AMY & ELLIOT by Ryan Eggold – Gilbert Stage at the Stella Adler in Hollywood – Los Angeles Theater Review

by Tony Frankel on January 14, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles

Post image for AMY & ELLIOT by Ryan Eggold – Gilbert Stage at the Stella Adler in Hollywood – Los Angeles Theater Review

EGGOLD SUNNY-SIDE UP

Here’s a switch: in the ever-increasing saga of showcase-as-play in Los Angeles theatre, 90210 star Ryan Eggold has not only written Amy & Elliot, a genuinely funny play, but delivers a beguiling performance and manages to direct it with comical nuances that showcase the talent of his 3 co-stars. True, the sit-com plot stretches credibility with a premise as thin as the set’s cardboard walls (which shake every time a door slams), but it hardly matters that Eggold’s play lacks unpredictability and fleshed-out characters – it’s funny and the performances are enchanting.

The delightful yet somewhat mannered Alexandra Breckenridge and Eggold play lifelong best friends Amy and Elliot, who find themselves at cross-roads; Elliot, ever the slovenly slacker, suddenly challenges Amy to rethink her upcoming wedding to a stalwart doctor named Michael (Robert Baker). Afraid to make a commitment, Amy allows confusion to muddle up her thinking, ultimately ditching Michael at the altar (Baker is most convincing and enacts drunkenness with staggering authenticity). Enter sexy activist Jolene (Gillian Zinser, also of 90210) who will challenge Elliot to grow up.

Sometimes, a reviewer needs to just throw his notebook and pen in the air, and stop wishing for dramatic structure that is sensible (Amy & Elliot has plot holes aplenty) or artists who challenge themselves to be more than good enough. Eggold is so damn likeable, quirky and naturalistic; one can only wonder what he (and his fellow thesps) could do in a meatier context. In his program notes, Eggold states, “…you may laugh and you may enjoy yourself and that’s all we hope for.” Well, I laughed and mostly enjoyed myself.

Eggold also states in his writer’s notes, “[Amy & Elliot] came out of a desire to challenge ourselves…to return to the honesty and the purity of the craft that can be found in the theatre. And for me, as an audience member, nothing compares to seeing a truly incredible play that changes you and leaves you thinking. Now I’m not saying that experience will be had tonight….” Indeed.  Still, one hopes that Eggold will at least give it a shot next time around.

tonyfrankel @ stageandcinema.com

photos by Adina Doria

Amy & Elliot
scheduled to close January 30 at time of publication
for tickets, visit https://www.plays411.net/newsite/show/play_info.asp?show_id=2607

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