Now running at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum at 1419 Topanga Cyn Road, Topanga, is the uproarious comedy "The Royal Family," the center piece of the 40th Anniversary season of the Summer Repertory.
The Cavendishes are (like the Barrymores) the first family of the American stage. There's the old matriarch Fanny Cavendish (Ellen Geer) and daughter Julie (Melora Marshall) and granddaughter Gwen (Willow Geer) around whose lives the play revolves as each of the women try to decide the future that is best for them and Gwen realizes that despite her desire to be "normal" acting is in her blood. (These three women are part of the Geer family theatre dynasty and it's fitting that they play these roles.)
Watch the family interactions as they try to deal with their long lost Hollywood brother, Tony and their manager Oliver or the other actors Herbert and his wife Kitty. Also in the cast are manager Oscar Wolf (Alan Blumenfeld), Tony Cavendish (Aaron Hendry,) Gilbert Marshall - Julie's finance (Bill Gunther,) Perry Stewart - Gwen's finance/husband (Andy Stokan,) Della, the maid (Earnestine Phillips), McDermott (Alexander Aguila,) Miss Peake (Mannette Antrill,) Herbert Dean (Tim Halligan,) and his wife Kitty (Abby Craden.) Servants included Jessica Butsenshon, Dane Oliver, Edward Gallogly, Chauffeur - Setareki Wainquito, Cook - Christopher Weir, and Jo - Frank Weidner.
The phenomenal acting made you feel as if you really were part of the family and the costumes by Shon LeBlanc were amazingly true to the time period.
Directed by Susan Angelo and assisted by Christopher W Jones, the play was stage managed by Kim Cameron who was assisted by Morgan Dingle. Ashton Williams handled the props while Ian Flanders did the sound and Zach Moore assisted by Lauren Tietz handled the lights.
Written in 1927 by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, as a comedy of theatrical manners, it's wisdom rings true even for today. I particularly enjoyed the line by Fanny when Gwen wanted to marry - "Marriage isn't a career, it's an incident."
The play runs only until September 28 on Saturdays and Sundays. In between they present several wonderful Shakespearian plays, as well.
The theatre is located halfway between the Ventura Freeway (101) and the Pacific Coast Highway. Parking on the lot is $5 but senior and handicap are free. There is plenty of free parking on Topanga near the theatre. Adult tickets are $25-35 (depending on your seats) while seniors, students and vets are $15-25. Children (7-12) are $10.
As the theatre is outdoors, it often gets cool in the evening, so be prepared with the proper clothing and you might want to bring a cushion for the bench - or you can rent them there. Picnickers are welcome before and after to bring food (though no food is allowed in the theatre.)
For a complete schedule of performances or to book seats call 310 455 3723 or log onto www.theatricum.com