The Leather Apron Club Review - Not Every Conspiracy is a Theory

Written and directed by Charles Mount, THE LEATHER APRON CLUB is a political thriller that will send chills up your spine. Lines like “We expect our leaders to be idiots” and “Speak softly, but carry a .45" flourish in this tale - all the more frightening because it makes you wonder if this could be true. On top of that, the play is especially relevant in this, a national election year. It’s the perfect time for this world premiere to make an appearance.

Anthony Battelle and Karen Ragan-George - Photo by Charles Mount

 

What is THE LEATHER APRON CLUB? Supposedly founded by Benjamin Franklin and counting among its members many of the U.S. political elite of our early years, this is a very special club which has existed for over 200 years - and which just might have been dictating government policies and strategies behind the scenes ever since the Revolutionary War.

 

Adam Conger and Ashley Taylor - Photo by Charles Mount

Enter brilliant young media analyst James Avery (Adam Conger), who has been invited to a private weekend get-together by his boss, elderly and ailing Dr. Edward Reed (Don Moss), a long-standing member of the Club. In reality, Avery is being recruited for membership in this elite club by club president Grace Keebler (Ashley Taylor) and her illustrious cohorts (Roger Kent, Yancey Dunham, and Alan Schack). Avery is asked to bring a $100 bill with him but doesn’t know why. As the tension ramps up, the audience remains as mystified as Avery. 

 

Yancey Dunham and Adam Conger - Photo by Charles Mount

Meanwhile, firebrand talk-radio host Artie Stein (Anthony Battelle) warns his paranoid audience about the prevalence of government conspiracies under every rock. He even invites conservative Senator Emily Green (Karen Ragan-George) to the show for a pre-presidential chat with his screwball listeners. THE LEATHER APRON CLUB posits some intriguing and controversial questions: Is consequentialism justified? Is it possible to be both ethical and effective? Does privacy really exist? Is there a Santa Claus? The playwright very cleverly weaves the past and the future into the play - which takes place in 2001 just two weeks after 9-11.

 

Adam Conger and Alan Schlack - Photo by Charles Mount

The talented cast is uniformly strong in keeping this thriller moving under the able direction of playwright Charles Mount. From a quiet and prosaic beginning, THE LEATHER APRON CLUB explodes into a formidable exploration of politics as we know it. The “what-if’s” become scarier and scarier as the tale progresses. Jeff G. Rack’s authentic set brings us back to 2001 with ease. The entire production team does a great job of bringing this dark and stormy night to life.

 

THE LEATHER APRON CLUB runs through May 15, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Tickets are $20 (general admission), $15 (seniors), and $5 (students). For reservations, call 323-851-7977 or go online at www.theatrewest.org.

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