Thicker than Water Review - There's Plaster in the Pasta!

After 15 years in hibernation, Theatre West decided to bring back their earlier blockbuster hit and give today’s audiences a chance to join in the merriment once more. Tommy Corelli, a successful Hollywood television writer, receives a frantic call from his family in New Jersey - his father is fading fast. When he rushes to the East coast, he finds that the crisis is something quite different. Evil, controlling Aunt Gertrude has decided that she wants to take over the family construction business from his father.

Mary Garripoli - Photo by Charlie Mount

Aunt Gertrude feels that Tommy’s father is “a button in a velcro world,” and she plans to bring the business into the 21st century. Unfortunately, if she succeeds, the 21st century will find Tommy’s parents, brother, and sister out in the cold without jobs or a source of income. How to handle the dilemma? With true Italian Mafia thinking, the Corellis plan on eliminating the problem - for good. Chuckles turn into guffaws as several different plans emerge from different quarters - and only Tommy knows the big picture. His unwilling participation in the conspiracy - or is it conspiracies? - turns the guffaws into side-splitting laughter.

 

Connie Mellors and David Mingrino - Photo by Charlie Mount

Joseph Bongiovanni (Tommy Corelli), Mary Garripoli (Rose Corelli), Constance Mellors (Aunt Gertrude), and all the cast members turn in fine performances as members of the homicidal Corelli family. Playwright Roy Battocchio has a real feel for Italian family interactions under stress, and director Stu Berg manages to create a “little Italy” on Cahuenga Blvd. After a slow start, the action picks up with gusto.

 

Vince Palmieri and Mary Garripoli - Photo by Charlie Mount

As if the excitement of the play weren’t enough, on the day this reviewer came to see THICKER THAN WATER, Theatre West created a small fire to make for even greater excitement. Like real troupers, however, the play went on; and the cast did a bang-up job of ignoring the little problems associated with sparked-out light packs. Congratulations to the production crew for a great job of manoeuvering around a few setbacks.

 

Los Angeles Fire Department - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

THICKER THAN WATER runs through March 13, 2016 with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Tickets are $25 (at the box office), $20 (online), $15 (seniors 65+), and $5 (students to age 25 with identification). For reservations, call 323-851-7977 or go online at www.TheatreWest.org.

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