There is a new paean to the detective films of the forties at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood It’s entitled ‘Sidetracked’ which abounds in tongue-in- check side cracks and raises the bar considerably for those who appreciate this approach to those not to be forgotten film noir epics of the era.
The annals ofHollywoodfilmdom are rife with the likes of such films as The Man With Bogart’s Face, Neil Simon’s The Cheap Detective and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. I wonder if anyone remembers Robert Sacchi in the first mentioned film with his uncanny resemblance to Bogart and how he would have been able to fill in the shoes of the inspector in this production. But to be truthful, James Gleason does such a great job in his portrayal of the gum shoe that no one need complain.
The premise of the show involves an array of different characters who are all victims of a delay in their scheduled departure at the train station and how each one of them may have a part to play in the murder of one of the train’s passengers. It’s a very talented cast that propels the story along as every angle of the case is investigated by the inspector in his wry and world weary fashion.
All the action takes place by the station’s bar, as the bartender, aptly played by Carlos Ciurlizza, deals with all the participants as they react over a drink to each other and to the inspector’s probing of their involvement in the case. You have the down and out matinee idol hilariously played by David P. Johnson as he reacts to his agent incisively emoted by Sondra Currie who seems to have a physical attraction to him but who is also aware of his shortcomings as an actor. There is the older couple who take on the goings on in their George and Gracie fashion (Bix Barnaba and Michele Bernath), as they try to figure out just what is going on. Rounding out the cast is Jamison Lingle who also excels as a deliciously clueless participant in this witches brew.
Sharon Michaels is right on the money in producing and writing the show. Ray A. Rochelle carries out with aplomb Ms Michaels’ intentions in directing the piece.
The Macha Theatre is at 1107 Kings Road… www.plays4ll.com…. 323.960.7724
The show runs through February 19 with performances Thursday through Sunday.