Los Angeles Theater Review: THE DINOSAUR WITHIN (The Theatre @ Boston Court)

Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE DINOSAUR WITHIN (The Theatre @ Boston Court)

by Sarah Taylor Ellis on October 13, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles

ACCESS YOUR INNER DINOSAUR

The Dinosaur Within digs up some curious storylines, but these fragments fail to cohere into a compelling narrative. In its West Coast premiere at Boston Court, John Walch’s play flounders in a fossil-filled fiasco.

Walch aims to cut across the densely-sedimented layers of time in a drama of mourning and loss, encompassing The Dinosaur Within by John Walch – at the Theatre at Boston Court – Los Angeles Theater Review by Sarah Taylor Ellisparents who have lost their only son, an Australian aborigine whose culture is dying, and an aging Hollywood actress whose celebrity is fading . Unfortunately, the connections made among these stories are tangential and forced. Michael Michetti’s staid direction further flattens the “dreamtime” of the script, in which these different storylines could more playfully intertwine and interact.

The Dinosaur Within by John Walch – at the Theatre at Boston Court – Los Angeles Theater Review by Sarah Taylor EllisThe emotional world of the drama also falls flat; the writer’s struggling voice pervades the play, rather than the individual and emotionally-engaging voices of well-rounded characters. Budding reporter Maria (Shauna Bloom) is perhaps intended to be the heart of the story. She is the most coherent link among the strands, not to mention the character most engaged in the act of digging – through her personal history as the daughter of a former celebrity and through the cultural history of a dying aboriginal community in Australia. Unfortunately, Bloom’s performance is stiff and stilted, as are the performances of most others cast members. Emily Kosloski is a notable exception; as the young starlet Honey Wells, the spring in Kosloski’s step and the confidence in her voice makes it seem as if she has just stepped from the 1950s movie screen.

The Dinosaur Within by John Walch – at the Theatre at Boston Court – Los Angeles Theater Review by Sarah Taylor EllisFrancois-Pierre Couture’s clean and clever scenic design showcases the historical layers at play: the actors tread upon a dense historical record, from dinosaur fossils to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The projected backgrounds – ranging from colorful Australian skies to 1950s film clips – are sometimes cluttered, but Leah Piehl’s crisp costumes are wonderfully rooted in character and era.

While the design is impressive as ever, Boston Court needs to bury The Dinosaur Within and start a new dig.

stellis @ stageandcinema.com

photos by Ed Krieger

The Dinosaur Within
scheduled to end on November 6
for tickets, visit http://www.bostoncourt.com/

Comments on this entry are closed.