Saturday, September 24, 2016


Judy: Sondra Mayer   Punch: Jimmy Slonina
School of Night is a local theatre company that wowed the community in the Hollywood Fringe Fest and after popular acclaim they're back at The Ruby in The Complex in Theatre Row.  There's no pretense about what's going to happen for about an hour. Forewarned that this show isn't for children of any age, Punch starts whacking verbally even as the curtain speech with some interesting back story is going on.  Then, as my old wrestling coach used to say, "It's Katie Bar the Door!"

Adapted and directed by Christopher Johnson the tight ensemble lead by Jimmy Slonina as Punch and briefly, Sondra Mayer as Judy launch into the down and dirty .. really dirty business of mayhem.  It's commedia and then some as Punch deliberately and methodically literally destroys first his baby (after a run in with his dog), Judy, and then the rest of the cast. Scatalogical craziness, murder by bat, axe, firearms and a chain saw fill the bill with non-stop action carefully timed and executed. The cast's adherence to a strict comedic style shows that this ensemble cares about the unit and the unit is tight and funny.  With the exception of Slonina, everyone doubles or triples at break neck speed, except when they stand stock still. They are Kjai Block, Tiffany Cole, Synden Healy, and Eric Rollins.  

Johnson's extremely stylized direction is made whole by the incredible foley talents of Ryan Beveridge.  Surrounded by a dozen instruments, Beveridge brings the entire romp to life with drum rolls, violin and sundry other sound makers that underscore the wild action.

The play is less than an hour in length and once rolling only 'takes a break' for emphasis that literally has the audience on the edge of their seats.   As individuals every cast member keeps to the chore.  Crisp and full of energy, they clash, bash, often doubling as koken who, bring props and facilitate the impossible.  Stage combat by Jen Albert is flawless.

This is a down and dirty romp.  Only back for a limited run, this one is for adult fun and it's no wonder the raves from the Fringe were over the top.

Adapted and Directed by Christopher Johnson
Ruby Theater
6476 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Through October 2, 2016
Tickets and Information


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