Thespian Thoughts – God Only Knows – Theatre Review by Sandro Monetti
GOD ONLY KNOWS: ‘It’s The Da Vinci Code meets Downton Abbey’
Theatre Review by SANDRO MONETTI
Now here’s something you don’t see every day . . . a play featuring a claim that the whole basis of Christianity is a myth built on invented stories.
That’s the conspiracy theory of a supposed Vatican scholar who bursts into the Italian vacation home of two British couples claiming the authorities are after him because of a secret he has discovered.
The Brits react in a traditionally British way – by offering him a cup of tea and patiently listening to his tales of the Resurrection being faked and other claimed frauds.
Some opportunities for absurdist domestic comedy amid all the mystery are missed as director David McClendon instead puts the thriller elements to the fore, allowing the Da Vinci Code style jeopardy and the long monologues of the home invader to dominate proceedings.
He is blessed by having in the lead role of on the run Humphrey Biddulph the charismatic Ron Bottitta, who has been doing terrific work on the LA Theatre scene in recent years in the likes of Rank at the Odyssey and Superior Donuts at The Geffen. Remembering all that marathon dialogue must have been a struggle and he covers the occasional lapse well by staying in his
disoriented character and making it all seem natural.
Such a flashy lead performance can sometimes threaten to overwhelm the supporting players but Pippa Hinchley as English tourist Eleanor reacts well, using good timing and comic instincts to build a believable character who seems more modern than her Downton Abbey style fellow holidaymakers.
Special praise too for the sound design by Bill Froggatt and set design of Jeff G Rack which are a huge help in making the Tuscany farmhouse setting authentic.
GOD ONLY KNOWS
Written by Hugh Whitemore
Directed by David McClendon
At Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
until April 20
Tickets $24 Thur & Fri, $26 Sat and Sun. Reservations
(310) 364 0535. Online Theatre 40
Ron Bottitta as Humphrey Biddulph
Chet Grissom as Charles
Pippa Hinchley as Eleanor
Wendy Radford as Kate
David Hunt Stafford as Vin
Producer – David Hunt Stafford
Assistant Director – Rhonda Lord
Stage Manager – Don Solosan
Set Designer – Jeff G Rack
Costume Designer – Michele Young
Lighting Designer – Ellen Monocroussos
Sound Designer – Bill Froggatt
Publicist – Philip Sokoloff
Thespian Thoughts is a theatre review article on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.
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