Arts and Entertainment

Venue Offers More than a Meal

By Keana Rose Hilario ’20

Looking for an entertaining evening that includes dinner, a show, and even fog? I recently watched “Scissorhands – A Musical Inspired by the Film” while dining at the Rockwell Table and Stage, a theatre supper club in the Los Feliz Village.

Directed by Bradley Bredeweg, the technical production was unlike any theatrical production I have ever experienced. This was dinner theater. Although there was a centrally-defined platform where most acting took place, the whole restaurant was fundamentally the set. Some scenes were performed in the aisles or by the niches of the restaurant.

Unfortunately, my fellow classmates and I sat at one of the restaurant’s corners, causing us to not to fully observe all scenes of the play. Moreover, because there was no visual indication of the setting, such as painted sets or furniture, the audience must discern the setting through the characters’ actions or dialogue, special effects, and props.

For example, when the police attempted to capture Scissorhands, red and blue sirens blared throughout the restaurant. Sometimes, I found the scenes confusing especially when I had to order food or pay the bill. Also, fog was used numerous times to depict the story’s eerie atmosphere and Scissorhands’s emotional state. Scissorhands communicating with his inventor about feeling lost or finding purpose especially came with fog.

Additionally, dark costumes like cloaks and Scissorhands’s usual outfit enhance this production’s sinister climate. However, the other characters wore costumes reminiscent of those in 1980s American suburbs, imitating the original film and juxtaposing the mundane American neighborhood with Scissorhands’s uncanny persona. Lastly, light lit up the stage and always focused on the main characters, especially those who were singing the main solos. Light also assisted in conveying the dark ambience, by being dim or using colors such as grey or green along with special effects.

Most characters in the play were charming. All characters, except Scissorhands and his inventor, successfully conveyed themselves as perplexed, typical suburban Americans unable to understand Scissorhands. My favorite characters were the comedic trio of Helen, Joyce, and Esmeralda portrayed by Ryan O’Connor, Carly Casey, and Morgan Smith. They resemble one’s typical neighbors: Helen as the sassy gossip, Joyce as the sexually frustrated woman next door, and Esmeralda as the Bible-thumping conservative. All work together as comedy relief through exaggerated actions of welcome towards Scissorhands or outrageous musical performances. My personal favorite was their rendition of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” focusing on Esmeralda’s belief of being chosen by God while her companions believe she is too zealous in her beliefs and only following the words of a sexually frustrated pastor.

One flaw in the acting of the overall play was the almost nonexistent chemistry between Jordan Kai Burnett’s Scissorhands and Natalie Masini’s Kim. They are supposed to be “in love,” a major part of the original film, but there was no spark between the two characters. Instead, Kim seemed to be protecting a pitiful pet, not someone she loved. There were inherently no strong emotions of passion felt towards each other. Instead, their relationship seemed more like that of an abandoned puppy and its owner. Kim defending Scissorhands when arguing with her boyfriend is the closest thing to affection that I have seen throughout the play.

Lastly, all actors had stellar vocals. Strong soprano Dionne Gipson (Inventor), especially in the prologue, sang soulfully with a dramatic ambience thanks to the fog and grey lights. Furthermore, Emma Hunton’s Peg emotionally sang “All Apologies” by Nirvana to convey her sense of failure in raising Scissorhands which deeply touched me.

Overall, Scissorhands at the Rockwell was a phenomenal experience which I would be willing to watch again on a family or friends dinner night out.

The Rockwell Table & Stage Theatre Supper Club is located at 1714 N. Vermont Avenue in the nearby Los Feliz Village.

Image via Rockwell Table & Stage Theater Supper Club

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