The Complete History of America (abridged) Review - Horticulture and Much More

Congratulations to Reduced Shakespeare Company playwrights Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor, who manage to compress 5,000 years of American history into two hours of stage time. With a laugh every few seconds of those two hours. Beginning at the Bering Strait, extending through the Revolutionary, Civil, Spanish American, World I, and World II wars (with a few after and in-between) and culminating in today’s pre-election jitters, they really do touch upon almost everything that ever happened in the U.S.A. Then they throw in a little film noir for good measure.

Kevin Symons, Thomas Hobson, and Matthew Patrick Davis - Photo by Sasha Venola

 

And a special thanks to stars Matthew Patrick Davis, Thomas Hobson, and Kevin Symons who keep the hysterical ball rolling. Whoever knew that Washington, Lincoln, and Nixon could be so funny? It’s doubtful that they considered themselves comedians and never anticipated just how funny they could be at the hands of this talented cast.

 

Kevin Symons, Matthew Patrick Davis, and Thomas Hobson - Photo by Sasha Venola

Davis, Hobson, and Symons manage to cover the panoply of historical - or is that hysterical - figures inhabiting America’s history books. Neither age nor gender stop these very funny guys from trading their identities with these famous folks in a rapid-fire, mind boggling array. They even manage to invade today’s headlines as Donald Trump, alpaca hairpiece carefully coiffed, and ever-smiling Hillary Clinton enter the arena of public query. Audience participation is encouraged - if the audience can stop laughing long enough to respond. And if the audience can stop ducking as World War I water pistols shower them.

 

Kevin Symons, Thomas Hobson, and Matthew Patrick Davis - Photo by Sasha Venola

Director Jerry Kernion really enters into the merriment as he describes how his own experiences with his old high school history teacher helped him get a fix on what authors Long, Martin, and Tichenor were saying. Kernion keeps the action flowing and the various skits separate yet joined in this ongoing saga of America.

 

Matthew Patrick Davis and Kevin Symons - Photo by Sasha Venola

Erin Walley’s single set suits the play perfectly, while Jared A. Sayeg’s lighting bombards the huge flag center stage and Robert Arturo Ramirez’s sound amplifies and exaggerates the goings-on. And last but certainly not least, A. Jeffrey Schoenberg’s costumes and John M. McElveney’s props add immeasurably to the production. Amazingly, the three talented principals in this show make it look easy as they dart around in constantly changing costumes and wigs with musical instruments or weapons or who-knows-what in hand.

 

THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICAN (ABRIDGED) runs through March 6, 2016 with performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505. Tickets range from $36.50 to $44 with $29 for students with valid identification. For reservations, call 818-955-8101 or go online at FalconTheatre.com.

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