Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Guardians s of Wonder at McCadden Place in Hollywood


Mizuki Kimura, Shio Yamazaki, Rena Kaneta, Stella Takasegawa, Emika Kamieda
Photograph by Bertha Rodriguez

Technical difficulties make the posting of this review almost impossible. However the craft and focus of this show's short run is impressive.  Hopefully it will get an audience. 

Please  see this show. 

I'm vamping now, it's a day later and the show is still a sort of wonderful jumble in my head.  

It's Hollywood Fringe Festival time. This means that every little space anywhere near Theatre Row is booked & double & triple booked for wannbe playwrights, producers, actors. Audiences are flooded with opportunities to see new Theatre.  

"Guardians of Wonder" features five amazing actresses; some rolling screens;  an adorable hostess who translates from Japanese to English.  Gurardians comes from Tokyo.  They'd planned to come a couple of years ago, but the dampanic made a mess of that.  Okay.. what is it? 

Take a bit of Kabuki.. no Noh that I know;  add  Japanese folk lore and   Kurasawa's take on samurai; stir in dangerously beautiful and talented women with weapons of personal destruction.  Factor in swords and knives and a wicked umbrella to faciliate the action. It is a very short program that tells of the metamorphosis of a shy young woman in pigtails who changes. And! There are the women whom you don't want to get upset!!  There is a kiss.

I've longed to see theatre dedicated beyond words.  This one has no words. It works!

The performance is short.  The stunts are studied and formal. The costumes are beautiful and ..well.. formal.. the delivery is delicious. I am unsure that  I could describe the story. It really doesn't matter. The presentation is so unusual, it's as much like visiting an art gallery as watching a show.

   The beauty of Guardians of Wonder is that we arrive at the tiny McCadden with no real expectations except the gorgeous poster art that is part Samurai and part Manga!  Indeed some of the special effects echo panels in manga graphic novels.

The performance is a little wooden, but because we have no idea what's going on, we take that as part of the show.  The actresses are beautiful and skilled in movement, part of a company of players, directed by Hiroshi Hosokawa.

Admission is free and actually very short. We experience the performance and a Q and A. The artists are translated by the lovely hostess all together it runs about an hour. There is an air of something special about the presentation: the individuality of the artists, the costumes (terrific) and the action..  

In the Q & A we meet the artists. They talk about the show and their characters. Each of the five women is unique. When they talk about their experience, even though it's mostly in Japanese, it's clear that the energy for the piece is deep within them. The bottom line is that I was thoroughly charmed by the energy of the evening.

For a completely unique and unexpected step into the East, go see Guardians.. It's a trip.

There will be two more performances. Admission is free, but reservations are necesssary. Tonight's house was full and a crowd was waiting outside for the next performance.   Check the times below and arrive early, as the parking in the neighborhood is a little tough.

Why spend an hour with Guardians? Because it's like nothing you've seen and the residual appreciation for how other cultures approach theatre will stay with you for a long time. 


Presented by Alicein Project.  

Produced by Masahiro Suzuki. Directed by Hiroshi Hosokawa. Written by Rena Kaneta. Choreography by Rena Kaneta. Lighting by Daisuke Sakakibara. Video/Sound Effects by Kaworu Asakusa. Photography by Kentaro Yamagishi. Starring: Emika Kamieda, Rena Kaneta, Mizuki Kimura, Stella Takasegawa and Shio Yamazaki.

1157 N. McCadden

Hollywood, CA  90038

Saturday June 3, 2023  8PM

Sunday, June 4, 2023  7:30PM

Friday June 9  6PM

Saturday June 10 9:30PM

TICKETS:  Free Admission reserve tickets @  The Hollywood Fringe Festival - the guardians of wonder



Saturday, June 3, 2023



The Ensemble
Photo by Jenny Graham
Picture, if you will.. another reality .. (in the voice of Rod Serling?) where the challenges of good and evil lurk in fantastic tunes.  "A moving picture (sic) fantasy?"  "Cosmic Visions (sic)? "

Open Fist in Atwater is full of surprises, not the least of which is this sparkly Broadway Musical: Starmites!  It's a 35 year old sort of high school show with broad characters and some sort of a message that is basically, good overcoming evil and all shall be well. 

The audience loved it on opening night.  

 Scott Peterman directs (and designed the expensive and impressive and workable set housing live musicians and glorious projections that keep the ball in the air.)  The energy for the good guys (The Starmites!) and the bad girls with dangerous hair and jungle talons (The Banshees) has an air of effort that I think the director may intend. We all know that this is a pretty good  show with a pretty good score and some cute numbers. Clearly cut good guys and  bad girls are sort of tongue in cheek and the audience is in on the joke.   

Eleanor (Talia Gloster who also plays Bizarbara and Milady) is addicted to grahic novels: comic books. Her mom Cat Davis (wicked also as Diva, the powerful witch), is fed up with Eleanor's apparent obsession and puts her library collection up on EBay! There's a bidding war!  Eleanor should be doing more with her life. Because of an SOS sent out from Innerspace by the Starmites,  Eleanor is drawn to this Other World as a Super Hero to aid the Starmites in their quest to defeat the Shak Graa (the resident villain and, darn it  whom we don't know plays the part!) to seek out the The Cruelty (a powerful floating guitar) and all shall be well. It's almost classic Joseph Campbell, heavy on the Camp.

There's a lot of exposition in the musical numbers. We meet the mostly lizardly Gollum, Trinkulus (Brendan Mulally), who signs on to guide the gang into a dark scary forest that I forgot the name of  to find The Cruelty.  Trink's headgear was an issue but no one seemed to mind.

Thanks to music director Jan Roper on keyboards in front of  huge projection screens that delineate the settings, the live music carries the day.

Lines like the Banshees singing, "We're workin' up our juices for your tender young cabooses! " and the broad presentational aspect set the tone for some Broadway fun.

Cast of Characters
Eleanor/Bizarbara...Talia Gloster
Mother/Diva ...Cat Davis*
Space Punk ...Bradley Sharper
S’up S’up Sensaboi ...Alex Hogy
Ack Ack Hackerax ...Rieves Bowers
Diggety Razzledazzle ...Jasper Wong
Trinkulus ...Brendan Mulally
Shotzi ...Sophie Oda*
Balbraka ...Lindsey Moore Ford
Canibelle ...Elle Engelman
Hollaback ... Sarah Martellaro
Banshee Swing ... Emily Rafala
Shak Graa  ... ???
Droids ...Jack David Sharpe

The Band

Keys ... Jan Roper

Drums / percussion ... Andrew Crawford



• Music and Lyrics by Barry Keating
• Book by Stuart Ross and Barry Keating
• Directed by Scott Peterman
• Music Direction by Jan Roper
• Choreography by Becca Sweitzer
• Fight Choreography by Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum

Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.

Previews: May 27–June 1

Performances: June 2–July 8
Thursday at 8 p.m.: June 1 (preview)
Fridays at 8 p.m.: June 2 (opening); June 9; June 16; June 23; June 30; July 7
Saturdays at 3 p.m.: June 3 and June 24
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: May 27 (preview); June 10; June 17; July 1; July 8 (no evening performance on June 3 or June 24)
Sundays at 3 p.m.: May 28 (preview); June 18; June 25; July 2 (no matinee on June 4 or June 11)
Sundays at 7 p.m.: June 4 (Gala Performance with pre-show reception at 6 p.m.) and June 11

FREE parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater.


  • All performances except Sunday, June 4 and previews:
    • General Admission: $35
    • Seniors: $30
    • Students/Children: $25
    • Family Pack (2 adults and 2 children): $100
  • Opening Weekend Gala Performance (Sunday, June 4): $50 (includes pre-show reception)
  • Previews: Pay-What-You-Want (minimum $10)
(323) 882-6912