Stoneface – The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton: A Theatrical Review
Sacred Fools Theater Company, a 501c3 non-profit organization, run completely by ensemble artists of the theatre has a fabulous hit on their hands with their most recent production of Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton. This amazing production about the Vaudeville actor turned massive star of the silent screen, then later the early talkies with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, is truly one of the Hollywood’s most prominent actors of all time. This man single handedly brought the idea of stone cold lack of expression as a form of comedic style to the forefront of the business to date. Buster Keaton, however, had some pretty serious demons he had to contend with. As most every truly excellent actor does, Buster, real name Joe Keaton, had to deal with a family that was truly a mess, leadership that rarely knew what they were doing, a public that put a persona on him that never actually existed, several failed marriages, failure to be a sound father to his children, and perhaps most solidly controlling, alcoholism. The production jumps back and forth during key periods of Buster’s life telling the audience the story that needs to be told so that we (the audience) can understand it. It adds all the Vaudevillian comedic scenes that make it true to reality, as well as many of the heart breaking issues that help us to identify with this man as first and foremost a man. A phenomenal production from start to finish, this is a show worthy of note to the Ovation Committee, as well as those of my fellow directors and producers in the New York and London theater circuit.
French Stewart, who portrays Buster Keaton, is absolutely exquisite! This man brings to life a character that all too many have no recollection of, much less understanding. His hold, heart, and honor to the role shines out like a bright star in the night sky. I have not had the pleasure of seeing this man on stage before, but I can assure you that I will be looking for him again and again now. Joe Fria portrays a younger version of Buster Keaton who interacts with French, and helps the audience see that even a star like Buster Keaton dealt with his own regrets just the way we all do; excellent job all around! The remainder of the cast of this production all help to add to the splendor that is Stoneface. There is not a bad or lacking performance to be found. Written by Vanessa Claire Stewart and brilliantly directed by Jaime Robledo, this production offers some of the most ingenious and entertaining stunts, stage effects, and comedic scenarios I have seen on stage in a VERY long time. The cinema photography that is added to the production to bring it to a since of reality is beautifully done, which together earns this critics five star approval rating. This is a production that is not to be missed!
Sacred Fools Theatre Company, a deceiving facility from the look of it outside and the community in which it is located in, is a delightful theatrical space. The seating is comfortable, the stage is delightful, the foyer is small but accessible, the ticket booth and snack bar are well maintained and staffed professionally, the restrooms are clean and easily accessible, and the this handicap friendly environment has some truly polite and professional people greeting, seating, and meeting the needs of their guests. There is adjacent parking available for a nominal fee, and there is even security on site to ensure that your vehicle is protected. There is also street parking available, though the immediate community is one that would best be described as less desirable. Located at 660 N. Heliotrope Drive in Hollywood, CA 90004, just off Melrose and just east of the 101 freeway, the location is convenient and easy to access. With group rates available, and base ticket prices at only $25.00 per person, this is a production that every serious theatre aficionado must encounter. The production is running Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, and Sundays at 2PM through June 30, 2012, and tickets for this World Premiere Play can be purchased by logging onto the internet at www.sacredfools.org, or by calling the box office at 310-281-8337. This is truly a production not to be missed, so book your tickets NOW! Enjoy!
The California Theatre Critic – Yahoo On-Line International