The Last Vig Review - Goodfellas, Circa 2014

Written and directed by David Varriale, THE LAST VIG had its world premiere at the Zephyr Theater in Los Angeles. This is “Goodfellas” after the senior years set in - with some very funny quips added.  

Burt Young and Gareth Williams - Photo by Ed Krieger

The times, they are a-changing – even for the mob. But aging Big Joe (Burt Young) isn’t ready to call it quits. Can his old friend, Jimmy “The Fixer” D (Gareth Williams) keep him in the game? Or his young, hip-hop loving assistant Bocce (Ben Adams)? Or will he sink under the juice he owes on the $100 K he borrowed? What's going to happen to the last of a dying breed? Do old Mafioso rise to the occasion or just fade away?

Burt Young, Bruce Nozick, Gareth Williams, and Ben Adams - Photo by Ed Krieger

The award-winning character actor Burt Young is THE LAST VIG’s secret weapon. As Young opined, “In my opinion, this play is like a living documentary…these characters are real street fellas.” Young has a long history of playing mob toughs and “rough around the edges” types. As Paulie, a plain-talking “man of the people” in all five “Rocky” films, Young was nominated for an Oscar. Happily, besides “in your face” Young, THE LAST VIG has managed to corral some other “Hollywood’s mobsters” to join him for a nostalgic romp.

Burt Young and Clint Jung - Photo by Ed Krieger

Big Joe’s hide-away office is in the back room of General Li’s Ho Ho Chinese Kitchen in Astoria, Queens. Joel Daavid’s set tugs at old memories of mob aggressive dominance, now perhaps gone to seed in the light of 2014’s changing views. Kelley Finn’s lighting, Will Mahood’s sound, and Mylette Nora’s costumes all offer faded recollections of past glory. The production team manages to evoke just the right note and set the perfect stage for the anachronistic goings on.

Bruce Nozick, Gareth Williams, and Ben Adams - Photo by Ed Krieger

The talented cast brings to life the poignant story of a man who has not kept up with the times, a man who lives with one leg in the past and the other barely grazing the present.  He cannot let go of the old days, and the world has marched on without him. The nostalgic humor creates a sad echo of times long gone. Were those times better or worse? That will be left to the audience to decide.

Cast at the Opening Night Party - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

THE LAST VIG runs February 19, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. The Zephyr Theatre is located at 7456 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $40. For information and reservations, call 323-960-7712 or go online.

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