Mark Troy has. Sure, the comedy has a plot and some outrageous circumstances, but when all is said and done, it's the stereotypical Jewish parenting that really leaves a permanent mark – just as in real life.
Act one, scene one begins in Bagel Heaven, where Dottie Messersmidt (Colette Freedman) and her mother Irma Messersmidt (Donna Luisa Guinan) arrive for bagels and kippers. Is this the place for bagels or kippers? Well, this is still to be determined, because each bagel joint has its own specialty and Irma Messersmidt needs to know what to order! But this is not the tragedy of the piece. We only think it might be.
Enter the Fleisher family. Malvin (Danny Lippin) has an announcement to make to his parents, Stanley (Stan Kelly) and Edith (Suzanne Voss). Malvin announces that he and his wife, Ruthie (Jade Sealey), will be having a baby.
It doesn't seem like Ruthie is at all aware of this revelation. Nonetheless, the parents are ecstatic, especially Stanley, who seems to fantasize about his daughter-in-law naked. Yes, this play is odd.
During all the trauma drama, bagel waitress Zola (Sundeep Morrison) is falling apart because she and her boyfriend broke up due to “control' issues. Zola is emotionally distraught and cannot even bring herself to take the orders of her customers.
Stanley recognizes Irma as being “from across the court,” and propositions her when the rest of his family goes outside to the car. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.
They end up meeting at another restaurant, Bageland. Guess who's waiting tables there? Yep, it's Zola's boyfriend Delbert (George Frangides), who is also completely broken down from the potential separation.
The second act takes place in a Palm Beach jail. Malvin has been incarcerated for allegedly burning down Bagel Heaven. Larry Bailowitz (Jack Sundmacher), the amateur hit man hired by Malvin's wife Ruthie, shows up (with Ruthie) to terminate the felon and all tsuris breaks loose.
Morrison as Zola is definitely the standout in this piece. Audience members awaited her return to the stage each time she left. The play itself is OK. It's a play to which you can bring the parents and other family members.
Nothing life changing-here, just a few laughs that can kill some time for you during an uneventful evening. Most performances are fine and the humour ranges from awkward to cute.
It's fantastic to see original theatre in the greater Toluca Lake area. And Jewish comedies are often well-received. I'm sure this one will do just fine.
But adding a bit more substance, or material we can all relate to, may help in gathering more success piles from the locals. Keep it up, folks, and there will be an audience for you.
Sidewalk Studio Theatre is located at 4150 Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. Show times are Fri and Sat at 8 p.m.; Sun at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, call (818) 558-5702 or visit www.sidewalkstudiotheatre.com.