Christian Mast and Deborah Persoff
(photo credit: RDG Photography)
Eat your heart out Broadway! Deborah Persoff’s performance in the role of Tallulah Bankhead in Vintage Theatre’s production of the regional premier of Matthew Lombardo’s LOOPED is acting that’s better than anything you get in New York City. Craig Bond’s direction … Magnificent!
The casting is impeccable and the pacing has a great natural feel to it that makes us as audience feel as though we’re right there in the studio with her.
What an entrance! Chameleon-like, La Persoff morphs into Tallulah
Bankhead with flawless ease. Dame Persoff is a Triumph as this diva with a pocketful of bawdy zingers and gut-busting punchlines. I promise you that you will find yourself, as this reviewer did, over the moon with this dynamic, energizing performance.
Promiscuous, a drug addict and a lush, Tallulah was one of Hollywood’s adored ‘bad girls.’ Brilliant in “The Little Foxes” and “Lifeboat,” the aging diva finds it difficult in this play to remember the words to a single line that needs to be re-recorded or “looped” for “Die, Die, My Darling.”
There is nothing subtle about LOOPED! It’s off the charts hysterical in its deliciously ribald, eye-opening unveiling of Tallulah’s final hurrah in show business. Amidst the laughter there is also a revelatory exposition – however brief – allowing us as audience to understand how her childhood development formed a basis for her adult behaviors. As an adult she was a free- spirited Hollywood actress with the reputation of a bad girl with a foul mouth, who unapologetically drank, smoked and did drugs. Her mother died after birthing her and she started smoking at the age of 9. Now she’s a sixty six-year-old woman, six months from death.
Who was it that said: “When she was good she was very good, but when she was bad she was Dahling!”
Christian Mast is brilliant as Danny Miller, the harried film editor who has been pressed into service to get Ms. Bankhead’s garbled line re-recorded (Looped) for an absent director.
Conservatively dressed and anxiously waiting for Life to happen to him, the contrast of Mast’s character with that of Ms. Persoff is striking. Mast’s monologue about his grief over a lost love is truly heartrending.
David Bond-Trimble anchors the show as Steve, the studio’s sound engineer. What could have been a throw-away part in the hands of a lesser actor is a hilarious dead pan success in his.
Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry’s sound design, echoing the diva’s words in a dramatic moment late in the play, creates an auditory embellishment, which in tandem with Steve Tangedal’s lighting, enhances the show immeasurably.
Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry’s costume design is spot on.
LOOPED is a raucous evening of exuberant laughter and the funniest comedy this reviewer has seen all year!
Not to be missed.Marlowe's Musings
Vintage Theatre presents
Previews on Nov. 1; Opens Nov. 2 – Dec. 15
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. Nov. 16 at 2:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
$12 - $32
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830.
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.