The Rainbow Bridge Review - Crossing Over

Playwright Ron Nelson takes an uproarious – but also sardonic – look at family in his latest contribution to the Ruskin Theatre. When Jerry (Paul Schackman) brings his pooch to the vet to help the little guy cross over the rainbow bridge, he doesn’t realize that the spell may work both ways.

Paul Schackman, Mary Carrig, and Lynne Marie Stewart - Photo by Ed Krieger

Jerry is a happily married man with the ideal wife (Emily Jerez) and the perfect daughter. Even his law practice is going swimmingly, and he just succeeded in finding the loophole that freed happy-go-lucky gay arsonist Theodore (L. Emille Thomas). Life is good.

Paul Schackman, Jaimi Paige, and Mary Carrig - Photo by Ed Krieger

But what is life without the unexpected? Jerry has worked for years to repair the damage done by his dysfunctional birth family – from his wacky mother (Lynne Marie Stewart) to his boldly confrontational sister (Mary Carrig). And here they are again! Or their ghosts, that is. Somehow, they’ve found a way to return and plague Jerry’s current life. Throw in the gorgeous, sexy, and very horny veterinarian Dr. Stein (Jaimi Paige) for good measure – and Jerry’s life begins to spiral out of control. What to do when mom and sis demand that Jerry hasten the end for their enemy-in-life (Mouchette Van Helsdingen)?

Emily Jerez and Paul Schackman - Photo by Ed Krieger

The talented cast keep the romp moving, with special kudos to Jaimi Paige and L. Emille Thomas in their comedic roles. Director Michael R. Myers knows what comedy is about and helms the production with a sure-footed hand. Hillary Bauman’s set is simple with frequent minor – and sometimes unnecessary - changes in backdrop or furniture placement. Mike Reilly’s lighting, Chip Bolcik’s sound, and Sarah Figoten Wilson’s costumes add to the overall production.

Jaimi Paige and Paul Schackman - Photo by Ed Krieger

In a series of 4 to 6 minute vignettes, author Nelson takes the hapless crew through some very funny territories. With sit-com-like punches of humor, the seven cast members deliver some clever one- and two-liners which lend themselves to chuckles and even guffaws. Nelson has taken little time in rounding out his characters – instead presenting them as jokes waiting to happen. Don’t expect depth or insights from this merry crowd. The goal is laughter, and the play succeeds in reaching its goal. For a fun couple of hours, THE RAINBOW BRIDGE is worth a peek.

Emily Jerez, Paul Schackman, Mary Carrig, and Lynne Marie Stewart - Photo by Ed Krieger

THE RAINBOW BRIDGE runs through September 17, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, guild members, and seniors). For information and reservations, call 310-397-3244 or go online.

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