Review - HellCab at the Sidewalk Studio Theater

Christmas "Fare" for the Holidays


"HELLCAB" a Christmas Play by Will Kern and
Directed by Eric Johnson

Ask yourself, "Do I wish I had walked or does the subway suddenly seem more appealing?" "When do the barriers of passenger and driver disappear?" "Can the Christmas spirit really restore somene's faith in humanity?" and, "Do I really want to find out?"

"Hellcab" is a dark and comical look at society through the eyes of a Chicago cab driver (Bob Rusch), as he deals with a variety of passengers two days before Christmas.



Sidewalk Studio's intimate theatre space played host to this familiar production of "HellCab". Having seen this play performed last year--different theatre, different cast--I was not prepared to enjoy my evening as much as I did. The cast performed as if they occupied each of the 32 seats at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre. The performance was comfortably familiar, and at the Sunday show there was a turn-away crowd. The play unfolded at a good pace and the transitions left you with the feeling that the writer was actually in the theatre with you, watching as the funny, emotional, and thought-provoking play unfolded.

Looker: Catherine Davis Cox and Bob Rusch

Will Kern's affecting and hilarious Christmas-themed dramedy is eager to warm the cockles of your heart. Based on personal experiences to create the alternately frightening and ridiclously amusing roller-coaster ride, Eric Johnson skillfully directs the accomplished cast and keeps the timing smooth as the cab driver changes "Fares".

Crackhead Cab Ride: Broocks Willich, Chuck Raucci, David Ghilardi, & Bob Rusch

Presented by SkyPilot Theatre Company, who last spring gave us David Mamet's critically acclaimed "Sexual Perversity" in Chicago, and 2004's "Jerry and Tom" by Rick Cleveland, Hellcab begins SkyPilot's first full season, with another show scheduled for Winter 2007, followed by "Requiem for a Heavyweight" by Rod Serling in the Spring.

Shalita What: Diane Sellers, KJ Middlebrooks, Bob Rusch

Just as you thought there would be an omission as to "types" represented up comes one of the skits with Brooks Wiltich, Chuck Raucci, David Ghilardi and Bob Rusch with a "whacked out bit". With a carefully written and performed scene by Logan Alexander and Veleeta DaCosta with again Bob Rusch as the Cabbie a familiar story unfolds with great energy.

Pregnant Cab Ride: Logan Alexander, Bob Rusch, & Veleeta DaCosta

The entire cast of SkyPilot Theatre Company members are unquestionably talented actors. Logan Alexander, Catherine Davis Cox, Veleeta DaCosta, David Ghilardi, Benton Jennings, Rebecca Jordan, K.J. Middlebrooks, Chuck Raucci, Bob Rusch, Diane Sellers and Broocks Willich. Room doesn't permit, nor do I want to expose the reader of this review to more details.

A Religious Experience: Benton Jennings, Rebecca Jordan, & Bob Rusch

But, this is a play worth seeing from one who enjoyed participating in its' performance this week. There's food for thought here and definitely recommended for a little something different and interesting. Clearly worth the minimal price they are charging for admission.

Hellcab runs October 15 December 11th, 2006. Performances are at Sidewalk Studio Theatre at 4150 Riverside Drive, Suite D in Burbank on Sunday 7:00 PM, and Monday 8PM. Tickets are a suggested $10 donation. Running time is 70 minutes, with ample street parking and concessions available. For information and reservations, call (323) 960-4418 or RESERVE ONLINE: --Rutherford

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