Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: "Crooked Road" at The Lost Studio

Crooked Road is a modern day take on my favorite Jane Austen novel Persuasion, but you don't need to read the original work to be familiar with the themes, characters, and songs of Crooked Road.  Most of us have all been persuaded by others to go along different paths.  Sometimes this is, perhaps, insignificant, but as Crooked Road shows us persuasion can be very powerful, even life changing. 

In addition to the relatable nature of its themes, Crooked Road is set in Los Angeles calling to this city's diversity of area, of people, and of dreams.  Add in its use of music as a driving force in the story and the threaded complexities that only financial situations and romance can provide, you'll find yourself effortlessly following this road from beginning to end.


Written by Erin Gaw and directed by Naisa Wong, the story follows Anne Morris (Kristal Adams) who is trying to keep her father's real estate business together during the major fall of the market.  Walter Morris (Kabin Thomas) is not a spendthrift and insists on staying in the game and making investments on limited funds.  We find out that Anne's sister Mary (K√©licea Meadows) does not help financial matters much.  Though married to a successful music producer Charlie Davis (Mo A. Ojarigi), Mary is still spoiled by her father and not responsible for family matters.  In order to appease her father's need for appearances while dealing with their reduced finances, Anne creates a plan to rent out their large house in the Pacific Palisades  to the successful band Local Boy, one of Charlie's clients.  We find out that Local Boy's lead singer is Erik Miller (Erik Snodgrass) who is Anne's former love interest and who she left behind after leaving college due to her mother's illness and at the persuasion of her aunt Laurel Russell (Stephanie T. Keefer) because he was a no-name musician.  Years later and tables turned in circumstances, this unexpected meeting begins to unravel everything.

Providing additional dimensions to this story are Erik's sister Sophia Shepherd (Jenny Vaughn Hall) and Sarah Morales (Anna Klein).  The character of Sophia provides Anne with another type of mother figure and direction, distinctly different from her aunt.  This fun, lovable character played by Hall (alongside an equally enjoyable Lee Biolos as husband David Shepherd) is a driving force of change in Anne's life.  The character of Anne's childhood friend Sarah Morales brings additional depth to the Los Angeles experience.  Sarah is the daughter of the Morris' former housekeeper and brings in her perspective as a single mother with dreams of going back to school and helping with the community. 

All the while the music of Crooked Road carries the audience along.  This journey on stage, however, isn't a musical.  The original music of the show acts as a poetic form of language, evokes the promises and hopes of dreams - calling to the human spirit the way only music can. 

Set in the intimate space of the The Lost Studio, Crooked Road runs through this weekend.

-Charity Tran

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