Saturday, October 3, 2009

review - That Perfect Moment

That Perfect Moment
by Charles Bartlett and Jack Cooper
directed by Rick Sparks
NoHo Arts Center
through November 8
When 4 rock musicians from the 60s reunite and try to get their old band in swing again for a brand new gig, all hell breaks loose in That Perfect Moment. 'That perfect moment' being the harmony of one voice that musicians would sell their souls to experience... at least once. The Plaids of Forever Plaid died for it and now it's The Weeds' turn at bat! It's what good musicians live for, at least what Mark (Tait Ruppert) still craves after so many years, to the consternation of his wife Sarah (Kelly Lester), who's had all she can take and walks out on him at the top of the play.
It's Christmastime, he's a total asshole and fellow band members Al (John Bigham) and Gabriel (Guerin Barry) somehow put up with his foolishness in the hopes of making a deal which involves some of their old songs - that belong to fourth band member Skip Chandler (Bruce Katzman)... who, as it turns out, is reluctant to let them out of his possession. He's a big businessman, successful as all hell - has superceded all the others to the top - has a house with 8 bathrooms - but still wants ownership of the music. He's snooty, as far as Mark is concerned and stands in the way of their comeback. The Weeds, a tiny San Fernando Valley rock band, who never made it further than Calabasas. With a new song that is called "overly complex, petulant and negative" by contemp music execs, just how elusive is that rainbow that they've dreamed of for over 40 years? Ah, dreams and the desire to be remembered! We carry them into middle age like excess baggage, dimming the lights on other possibilities and sometimes they haunt us right up to the end! It's sad, especially if you're alone!
But these guys have each other. They can still learn to care and support one another in times of desperation and need. Kind of like a male Steel Magnolias, the play offers a light still burning at the end of the tunnel. Under Rick Sparks' consistently upbeat and always winning direction, these 5 actors offer diversely rich and engaging performances. Ruppert fits his role like a glove, especially with ponytail, and becomes a likeable oddball, a Quixote for all seasons. Katzman is outstanding. His change of attitude is ever so subtly delivered. Barry aptly underplays Gabriel's homosexuality and Bigham makes Al as dependable as an old oak tree. He is particularly amusing as he stands sturdily on one foot or falls to his knees in reverent Buddha posture. Lester is a knockout as the wife and also as the no nonsense music exec, who axes the deal.
The set design by Adam Flemming, with the living room wall also serving as a scrim behind which Sarah's outside of home scenes are all played, makes the tiny space seem much brighter and larger than it actually is.
This is a sweet, charming play. For any artists who have ever kept hoping for a 'second coming', this one's for you!
4 out of 5 stars


Blogger Randy said...

Overwrought and predictable. Gee, Mark and Sarah get back together? Everyone has their own tragedy that getting the band back together will ameliorate? Didn't see that coming! Lots of heat and very little light.

October 12, 2009 9:17 AM  

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