March 25, 2013


NELLIE MCKAY Courtesy Photo


You won't want to miss out at The Marsh in Berkeley (2120 Alliston Way). Why?  - you may ask. Well, here's the reason: It's a World Premiere of "A Killer Story". This thrilling crime drama by Dan Harder (Zipperz) plays with exciting elements of  
film noir on the stage. Hey, this is modern times - and its set in the exciting digital age. Opening night is Saturday, April 20, 8pm, 2013- but do come early and enjoy noir era nosh, fab cocktails, and a nostalgic pre-show cabaret performance beginning at 7:15Pm.  This is absorbing stuff. You and your friends will jump to get those HOT TIX! 

THIS HOT TIX WAS SOLD OUT (a one night stand) at the Gorgeous Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room. However - you know the men's chorus known around the world as "Chanticlear". Wow! - They are just fantastic. Oh, and there is this also. NELLIE MCKAY was the Jewell of the Nile with the Chanticlears. McKay also plays the piano, sings, tells jokes and  the audience stands up and cheers all evening. As if that wasn't enough - I was trying to beat the crowd out of the swanky room -- when someone grabbed my shoulders. I turned and looked to see who it was. It was the Star of the Evening. She said "I just have to hug you - I Love your Hat - you're so cute!" Then poof- Nellie McKay just vanished. Well,  exciting as the moment was - I wouldn't call it a long relationship. 

WRITER SARAH RUHL IS NOT DOING SO WELL WITH HER EARLIER PLAY, "EURYDICE". The play has it's moments on the Custom Made Theater. But, in spite of Ruhl's writing talents this one doesn't ascend to much. It reminds me of my High School days when we had to present those kind of flaky and silly. I still think of all those Greek plays -- that were in their time probably thrilling. Not so now. 

Yes, it is meant to be whimsical. And the Actors are supreme - as they always are at Custom Made. Liz Ryder's original music fits in perfectly to the script just doesn't get to break down the Gates of Hell to retrieve anything. The set is interesting and serves the purpose. 

Sorry to say -- in spite of the great setting and the terrific acting and excellent production values --  it just didn't bowl me over.  The play takes 85 minutes with no intermission. The cookies in the Lobby took less time and were more fun. 

HERE ARE THE FANTASTIC ACTORS: Jessica Rudholm, Fred Pitts, David Naughton, Eric O'Kelly, Jeremy Parkin, Helen Pappas and Stefin Collins. 

DIRECTOR: Katja Rivera. Production Concept - Brian Katz

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has Produced and Hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))


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