Theatre reviews

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills Presents “Vino Veritas”

By Meg Taylor

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/26/17 – “This quinoa is delicious and your mother is a controlling bitch, it’s as simple as that.” Uptight and overly sweet Claire, portrayed by Kirsten Kollender, exclaimed this to her domineering husband Phil, portrayed by Daniel Kaemon, after drinking a wine from Peru that acts as a truth serum. The play takes place in Lauren and Phil’s Studio City home on Halloween night where two middle-aged couples prepare to go to their neighborhood’s annual Halloween party; Lauren and Phil are portrayed by Christine Joelle and Shawn Savage. Both couples partake in drinking a bottle of South American ceremonial wine made from the skin of blue dart tree frogs. This wine is given to couples the night before their wedding to act as a truth serum; they spend the whole night together to see if they still want to get married in the morning after knowing the truth about anything and everything. This caused complete chaos in the house bringing out all the skeletons these couples had in their closets.

This production had a very spooky vibe. Walking into the theatre, “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas played on repeat. Theatre 40 has an exceptional thrust stage that serves as a great setting for almost any play. The stage was decorated in Halloween inspired decorations and lights as well as an extreme amount of clutter consisting of children’s toys, empty pizza boxes along with other garbage, and candy. It set a very fun and excited tone for the show; Unfortunately, it didn’t maintain this ambiance.  From the very beginning, it was almost as if the actors were just reciting their lines and not trying to connect with each other. Because of the lack of connection to the script and each other, the play seemed to drag on. Hopefully this is due to the play just recently opening and further into the run they can connect more. “Vino Veritas” has many funny moments that the actors can work with to make an extremely enjoyable performance.

You can see “Vino Veritas” at Theatre 40, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, Thurs. at 8:00, Fri. at 7:00, Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00, next Mon. at 8:00. Ends October 15, 2017. Reservations can be made by calling (310) 364-0535. Admission is $30 and tickets can be purchased online at www.theatre40.org.

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