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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  Three Penny Opera  -  Open Fist Theatre


LOS ANGELES, CA - For the first time in ten years, The Threepenny Opera's return to Los Angeles and the Open Fist Theatre is both enthusiastic and bittersweet. Originally written in 1928, this masterpiece from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill is a must see for any theater lover. The history of this show is taught to every aspiring theater person for its social commentaries and performance presentation.

And for any theater lover in the Los Angeles area, it is also disappointing and disheartening to know this is the last production at the Open Fist Theatre, as the theater space will be demolished to make way for more condos. Words cannot begin to express the grief as it seems a lot of ambitious theater companies are losing their spaces. But let’s put the focus back to this farewell production.

Under the direction of R. Charles Otte and musical direction of Dean Mora, The Threepenny Opera tells the story of love, betrayal and capitalism among the lower class of beggars and thieves centering on the infamous criminal Macheath a.k.a. Mac the Knife, played by Bjorn Johnson. The role of Macheath demands an actor who can play both charming and threatening at the drop of a hat. Mr. Johnson is definitely charming, but lacked the bite to be a convincing villain in certain scenes interacting with his gang. However, he definitely can sing.

The ensemble as a whole is very strong and endearing. Josie Gundy, who plays the youthful Polly Peachum, delights the audiences as one of the many loves of Macheath. She is particularly engaging in performing ‘Pirate Jenny’ and ‘Barbara Song’. David Castellani and Pam Heffler play the scheming parents of Polly with devilish wit. Rebecca Metz comedic portrayal as the ‘impregnated’ doll collecting Lucy Brown is a hoot to watch. And as rest of the ensemble playing Macheath’s gang, the whores, and beggars galore? Simply entertaining!

On the technical side, the orchestra planted on stage, playing Kurt Weill’s classic score, is flawless. The choreography by Kitty McNamee is on par with not going to far over the top. The set design by Bill Eigenbrodt and Meghan Rogers is inventive.

What more can be said? Oh yes… Go see The Threepenny Opera!! Highly recommended!

Produced by the Open Fist Theatre Company, The Threepenny Opera performs at the Open Fist, located at 1625 North La Brea in Hollywood, CA. Running through June 12th, 2005, performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm. Admission is $ 20.00. - Adrian Rennie    Printable View

For reservations, please call (323) 822-6912.

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Adrian Rennie, staff writer and editor for Maestro Arts & Reviews, is an actor and Los Angeles area playwright. Having received great reviews for his plays, The Seven Lessons of Life and Only a Phone Call Away, he continues to write and act in Los Angeles Theater, Television and Film. 

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