Reviewed by Harrison Held
Hooked is a raw and provocative new drama written by indie actress Jillian Leigh which recently opened at the cozy Ruby Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard. It is presented as part of the Los Angeles Theater Festival 2015 Inaugural Season and is directed by Terri Treas.
Hooked stars Jillian Leigh as Alex, Rodney Eastman as Joe, Sasha Higgins as Kim and Seth Lee as Young Joe.
The intriguing story begins in a rundown lower Manhattan apartment in 1988 in a dangerous neighborhood populated by homeless drug dealers, addicts and criminals. Young Joe, about 13, is at home with his hooker/drug addict's mother's young girlfriend Kim who is also a prostitute. Seth Lee and Sasha Higgins act well in the gritty set up of the play turning in admirable performances in the opening of this serious tale. After intermission we meet the grown up screwed up semi clad adult Joe who is now a city councilman so in that respect he's come a long way from where he started. He is having a rendezvous with his lingerie wearing mistress/hooker Alex who claims to be a law student in a secret apartment far away from his wife. Pretty, girl next door Alex wants more from Joe than just his financial support - not only is she a hooker but she is hooked on him which is always dangerous. He treats her pretty poorly so you have to wonder what got her hooked. Chemical attraction is one of the great mysteries of the world.
The scenario struck a huge chord with me as a beloved friend of mine killed herself several years ago because her married lover promised to leave his wife for her but ultimately wouldn't. To differentiate my beloved friend wasn't a hooker but she was a single woman who fell in love with a married man which is almost always ultimately dangerous and fruitless.
Jillian Leigh and Rodney Eastman are both talented actors and the dysfunctional unsavory relationship between married Joe and lady of the night Alex is interesting to watch as the story unravels and we learn more about each of their pasts and their motivations for doing what they do.
For more information about Hooked and other plays in the festival visit
www.latheaterfestival.com - thru October 11, 2015. Enjoy!