Friday, December 5, 2014

Broomstick at The Fountain

Broomstick by John Biguenet

The Fountain Theatre in Hollywood chalks up another winner with Jenny O’Hara starring as “Witch” in the extended Broomstick.  
Jenny O'Hara as Witch / Photo: Ed Krieger
The last time I saw O’Hara on stage was here at The Fountain with her talented husband Nick Ullett in Steven Sachs’s brilliant “Bakersfield Mist.”  Sachs directs this one with a steady hand.  

I’ve always rejected the term ‘character’ actor because, in fact, every single character we’ve ever seen on stage or in the movies is a persona inhabited by a skilled (hopefully) actor who is acting out the part.  Jenny’s husband, Nick, actually played himself in his one person show, “Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard,” at the Matrix four years ago and in so doing, recreated himself to much acclaim. 

O’Hara takes Biguenet’s eighty minutes of rhyming couplets and spins them into tales: chilling and inquisitive.  At rise, Witch is visited by someone whom she ‘took in’ when he was a child and chides him for being shy. She goes on to tell how holding him off the floor by the hair of his head helped him calm down. This sets the tone for Biguenet’s couplets which O’Hara delivers with skill.

For over forty years on film, on television and on the stage, O’Hara has been a working actor.  She never holds back.  Indeed, in Broomstick, Witch, is an out there gal.  Witty and present, alive and feisty within her fairy tale hovel (brilliant Hobbit Hole set by designer Andrew Hammer, aided and abetted by Jennifer Edwards’ lighting that almost becomes another character in the play and Peter Bayne’s ebullient sound) where her story unfolds. O’Hara works her magic on an appreciative audience.

Witch recalls that she has always felt ‘misunderstood’ from the time she was a tiny child and goes on to relate an early romance with a beau whom she loved.  Losing him seemed to turn her toward discovery of her special powers.  The show has been extended, giving late comers, like me, the opportunity to see a well written show expertly presented in this, the 24th season of The Fountain. 

"Broomstick"  by John Biguenet
Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays
2 p.m. Sundays. 
Extended to December 14, 2014
Tickets and information: (323) 663-1525  

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