The Night Forlorn (or, Waitin' on Godsford) - Theatre Review

By Terry Gloeggler

Jim Beaver, Leslie Caveny and June Schreiner
Photo by Garry Kluger
"The Night Forlorn (or, Waitin' on Godsford)" is a brilliantly acted, beautifully directed and boldly written piece of theater. Billed as a "Tumbleweed Comedy," this humorous western by Steve Nevil is a delight with plenty of belly laughs and softer chuckles to punctuate the contemplative moments that give the piece depth. Fan's of Becket's "Waiting for Godot" will be thrilled by this reimagining set in the 1870s American frontier. The clever dialogue is brought to life by the plays director Arden Teresa Lewis who could not have been gifted with a more talented cast.

As can happen in Hollywood theater, there are definitely faces you will recognize up on the stage, one in particular will stand out though to other lovers of the Old West. Jim Beaver (known for roles in CW's "Supernatural" and FX's "Justified") clearly feels ties to the genre and has lived it as closely as an actor can due to his time on HBO's "Deadwood." Jim's character, Percy plays opposite an equally inept cowpoke/outlaw Elvin, played by the dynamic J. Downing (known for NBC's "Viper"). Their nuanced relationship and teased at questionable recent activities carry the audience through the one act play.

Like the title of this work the mysterious Godsford is omnipresent, in the way the first three letters of his name implies. Percy and Elvin walk a fine line of loyalty to their leader, loyalty to each other, and the influences of what might feel to the viewer like common sense. Though other visitors to their camp offer opportunities to take action the boys hold fast to their limited knowledge of 'the Plan" and their faith in Godsford's return. Even possible salvation for Percy doesn't pull them from their path and belief, which might have been reinforced by the telling of Job's trials in the bible and his eventual rewards.

A piece that is often lacking in Westerns was a shinning beacon in "The Night Forlorn (or, Waitin' on Godsford)" - strong women! Patsy, played by Leslie Caveny, was a delight, she shined like a desert rose as did her tag-a-long Tag, played by June Schreiner. Patsy is unashamedly a loud woman and I loved her all the more for it and the sweet way poor Percy was carried away for a time in her wake. If a single moment stands out from this play it is Tag's passionate retelling of Job. Ms. Schreiner personifies a plucky troublesome youth with wit and grace.

Everything from the costumes to the sets made this play breath on the stage. The audience was caught up by the humor, thoughtful moments, and stand out performances from the instant the lights come up. The producers, David Mingrino and Linda Rand, of Theatre West deserve a great deal of praise for bringing this wonderful work to viewers. You can see "The Night Forlorn (or, Waitin' on Godsford)" now through April 22 at Theatre West.

Posted By Discover Hollywood on March 20, 2018 01:08 pm | Permalink