A review by Suzanne Birrell.
Nick McDow. Photos by Garry Michael Kluger
A Thorn in the Family Paw by Garry Michael Kluger and directed by Arden Teresa Lewis opened this week at Theatre West. It's a story of an American family though the ups and downs of changing times. The story starts at the end of WWII and then moves forward to The Vietnam War, then to the '80's as women became more assertive and finishes in 1992. It is a story that falls into the same class of stories as
"It's a Wonderful Life" and "
Our Town." I went with my daughter and the story itself opened up conversation of how my life both paralleled and differed from the story which unfolded on stage. As a slice of American life,
A Thorn in the Family Paw has the potential of becoming a standard.
(Left: Katie Adler, Nick McDow)
The performances are impeccable. The direction by Arden Teresa Lewis is both sensitive and insightful. Comedy is well balanced with ethos, pathos and logos. The sound design by the author was very much a part of the story. Every scene opened with the radio playing songs from the era which itself took us down memory lane. My only critique would be that the play felt long-especially the first scene. Once past that first scene, the story unfolded at a good pace.
As is usual for Theatre West, the set design by Jeff G. Rack was interesting and complimented the action. It's the first thing you see when entering the theatre and there is always a lot to look at.
(Right: Heather Alyse Becker, Ian Lerch)
A Thorn in the Family Paw is one of those shows that inspires subsequent conversation. It is a story of a segment of American life that is past, when divorce was not quit so rampant. It's a good show that sticks with you. Treat yourself, take time out of your busy schedule to see this one. It's a keeper.
(Left: George Tovar (l.), Ian Lerch, Julia
George Tovar, Julia Silverman)
WHAT: A Thorn in the Family Paw.
World Premiere engagement of a new play.
WHO: Written by Garry Michael Kluger. Directed by Arden Teresa Lewis. Produced by Benjamin Scuglia for Theatre West. Theatre West executive director: John Gallogly.
WHERE: Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, in Los Angeles, CA 90068. This is near North Hollywood, Universal City and Studio City. There is ample free parking in a lot across the street.
WHEN: June 3- June 26, 2016. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00.
ADMISSION: $20. Seniors (65+) $15. Students (25 and under with I.D.) $5.
RESERVATIONS: (323) 851-7977.
ONLINE TICKETING: www.theatrewest.org
ESTIMATED RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus intermission.