The Super Variety Match Bonus Round! Review - Risky Business

Acclaimed playwright Deb Hiett and award-winning director Cameron Watson have teamed up to present the premiere of THE SUPER VARIETY MATCH BONUS ROUND!, a hilarious take on some very serious subject matter. Rogue Machine artistic director John Flynn describes the play as “a fairy tale for adults” which raises a provocative question: Can hope change the world? This original play attempts to answer that question while keeping the audience involved and amused.

Bonnie Bailey-Reed, Victoria Ortiz, and Mark L. Taylor - Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Ernest (Erns) Eagleton (Mark L. Taylor) and his wife Margaret (Mags) Eagleton (Bonnie Bailey-Reed) have faced a devastating tragedy in their family. Now they must face another challenge as they try to deal with the fall-out and pick up the pieces. This “everyman” couple from “anywhere” USA – really stationed in Guano, Texas - is not trying to change the world. But can they change themselves? Can they rise from the ashes of loss and find purpose in life?

Mark L. Taylor and Paula Christensen - Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Enter Chrz (Victoria Ortiz), a vowel-less visitor who rents their spare room to visit a local rock concert, PasadillaFest. Even though the festival name is Spanish for nightmare, will a nightmare or a dream emerge – perhaps fueled by a little chemical magic? It’s pretty clear from the get-go that Mags has given up trying and prefers sleep to interaction. It’s also pretty clear that Erns is getting sick and tired of her half-life. Waiting in the wings is Dolores (Paula Christensen), a true magician, ready to wave her wand and tip the earth on its axis.

Paula Christensen and Bonnie Bailey-Reed - Photo by John Perrin Flynn

Special kudos are in order for Kerley Schwartz’s scenic design, which comes pretty close to playing a starring role in this epic. Jared A. Sayed’s lighting, Chris Moscatiello’s sound, and Kate Bergh’s costumes are superbly adaptable as the play swings into gear. Clever and subtle cues abound as the Eagleton’s attempt to get the world to stop spinning and let reality come into focus. Director Cameron Watson has a ball weaving fantasy and reality into a great go-to production. Spoiler alert: at its base, this is a very serious play dealing with very tragic issues. Smiles may sometimes cover up tears.

Mark L. Taylor, Paula Christensen, and Bonnie Bailey-Reed

THE SUPER VARIETY MATCH BONUS ROUND runs through January 22, 2017, with performances at 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and Mondays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Rogue Machine is located at The Met, 1089 N. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $34.99. For information and reservations, call 855-585-5185 or go online.  

Victoria Ortiz and Mark L. Taylor - Photo by John Perrin Flynn

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