, transitioning between the couples with a minimum of fuss. The best part? The friendliness of Gloria Gifford’s bunch of aspiring actors is such a welcome treat.

Leigh Kennicott has an extensive background in theatre, film and television and a Ph.D. degree in Theatre, awarded in 2002. A writer, director and actor, Leigh Kennicott began theatrical reviewing at Backstage, followed by Pasadena Weekly and Stage Happenings blog.
As a director in Los Angeles, she directed a neo-realist "Romeo and Juliet" at the Secret Rose Theatre; a new play,“Charlotte Second Chance,” at DramaGarage; and “How I Learned to Drive,” “Nickel and Dimed” and “Top Girls” all at College of the Canyons.
Presently, she teaches theatre topics at California State University, Northridge.