by Carol Burnett and Carrie Hamilton
directed by Lewis Hauser
through December 17
Lewis Hauser has lovingly directed his cast and staged the piece with fine pacing. More a drama than a comedy, Hollywood Arms is oft times painful to watch and its characters, though recognizable, complex and tortured. Burnett and Hamilton have laced the piece with standard tunes like "Chasing Rainbows" and Kate Smith's "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" which add a nice soothing touch and even some comic relief from time to time. Rothschild is superb as Louise, not holding back an ounce of the dismal depression that plagued her, as a wanna.be writer failure. Lunsford is precious as Nanny, who whines constantly, but beneath the exterior is likeable and funny. Farina does well with the young Helen, but it is Andersen who simply soars as the grownup Helen, just bursting with a blazing talent. Her monologue from the movie theater where she recreates every character in the Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy film is sheer delight. Praise as well to Huntington as the weak Jody, to Ruel as the loyal Dixie and to Joseph Roman as Bill, Louise's steady, caring boyfriend. Emma Hatton also does fine work as Helen's younger sister Alice. Michael McGee's set design of the dingy apartment is spot on perfect, as are Jayne Hamil's appropriate period costumes.
4 out of 5 stars
|entire cast of hollywood arms|