Pomp & Circumstance and Sperm Warfare Review

Two plays, well done and very different, are being preformed by the Matrix Theater.  Written by David Rouda, attorney turned writer, both plays- Pomp and Circumstance and Sperm Warfare have more than a hint of legal misfortunes and laughter. 

Sarah Lappin(l.), Scott Roberts and Susan Spano in "Pomp and Circumstance"

The first play, Pomp and Circumstance centers around Zach Ebersohn (Jeremy Gabriel)  trying to fit into the oversized shoes of his successful attorney father, Max Ebersohn, (Richard Licata) who has done more than his share of legal maneuvers in and out of court. 

He is threatened with termination from his father's firm by Barb Watrin (Dorothy Gallagher) who is a force to be reckoned with and decides when attempting what he thinks should be a sexual conquest to take on the case of Randy Kershner (Robin Schild) a modern Orthodox older man and his young sex deprived wife Shayna (Sarah Pachelli) who have to prove their loss of sexual compatibility is real when Randy OD's on Viagra. 

Zach finds, however, that he is not up to the task alone and must rely on his father's partner, the capable Diana Altman (Ryan Driscoll) who knows just the legal tactics to take.  They cannot, however, let Max or Barb know because Zach wants to prove himself. 

Walter Williamson(l.), William Knight, Scott Roberts and

In pleading for a chance to go to trial, he is suddenly surprised that dad is allowing him on the murder case of an actor Samuel Robertson (Frederick Owens) who, while playing Othello, killed his Desdemona.  Zach finds he must be colorful and theatrical, just as Max is, and makes the right assumption when he accused Sam's friend, Morris Legrand (Dee Kevin Ace Gibson) of manipulating the situation. 

Despite the laughs, the ending is melancholy as Max is unable to accept his son's abilities. Richard Licata was a great Max  as both a playboy and an egotistical father as he battled the injured but controlling Barb (Dorothy Gallagher.).  Frederick Owens stood out as Othello/Samuel and it would be easy to imagine him playing Shakespeare's hero in the original play.  Ryan Driscoll (Diane) and Jeremey Gabriel (Zach) had great chemistry as did Robin Schild and Sarah Pachelli despite a few inconsistencies. 

Sperm Warfare -starring Alexis Corey as Deborah, Ryan Kitley as Blake and Tina Bruna as the nurse also had some funny moments as Deborah desperately tries to encourage her out of work, house husband to produce sperm at a clinic before her eggs deteriorate. 

Deborah and Blake dueling it out -Sperm Warfare

Her anxiety causes her to manipulate the nurse into showing herself so that Blake will become excited. But when he realizes that the nurse did not know that he was there, he starts to re-evaluate his marriage to this frantic woman. 

Having known several friends whose clocks were about to tick out, I could readily identify with both Deborah's frustration and her sense of mission as well as her solution.  Ryan Kitley's Blake was open and honest as Alexis Corvey's Deborah was serious and focused.  The nurse Tina Bruna was naive and fresh though you would think this had happened to her before.

Deborah in thought - Alexis Corey Sperm Warfare

Both plays are worth seeing and funny--but by adults only, pleasee.

Playing at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose, Los Angeles, in its initial run from March 3 to April 15,2007, tickets ($25)  are available by calling 800 838 3006 or online at www.davidrouda.com.

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