If four one-act plays about love are what your heart is looking for, don’t waste a moment in seeing Ray Ramos’ To Love Somebody, produced by Ramos and Stan Matasavage, and running through Nov. 18 at the Raven Playhouse in the NoHo Arts District.
This series of one-acts proves more compelling and engaging than last year’s The Big Woogie also produced, written and directed by Ramos and Matasavage at the same venue.
Jake And Clara, a well-done spoof of a Western romance novel begins the evening with laughter and true grit. It leaves the audience with an authentic feel of the wild American West and bad romance writing.
The Pleasure Of Purr Company, a story about a love triangle involving a cat, is by far the evening’s best.
Brilliantly written and wonderfully acted, though there could be less dancing, it is a small chip off Hollywood’s massive block showing in naked and vivid detail why so many flock to the neon lights and boulevards while so many others stay away.
The Girl In The Attic tells of a tour guide at the Anne Frank House who mysteriously meets Frank. The writing and portrayals are accurate and realistic.
They allow us to see that the world still has a long way to go before violence is subtracted and love added.
Dickabeth ends the night on a comical note as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor are reunited somewhere in the hereafter.
What is lost in the writing is found in the performances as we are taken on a wild and woolly joyride through the past by these almost cartoon-like big screen legends.
The direction by Ramos and Matasavage lacks little. It allows the actors the opportunity to embody their characters and immerse themselves in the writing.
In the end, it is crisp, clean and free-flowing.
Standout performances include the exasperated but very convincing Linda Slade (Narrator) in Jake And Clara; the sad, but boisterous pair of CJ Brady (Casey) and Alara Ceri (Pinky) in The Pleasure Of Purr Company; Peter McGlynn (Peter) and Carolyn Blais (Anne) for their sensitive and moving portraits in The Girl In The Attic and Ramos (Richard) for a hilarious, yet biting take on the film giant in Dickabeth.
But it is Kristel Kovner (Karen) in the second one-act who runs away with the evening in a spot-on portrayal.
Kovner is a juggernaut of an actress whose stage presence, voice and movement make her stand out on the Raven’s small stage. Hopefully, she will hit the boards many more times in theaters all over North Hollywood and Los Angeles.
All in all, To Love Somebody is an energetic and impressive ensemble of one-acts. To that end, you leave the theatre feeling as if you’ve seen four separate acts that nonetheless form a full and seamless play.
Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.
The Raven Playhouse, 5233 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 Tickets: $15Reservations: (855) 235-2867