Los Angeles Theater Review: WILL YOU SAVE THEM? (Loft Ensemble)

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by Tom Chaits on September 19, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles

BEYOND SAVING

The title of the Loft Ensemble’s world premiere presentation asks the question, Will You Save Them? Unfortunately the answer is, “I can’t.” While the production is not completely lacking in positive attributes, without a complete rewrite of the script, this journey into the dark side of human nature will remain a lost cause.

Bree Pavey in Loft Ensemble's WILL YOU SAVE THEM. Photo by JD Ramage.Playwright Bree Pavey’s take on the familiar horror theme of innocent victims imprisoned and tortured by sadistic evildoers comes dangerously close to being a success. However every time the plot appears to reach some sense of tension and some degree of audience involvement she fades to black. Many times the blackouts occur for no apparent reason and come completely out of the blue.  It’s as if Pavey (who also stars) couldn’t figure out what to write next so she simply turns out the lights. It would have been much more appropriate and involving had she written the script in real time allowing the action to intensify as the horrors increased. That approach would have also given the actors more to work with as their fear manifested into total terror and panic.

The cast of Loft Ensemble's WILL YOU SAVE THEM. Photo by JD Ramage.First time director (and the theater’s Technical Director) Tor Jensen Brown does a better job than expected considering the words he has to work with. He manages to keep the action moving and coaxes some good performances out of the cast. The company’s Artistic Director Adam Chambers fares best with a chilling portrayal of the cult leader Alexander. He is really creepy and completely believable as a person who is evil incarnate. Ms. Pavey also turns in a convincing performance as Alexander’s sidekick Delphine. The rest of the cast is fine doing their best playing the hands they’ve been dealt.

Adam Chambers in Loft Ensemble's WILL YOU SAVE THEM. Photo by JD Ramage.The set (a suburban garage), lighting, and sound design are credited to Mr. Brown, Ms. Pavey and Mr. Chambers and serve the piece well. Angela Santori’s stellar makeup and special effects design offers some very freaky visuals.

With Halloween just around the corner it’s a shame Will You Save Them isn’t the scare-fest it could have been. If you’re in the mood for seasonal torture you’d be better served staying home and watching any of the Saw movies instead.

photos by JD Ramage

Will You Save Them?
Loft Ensemble
929 E. 2nd St. in downtown
(corner of 2nd and Vignes – entrance to the theater is on Vignes)
Sat at 8; Sun at 7
scheduled to end on November 2, 2014
for tickets, call (213) 680-0392 or visit www.loftensemble.org

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