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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  The Death of Frank  -  Blue Sphere Alliance


NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - From the moment the stage lights come up on Peter, standing in the middle of the audience leaning casually on the railing, the fourth wall is gone in Stephen Belber's west coast premiere: The Death of Frank. This show about elusive love plays out in a series of monologues and flashbacks which leads to the title's climax. The story revolves around the destructive triangle of a brother and sister, and the sister's boyfriend. Peter is extremely protective and fond of his older sister Natalie, and all fully realize his obsession may not be healthy. Matters only get worse when Natalie starts dating Frank, a man almost twenty years her senior who runs a questionable construction company. In struggling to distract himself from his sister's life, Peter begins dating Lynn the Linguist. Frank shows his true colors one night and Peter, again trying to protect his sister, commits a felony and is sent to jail. During this time he explores his sexual nature and learns he is indeed "jubilant." Returning from jail, Peter moves to Africa to grow olives and save the world while Frank moves to a farm to raise pigs... and this is just the first half of the story.

Belber's writing is poetic and multi-leveled. His characters, on the surface, remind you of the person you sat next to in school, they're passionate and heartbreaking. Kate Connor's exceptional portrayal of Natalie embodies this painful spiral towards self destruction. As Peter, Jeff Daurey abounds with focused energy and easily convinces us of his passionate longings. Direction by Anthony Barnao is sharp and much like his one act Blood Brothers in last year's Fables, Foibles and Fumbles, the intensity he brings to this production has the captive audience riveted. The Death of Frank, playing at the Avery Schreiber Theatre in North Hollywood, runs through April 9, 2005.- Ruston Harker

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Ruston Harker, staff writer and editor for Maestro Arts & Reviews is also the entertainment editor for OnceWritten.com. He is an actor/singer in the Los Angeles theater scene as well as a Disney Studios cast member.

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