Park La Brea News / Beverly Press
December 20, 2007

'Love Loves a Pornographer' Serves Up Intelligent Farce

Mad About Theatre

Madeleine Shaner
If you're planning to go see Mr. Jeff Goode's marvelously entertaining play, "Love Loves a Pornographer", be sure to go early so you can get into that lived-in ambiance that will make you feel right at home. That is, if home is the lofty manor house of a wealthy Lord and Lady who have the means to surround themselves with dozens, maybe hundreds of original oil paintings, shelves built especially for knick-knacks, gorgeous ceiling-high mullion windows, a splendid resident lighting designer (Mr. Karl Gajdusek), and a butler straight out of a P.D.Wodehouse novel who can swoon on cue. Mr. Gary Smoot's scenic design is breathtaking; whether the Victorian oils hung in rows four-deep on three sides of the set, hanging from the flies, and extending along both Props Designer, Ms. Ali Hisserich, have to be the King and Queen of Thrift Shop wranglers. What an accomplishment! When this production closes, it will be necessary to write another play that can utilize the fabulous digs. The costumes too, by Mr. Paul Spadone, are elegant and strictly in period - not a ragged hem in the bunch. Anyone who sees as much small theatre as I do will realize why this paragraph starts off my review.

Writer Goode's well-chosen words (it's not easy to be literate and funny!) start the laughter early, when the very proper Fennimore (delightfully played by Mr. Weston Nathanson) announces - to an empty room —The Reverend Miles Monger (an unctuously oily Mr. Jim Anzide) and his wife, Millicent (the beautifully statuesque Ms. Johanna McKay). In this seemingly insignificant bit of business, there obviously lies a tale. Are the Mongers really invited for tea? Is anyone else invited? Why? Why not? What's at stake here? Simple answers come fast and slickly off lying tongues, so we're almost as confused toward the last scene of the second act as we were at the beginning. But we are helpless with laughter.

Lord and Lady Loveworthy (a coolly in-charge Mr. William Salyers and an elegantly bitchy Ms. Gillian Doyle) don't seem to particularly like each other; nor do they seem to honor their neighbors, the Mongers, as themselves. When Emily Loveworthy, the daughter of the house (the animated and sprightly Ms. Kathleen Rose Perkins), arrives home from America with her affianced Earl on her arm, (Mr. Matt Ford as a raunchy ranch-hand type), the complications become even more complicated. Which leads to some highly amusing, highly unlikely, uncompromisingly unexpected, dangerously revealing, cleverly constructed truths and prevarications, which are very obviously quite at home in a Victorian farce comedy, even if reconstructing them for publication or edification is not a viable task. Of course it gets very silly before it's through, but what else did you expect from a farce comedy?

In other words, you just have to be there.

Ms. Jillian Armenante, who directs, produces and supervises the sound design, has won awards from L.A.Weekly, L.A. Drama Critics Association, the Ovations, the Garlands, Theatreworld and Drama Desk, wearing all her hats, including that of playwright. She puts all her effort into everything she undertakes; her energy burns under this production.

The theatre on the hill, which was originally the Pilgrimage Theatre - still with the lighted cross on its steeple - is just up Cahuenga, parallel to the Hollywood Freeway. It's a beautifully restored theatre, just a few minutes away. And there's a huge, free parking lot! [Inside] the Ford, at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm (no Dec. 23 perf.), through January 20. $25.00, Sunday matinees are 'pay what you can'. (323)461-3673.

(P.S. The honorifics, or titles - Mr. Ms. were typically used in Victorian theatres)