Theater Review: UK UNDERDOG (Zephyr Theater)

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by Joan Alperin on October 2, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles

HE’S NOT GOING TO THE DOGS,
BUT THE PROCEEDS ARE

There are many reasons to see writer/performer Steve Spiro’s entertaining and touching one man show, a powerful and emotional true story now playing at the Zephyr Theatre. Nicely shaped by director Ann Bronston, Spiro brings his childhood and subsequent years to life in a palpable way as he morphs from underdog to the inspirational person he is today. In a riveting performance, he convincingly lays bare how his life was formed by fortitude and self-regard.

As a young Jewish boy growing up in London, Spiro was bullied and beat up on a daily basis and dreaded waking up in the morning and having to go to school. He knew what terror awaited him. One day by chance, he wandered into a martial arts studio and from that moment, everything changed. Through intense hard work  he went from being bullied prey to martial artist, boxer, actor, community leader and animal rights activist. (All the proceeds from ticket sales go to a non profit rescue organization that saves animals from high kill shelters and transports them to loving ‘forever homes’ in the Pacific Northwest.) Dexterously and comprehensively inhabiting other people from his life as a UK Underdog, Spiro’s work is both affecting and extremely funny (especially when he describes a date with a girl named Jennifer).

Spiro originally developed the show in Larry Moss’s renown workshop of which I was a member. Small world — I was actually there at the beginning of his journey. He later took it to Pacific Resident Theatre where he is a member and worked on it for over seven years. It’s obvious with this world premiere that all of his effort has indeed paid off.

photos by Sue Eigenbrodt

UK Underdog
Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (START)
in association with Pacific Resident Theatre
Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave
Thurs-Sat at 8; Sun at 2
ends on October 28, 2018
for tickets, visit Plays 411
for more info, visit UKUnderdog/Facebook

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