Review by Suzanne Birrell
American Falls presented by the Echo Theatre Company and now showing at Atwater Village Theatre is a vignette of American life where good and bad things happen to your neighbors but no one interacts much. The time is timeless except for the references to television shows which really puts the perspective on American Life in a time when pedestrians are seldom seen without bent elbow and phone to ear.
Bill Mound of Clouds, played by Leandro Cano, is the charismatic character who ties it all together. His perspective on life is portrayed with frequent and humorous references to TV and actors. He claims he feels the heartbeats of the community through soles of his tennis shoes. He speaks directly to the audience and keeps them abreast of the people in his small community. A most likeable fellow who can spin a tale of woe with humor. We like him.
Jessica Goldapple as Lisa, Ian Merrigan at Matt and Eric Hunicutt as Eric provide the traditional theatre corner of the performance. They takes us down memory lane-some funny, some sad, talking about the people of the community and interact with each other.
Off in the corner swinging on a swing is Barbara Tarbuck as Samantha. She too talks directly to the audience and in a rather ribald fashion which tickles the funny bone of the audience she fills us in on the why of her son Samuel.
Samuel, performed with shocking verve by Karl Herlinger speaks about his dead wife Maddie to the boy-her son Isaac, played by Tomek Adler who is ) is brilliantly and distractively still through much of the performance. The ghost of Maddie, played with sensitivity and a comic edge by
Deborah Puette, tells her side of the story directly to the audience.
Scenic design by
Nina Caussa, Costume design by Michael Mullen, Sound design by Jeff Gardner, and Lighting Design by Jesse Baldridge all add to the magic.
Wonderful performances all around. In American Falls you will meet the characters that populate towns and burgs across the American countryside.
Note that several of the characters are double cast.
American Falls is playing at the Atwater Village Theatre,
3269 Casitas Ave.,
Atwater Village, CA 90039 through October 18, 2015
Tickets: 310-307-3753 or www.EchoTheatreCompany.com
Free on site parking.