The Dodgers Theatre Review - Don't Miss this Small Wonder

 

Like most young men who came of age in the late1960s, Mick (Asher Grodman) is only interested in the simple things in life: making love and music with a tight-knit group of friends. The make love part: Mick has covered with resident free-love goddess and quasi-steady girlfriend, sweet-hearted Patti (Talisa Friedman). Being a frontman of a struggling local band covers the making music part. His fellow band members are bassist Sidowsky (Jared Gertner), drummer Chill (Eric Nelsen), and keyboard man Simon (Corbin Bleu).

 

 

However, on this particular evening, Simon brings a television to band practice. Before they rehearse for the show they booked for the coming weekend, they all sit together in Mick’s garage and watch The Draft. Simon’s girlfriend Jane (Emma Hunton), an overbearing conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, arrives on scene too late to get a good word in on whether or not to watch. Ultimately she is the one who tosses a brick, destroying the television in defiance of the lottery, but not before both Sidowsky and Mick both learn they have been selected to go to war.

 

 

In the immediate days that follow both, the group of friend rally around Sidowsky and Mick, each one doing their part to help the doomed duo find a Dodge, a reason for the Draft Board to excuse them from being sent off to war. Patti’s help, Sidowsky opts to try the “psych dodge,” by going turkey-cold off of his recreational drug use. That choice of dodge is aided by his mental and emotional instability, triggered by having been chosen in the first place.  Mick seeks a dodge from a community clinic doctor that Jane works for. Known is commune circles as a doctor who has found dodges for many, the physician does find a dodge for Mick – for a very specific price: Patti.

 

 

The Dodgers is a story of five 20-somethings during what most of us fondly remember as a simpler time, and reminds us that the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll was actually quite a complicated time to come of age. While the show takes a bit to find its footing, once it does take off, it soars. Every cast member ably pulls his or her own weight to form an emotional, intensely loyal group of friends (and one Judas), all trying desperately to hide just how terrified they are about how The Draft has changed everything. All, that is, except for Sidowsky, whose cowardice and foreboding radiate from him in epically comic proportions.

 

 

The Dodgers is smartly directed by Dave Solomon. Solomon even-handedly balances the drama, the melodrama, the absurdity and the pain of this historic event through the talents of an extremely capable cast. Similarly, Playwright Diana Amsterdam captures the spirit of the era without being overly indulgence of its tropes. The play tackles the persistent divisive issues of race and class, and the fact that both exploitation and purity can be found on different levels of each. The Dodgers has unexpected depth, informed by youthful, strong casting choices. Well Done.

 

The Dodgers is running now through Sunday, February 28, 2016 as:

Hudson Mainstage Theatre 
6539 Santa Monica Blvd 
Hollywood, CA  90038

 

Photo Credit: Michael Lamont  

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