A collective of Southern California female playwrights and directors The Athena Cats presents the world premiere of ASHES TO ASHES, a hilarious romantic journey in the style of our favorite 30’s and 40’s madcap comedies. Written by Debbie Bolsky and directed by Katherine James, ASHES TO ASHES is the perfect light-hearted holiday show. You know that it will have a happy ending – and you’re not disappointed. It’s the trip getting there that will charm you – and have you rolling in the aisles.
Sara Moresly (Lena Bouton) is a card-carrying liberal who somehow got mixed up with Jefferson Campbell (Kevin Young), the perfect conservative. But their differences outweighed their attraction – and so their relationship died a painful death. But wait! Both had two very close friends who brought them together and loved having them in love. Their favorite and filthy rich couple met an untimely end and asked for one last favor from their besties – to scatter their ashes in each of the countries which carried fond memories for them.
So it’s off the Europe for Sara and Jefferson – even though they can’t stand being in the same room together anymore. Happily, they have a “guide (Michael Uribes),” who is going to make sure that they follow the couple’s will scrupulously. The carrot at the end of the stick (besides unfaltering friendship) just happens to be a huge bequest which will feather their nests for years to come.
But this is more than a physical journey. It turns out to be an examination of what really matters in this life – and how to get more out of living. Even though propelled by the reality of death, the trio of talented actors make ASHES TO ASHES come alive. Especially Michael Uribes, in his multiple roles tailored to each of their stops, keeps the ashes flying while Lena Bouton and Kevin Young demonstrate that true love may go dormant – but never dies. This screwball romp will make you smile – but also shake your head in agreement as the scenes fly by.
Director Katherine James has just the right airy touch to keep this frothy cocktail sparkling. Pete Hickok’s scenic design is clever and manages to keep pace with the breakneck scene changes as the trio travel to and fro. Kate Bergh’s costumes strike a clever note – most especially as Uribes changes character every few minutes. Stacy McKenney Norr’s lighting, Cricket S. Myers’s sound, Nick Santiago’s projections, and AFK Design’s graphics help carry the audience along with the festivities. ASHES TO ASHES resurrects a sometimes forgotten way of perceiving the world – as crazy and funny – but sometimes saner than it gets credit for. This is a great date show – and also a funny, breezy way to celebrate the holidays.
ASHES TO ASHES is a visiting production and runs through January 14, 2018, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays (12/21 and 12/28 only), Fridays, and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets are $30. For information and reservations, call 310-564-9410 or go online.