Climax Review - How Not to End an Affair

Playwright Lisa Phillips Visca has penned the perfect love affair - and how it went wrong. Inspired by the film “Fatal Attraction,” Visca decided it was time to take romantic comedy - her special interest - and add the quintessential seductress to the mix. What would happen to a loving family faced with the dilemma of sultry, secret sex? The result is CLIMAX, a thriller cum mystery cum love story. Hold onto your seats for a merry ride.

Andi Della Wagner and Ingrid Rogers - Photo by Cydne Moore


Max Madison (George Eddington III) doesn’t know what he’s getting into when he has a hot and heavy fling with Jade (Ingrid Rogers), the sexy and very available receptionist at his wife’s place of employment, a Malibu fertiility clinic. Wife Olivia (Andi Della Wagner) is in her 40's and wants another chance at motherhood before the door swings shut forever. She’s desperately trying to get pregnant via artificial insemination and has no idea that her best friend Jade is taking that “special” interest in her husband at the same time. When Olivia and Max get the joyous news that Olivia’s pregnant, Max wants to become a faithful and dutiful husband and expectant father - and so decides that the affair with Jade must end. All he has to do is explain and say goodbye - right? Wrong. Jade has other ideas - and revenge is right at the top of the list.


Amdi Della Wagner and George Eddington III - Photo by Cydne Moore

The plot swings between one little “random” problem to another for the Madison family. It appears that these events are simply a case of bad luck. Bad timing. Bad something... Max’s restaurant is shut down because of food poisoning that suddenly pops up in several patrons. Olivia becomes really sick and can’t seem to figure out why. Max’s adolescent son Jesse (Patrick Censoplano) starts getting more and more angry and unpredictable. Olivia begins to receive cryptic emails from “Climax” warning her of Max’s infidelity and suggesting possible girlfriends. Everything is spinning out of control in his perfect little life, and Max can’t figure out why. The audience certainly has its suspicions - especially if they’ve ever seen “Fatal Attraction.”


Barbara Keegan and Ingrid Rogers - Photo by Cydne Moore

The skilled cast keeps this cliff-hanger moving along as tension slowly builds up. Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie (talented co-directors) keep the suspense growing in a tale of escalating domestic horror. Christopher’ Beyries” scenic design encompasses four to five locations at a time to keep the action flowing. The entire production crew makes this an involving production which keeps the audience hanging until the final moment. This is a fascinating play for all you mystery buffs, especially if you like a little sex and seduction thrown in. Guaranteed you won’t find your mind wandering. The only possible down side in CLIMAX is the frequent scene switches - some lasting for only a few minutes. In fact, 17 scene changes are listed in the program. This may, of course, be the influence of television drama, where scene switching is an art. However, it may sometimes have interfered with the flow of the story.


After the Show: Andi Della Wagner, George Eddington III, Playwright Lisa Phillips Visca, and Dennis Michael - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

CLIMAX runs through June 26, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are $29.50 with some discounts available. For information and reservations, call 310-394-9779 ext. 1 or 2 or go online at


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