Thursday, February 18, 2016


Kevin Symons, Matthew Patrick Davis,
and Thomas Hobson 

Photo by Sasha Venola
 The history of The Complete History of America (Abridged) is long and impressive.  First created by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor in 1993, the show has played in big big houses and in London’s West End for almost ten years.  Long, with the shortest bio in the program, is also credited along with Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield for the creation of this romp which surveys history all the way back, almost... to the Big Bang.   Three amazingly talented actors, Matthew Patrick Davis as Matt, Thomas Hobson as Thomas and Kevin Symons as… Kevin!  galumph their way through two acts of rag tag wonderfulness that takes us back to the sweet success of THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS, Jay Ward’s Fractured Fairy Tales, The Marx Brothers, Olson and Johnson and other ancient references that shout parody, satire and smart…  Smart…  SMART! comedy.  

Matthew Patrick Davis and Kevin Symons
Photo by Sasha Venola

For anyone who skipped American History Class, this show is a primer, sort of.   Where The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)  races merrily (and I think chronologically) through the plays of the Bard,  in  “History / Abridged,” the audience is treated to wonderful twists and turns with current topical references that must be updated constantly. Timing is everything and the actors’ timing is perfect, even when it isn’t! These three guys are having so much fun, sprinkled with subtle and disturbing “facts” (that may need checking,) that laughter explodes and along with familiar dates in our history is a great reward.

Brief memento mori reminds us of sad assassinations but, the story of Lincoln's demise is recounted by the mystery bullet to climax the first act: Kapow! 

Matt, Thomas and Kevin are consummate professionals. On Erin Walley’s imaginative set the three bring to life dozens of notables from not only American history, but, from the history of the world.  The fourth wall is seldom observed, especially when a late arrival, Greg, missed the first several minutes of the show. The guys have explained in detail at the outset what the whole show is about.  They stop and rewind to catch Greg up and then roll merrily along.   This is not unlike Peter Brooks’ MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at the Ahmanson many years ago where everything stopped as latecomers were ushered up to the front row and embarrassed by the Rustics.  It’s all in good fun. The laughs are genuine.    Two acts rush on: full throttle; outrageous and from time to time seasoned with stupid puns and questionable facts.  One slightly too long bit brought Hillary and DJT on stage for a Q and A with the audience.  The payoff was a question from an audience member who asked what DJT’s middle initial stood for?  “Jesus!”

Jerry Kernion’s direction is flawless which is no mean feat with all the rushing about and costume changes and all those words!!!

This is extraordinary good fun at The Falcon.  Do not, under any circumstances… arrive late! Unless, of course, you are up for some silly teasing.  Number One? Or Number Two?

By Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
Directed by Jerry Kernion
Falcon Theatre
4252 Riverside Dr .
Burbank ,  CA   91505
Through March 6, 2016
(818) 955-8101

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