by Kathy Flynn
Art Hall and Laura Richardson
Photo by Darrett Sanders
Television writer Jill, on the run from a toxic work environment, returns home to try and move her elderly parents into a retirement home in Last Call, television writer Anne Kenny's (
Outlander, L.A. Law, Separated at Birth) semi-autobiographical first play.
Sometimes your family is made up of monsters, and sometimes you discover that you yourself are the monster. Jill's mother, Frances, is lost in a cloud of dementia, her father, Walter, is sardonic and controlling, and her brother Ricky is a homeless junkie. And all but Frances harbor a dark secret of their own. Getting to the heart of who these people are, and how they wound and damage each other and yet still, ultimately, love each other, is the beating heart of Last Call.
The underlying theme here is about honoring and accepting the choices our loved ones make, which is not always an easy thing to do.
Last Call is a brilliant piece of theatre; honest, warm, and darkly comic with a wry edge
. Each of the characters is fully-fleshed out, messy and complex, and the performances, each of which is pitch-perfect, bring these terrible, wonderful, complicated human beings to life.
Bronte Scoggins and Ben Martin
Photo by Lane Allison
Laura Richardson's Jill carries the weight of the play on her formidable shoulders, as a character coming to terms with her own darkness. Art Hall manages to give Ricky a vulnerability that leaves you rooting for him by the end of the play. His demons are daunting indeed, but you have hope for his redemption. And newcomer Bronte Scoggins' performance as Jade, Ricky's pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend, nearly steals the whole show. When she is on stage you can't take your eyes off her, she is absolutely overflowing with charm and presence.
Last Call has been extended through March 2nd with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., except Sunday Feb. 17 which will be at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 with advance purchase, $30 at the door; the performance on Saturday, Feb. 16, which is $50 advance purchase and $55 at the door, includes a post-performance discussion led by Fred Golan.
Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.