A Brit and an American walk into a bar. Err…no, that’s not exactly right. A British playwright by the name of T.L. Shannon and American playwright Phil Scarpaci have joined forces to give us a new British comedy, Baby oh Baby. It’s premiere location of choice, the lovely little Whitefire Theatre every Saturday night at 8:00 pm in Sherman Oaks.
The play opens with two very different half-sisters living together in a flat just outside of London. Bella (played by the consistently amazing Amy Tolsky) is a single, middle aged woman who may have let herself go a bit, works out of her home for her match making business and has no real dating prospects. Angie (played by the pretty darn stellar Felicity Wren) is the attractive slightly younger sister, similarly single, who has a lot of first dates/one night stands, but no more real luck in the pursuit of a long term relationship, possibly due to her clingy, needy ways. The sisters couldn’t be more different, yet obviously get on well together.
Wait…we have two compelling and relatable women given to us by two male playwrights? Why yes, yes we do. Good job gentlemen.
There are some hilarious men in this entertaining 80 minute play. The ladies have the delightful Weena, a super flamboyant drops-in-too-much landlord (another fabulous one, Douglas Scott Sorenson) always quick with his opinion on the man troubles, or any other troubles, for that matter. There’s the hunky one night stand, (or is he? The plot thickens) Rory (Angrew Katers) and the exciting mystery man Chris (Kaelan Strouse) that Bella meets via the ‘ole stumble-over technique when exiting a bar. In this case the stumble seemed to work, because she fervently attempts a clear and clean of the flat for his impending first visit as there’s a distinct possibility that he’s a key player in the fulfillment of a dream.
I don’t want to give much more as far as synopsis goes, because I’m a big fan, as an audience member, of not knowing everything about the show before seeing it. Apparently I am feeling the need to force that on you, just a bit. However, I will absolutely tell you what you need to know.
So, should you go check Baby oh Baby when you find yourself in need of a giggle? Yes, I think you should. Think fun British rom-com, likely perfect for an LA audience, and I can’t believe you will be disappointed. The cast is divine. Did I have a beef with this show? Actually, yes, I do, and it’s a significant one if you are a theatre geek, like me. It’s a world premiere which means the gentlemen playwrights are still figuring things out. Normally I’d say the director (Scarpaci) may have missed the boat but he’s one of the playwrights, so I’m back to the playwrights are still collectively finding what this piece should be, in theory. Because it was clear to me, that this show should be a full blown British farce. An over-the-top farce. There were hints, but definitely not what they are going for, yet. Maybe there’s concern that an LA theatre audience wouldn’t be into it. Maybe there’s concern about the subject matter and farce combo wouldn’t be appropriate. I disagree. If we are laughing at the rom-com version, we will laugh at the farce version, and the truth is you will laugh just as it is.
This is a solid piece of charming theatre which could play in any theatre town. And I mean that in the best way. The production aspects (scenic designer Emmy Weldon, costume designer Ellen Greenberg, lighting design Derrick McDaniel) are on par as well. Baby oh Baby gives me hope, personally, that LA could become a theatre town. If you are a true theatre lover, or simply in need of a giggle, head on over to the Whitefire. Don’t forget the convenient option to visit the wine bar next door to chat about it, afterwards.
13500 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA
Thru June 4th
Saturday 8:00 pm
tickets: $20 (but they offer discounts!)