Online Entertainment Magazine

January 30, 2004

Theater Reviews


Trés Grimm! 

Trés Formidable!




HOLLYWOOD, CA - In this celebration of the folk tale and live story telling,   Trés Grimm! (Grimm III) is the third installment in a series of plays that draw from the original stories by the Brothers Grimm. While quite humorous at times, all of the stories have one thing in common: they reveal dark moral truths about humanity.  Producer George Larkin has assembled a fine cast to bring these stories to life at The Met Theatre in Hollywood.

Containing 13 short "vignettes," the play ranges from the sublime: a charming ballet sequence,  to the ridiculous: a walking sausage and his two best friends.  Rachel Levy gave a funny and convincing performance as the sausage's misguided friend, "Bird."  In the musical story of Master Pfriem, written and composed by Brenda Varda, Christopher Spencer gave a colorful and comical interpretation of this nit-picking perfectionist.   Lindsay Frame and Angela DiMarco played the storyteller and her daughter who occasionally became entangled in the stories.    

A talented group of musicians accompanied the production under the direction of Brenda Varda who composed an enchanting score for Trés Grimm!  

The play was written by a  group of authors.  "The Singing Bone" by Tyler Tanner and Jeff Folschinsky, and "The Fox and the Geese" by Alexis Wesley seemed to be among the audience's favorites.  Culminating the evening was "The Miller's Daughter" which was spiritedly written by Chantal Bilodeau, and artistically directed by L. Flint Esquerra. Chorus leaders Sondra Mayer and Donovan Knowles artfully told the story of this intriguing fairy tale.  

Revealing the darkest side of the Grimm brothers was "How Some Children Played at Slaughtering," written by Erik Evans.  While difficult to watch such a violent scene, it gave a glimpse of  the innocent, yet wicked aspect of the human condition.  At the same time it allowed the actors an opportunity to demonstrate the true scope of their abilities. 

Together with the rest of the writing team (Drew Brody, Robert Hensley and Ruth Silveira.), George Larkin has created an edgy and imaginative  experience in modern theater. Remaining true to the vivid Grimm stories of the early 19th century, this entertaining adaptation is not for the whole family.  However, The Met Theatre will be presenting family friendly versions of Trés Grimm! on February 14, 21 and 28.  For ticket information call 323-957-1152. Visit The Met Theatre online and  the Trés Grimm! website. Michael Upward

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Rock and "Roll"

HOLLYWOOD, CA - In attending other touring Broadway shows, audiences may notice that a production may be a modest representation of it’s former Broadway incarnation. Starlight Express, now playing at the historic Pantages Theatre, is far from toned down. 



Spectacular lighting, ever-present haze and two story ramps are only the beginning. Loosely based on The Little Engine The Could, the performers are all toy trains, play things of a celestial 9-year-old boy who narrates the competition. The entire cast is on roller skates, and they don’t seem to flinch as they fly across a stage that also spins. Also, each audience member gets their own set of ‘safety goggles’ (3-D glasses) to watch Power Ranger-like short films of the race sequences.

Starlight Express opened twenty years ago in London and after 18 years and 7,406 performances it closed in January 2002. The musical also had a successful five year run in Las Vegas, a perfect setting for this spectacular show. The music, composed by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber with Lyrics by Richard Stilgoe and David Yazbek plays like a review going from rock to country to rap, even blues. An exceptionally talented cast round out the evening with Franklyn Warfield (as Rusty, a steam train), Clarissa Grace (as Pearl, an observation car), Drue Williams (as Greaseball, a diesel locomotive), Dustin Dubreuil (as Electra, an electric train), Katie O’Toole (as Dinah, a dining car), Kait L. Holbrook (as Ashley, a smoking car) and Dennis LeGree (as Poppa, another steam train and Rusty’s mentor). Direction and breathtaking choreography are credited to Arlene Phillips. - Ruston Harker

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Starlight Express runs from January 27 thru February 8.  Visit the Pantages Theatre Website for ticket information. 



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