To go or not to go (see Christmas is Dead at The LOFT Ensemble, in the Arts District downtown)… that is the question. Well, no, there is an even more important question to be asked in this instance. Why do you go?
There are almost as many different types of theatre-goers as there are reasons to see live theatre. If you are a once or twice a year patron, one time being during the holidays, this is not the show for you. Stick to the big, flashy, fun theatres who will have an across the board crowd pleaser on stage. Really. You can stop reading now.
Now… all the dedicated theatre-goes/lovers/geeks should still be with me.
Here’s the gist: The Murphy’s are hosting their annual family Christmas Eve dinner. With the given title, you are correct in assuming you’ll be in for a dysfunctional evening. There’s a cougar mother (who prefers to go by Missy now) with her boy band beau. There’s the newly engaged father with his much more age appropriate fiance. Michelle, the daughter hosting the event is married (and divorcing) to a possibly gay man with a possible drinking problem and the mother of two perfectly awful teenagers. One goth girl with an attitude and an activist son who has taken a vow of silence to save the whales. Michelle’s zany (and possibly mentally disturbed) brother is also there… as are the wacky religious neighbors. Oh yes, the silent girlfriend of the silent son is in attendance as well… and I’m fairly sure there are more who drop in. There’s arguing, booze and general mayhem…. and a whole lot of schtick. The question is… will they have a collective AH-HA moment realizing the true value of family?
This is the world premiere. That’s always fun… and potentially shaky, but FUN! Alex Fream and April Morrow (girl power!) joined forces to write and direct this madhouse of a farce.
Here’s the scoop: this is a cute, funny, homegrown show with every comic bit possible including the kitchen sink. There’s a lot to handle. It needs some fine tuning… or it needs to drop the feel-good-moral-of-the-story moments and have the aliens drop in. Just to completely take it over the top. Currently it rests in the need to simplify or launch to the moon limbo. And that’s ok.
There’s much debate (or sadly no debate, since there’s so much agreement) that Los Angeles is a miserable theatre town. Unfortunately, in most cases I agree. I’ve lived in a theatre town. This isn’t one. But it could be.
The LOFT Ensemble has a cool 99 seat space with a great vibe. I can’t say for sure that their company of actors is great… but the ensemble in this particular Christmas show is absolutely solid. The only way Los Angeles is ever going to be a legit “theatre town” is if we support productions such as this. It isn’t torture, by any means. It’s just rough around the edges… like most homegrown, low budget world premieres. But this is how it starts. And it’s a rare and wonderful experience to be a member of an audience who are actively supporting what is happening on stage and that was my experience.
There’s fat to be trimmed. Bits to be cleaned up. An intermission to nix. And lots of fun, laughs and support to be lent. Why do you go? Be a part of the solution and see this show.
929 E 2nd St. #105
Thru December 20, 2015
Box Office: (213) 680-0392