Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mosaic Theatre: Completely Hollywood (abridged) (6 reviews)

Mosaic Theatre opened its production of Completely Hollywood (abridged) on September 9, 2010.
They've skillfully shortened Shakespeare, comically condensed the Bible, and merrily mutilated the Millennium. No other ensemble concentrates so much into "90 minutes of non-stop hilarity!" (The Daily Mail). Now setting their sights on Tinseltown, the Mosaic Theatre gives Hollywood more than just a nip and a tuck. They cut through the celluloid and fast forward through movie history, splicing Casablanca, Rocky, Star Wars, Titanic, Avatar, and every other enduring Hollywood moment into the ultimate gag reel.
Richard Jay Simon directed a cast that features Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat, and Christian Rockwell.

The Palm Beach post declined reviewing this show.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Brought to the area by Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre,‭ ‬which has made its reputation on more serious material,‭ ‬the company demonstrates that it can deliver manic wackiness as well as the dour stuff.‭ ‬And broad comedy is probably just what audiences are hungering for about now.‭
‬There are some clever minds at work here,‭ ‬but one could easily see the jokes fizzling without a trio of verbally and physically nimble performers.‭ ‬Fortunately,‭ ‬Mosaic director Richard Jay Simon has them in Erik Fabregat,‭ ‬Antonio Amadeo and Christian Rockwell,‭ ‬frequently seen here,‭ ‬but never given quite as much free rein to cavort,‭ ‬mug and pander for laughs as they are here.
Douglas Grinn contributes a simple,‭ ‬but attractive scenic design of film-strip silhouettes of recognizable Hollywood characters,‭ ‬from Rocky Balboa to E.T.‭ ‬And do not miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars celebrating Fabregat,‭ ‬Amadeo and Rockwell on the floor in front of the stage.‭ ‬Nice touch.
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat, and Christian Rockwell form a tight ensemble.  The three work together seamlessly, enjoying the pratfalls, groaner lines and cross-dressing costumes.  Fabregat looks positively fetching in Dorothy’s blue gingham dress, with dark pigtails accentuated by a goatee.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, and he didn't like the play, but blames the script:
As you read this review, it is worth bearing in mind that Bud Light is the world's most beloved beer, clobbering its nearest rival by 12.7 million barrels a year. (The second-placer? Budweiser.) Consider too that the world's most beloved eatery is McDonald's, its favorite purveyor of Italian food the Olive Garden, and its favorite nonfiction book of the past decade The Secret, which isn't even nonfiction.

The point is, people enjoy a lot of perfectly awful things, and Completely Hollywood (Abridged) at the Mosaic Theatre is one of them.
To be fair, it is a belly-laugh-a-minute spectacle, the interstitial silences of which are punctuated with helpless giggling. Actors Christian Rockwell, Antonio Amadeo, and Erik Fabregat turn in loose, fun, gamely nutty performances, each worthy of respect and admiration. By most objective measures, Completely Hollywood is a success.
You could learn something about Shakespeare's output from The Complete Works of Shakespeare; you will learn very little about, say, Al Pacino from Completely Hollywood, even though his mug and thuggish patois are invoked almost talismanically.
But as any great comedian will tell you, while great comedy can make you think, it's all about getting the laugh. 

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
That Hollywood filmmakers come up with plots that are (at least) two parts formula to one part inspiration isn't a surprise to anyone who loves Tinseltown's mainstream movies.

Yet seldom will you see that truth illustrated and dissected while you're laughing as much as Mosaic Theatre's audience does during a performance of Completely Hollywood (Abridged).
All three actors come up with spotlight-stealing moments -- Rockwell as a sheriff in full-on Al Gore voice, Fabregat as a kitty-petting James Bond villain, Amadeo as a nerd so happy someone is listening to him that he seems to have swallowed an entire bottle of speed.
Roger Martin reviewed for
Director Richard Jay Simon cast three fine, serious actors who, in this piece, are seriously over the top, falling down, climbing up and going over again. And again. It's anything for a laugh theatre and it works.
Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat and Christian Rockwell turn Mosaic's stage into a sight and sound stream of comedy, some of it subtle, most of it broad, as they give us the movies right between the eyes.
There's a designers' roll of honor behind this Hollywood.  Technical director Douglas Grinn designed the set, adding hand and foot prints à la Grauman's Chinese Theatre forecourt and Stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The sound and lighting designers are Matt Corey and Travis Neff and the costumes are by K. Blair Brown. And special (forgive me) props to properties master Luann Cardinal who amassed Aladdin's treasure in her backstage cave. Production stage manager Linda Harris wrangles the chaos beautifully.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
Quips, puns, gags, sight gags, skits, slow burns, even audience participation comprise the supreme silliness that reigns in the Mosaic Theatre’s Completely Hollywood (Abridged)...
The inventive direction by Richard Jay Simon is matched by the energy and abandon of Erik Fabregat, Antonio Amadeo and Christian Rockwell playing Hollywood hopefuls who act out scenes from proposed movies – always sliced, diced and reconstituted combinations of old films.
Fabregat long ago proved himself as one of the finest character actors in the region...
Rockwell especially good here at depicting grinning fatheads who deliver drivel deadpanned as if it was wisdom...
Amadeo usually plays dramatic roles...but off-stage he always seems to be reining in a wacky streak. It is finally unleashed here with hysterical results.
...the hair-trigger lighting by Travis Neff was so fluid that it was, well, cinematic. Production stage manager Linda Harris handled what must have been hundreds of sound and light cues. Douglas Grinn’s set was as witty as the play...
It’s unfortunate that there’s no Carbonell for properties because there ought to be some award for prop mistress Luann Cardinal, Simon and costume designer K. Blair Brown... the show is awash with hundreds of toy guns, dolls, silent movie caption signs and jerry-rigged props that were sight gags in themselves. Just keeping track of them every night should earn Cardinal a master’s degree in backstage management.
Completely Hollywood (abridged) plays at Mosaic Theatre through October 2, 2010.

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