You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Grunzunkle

That transitional period between life on Earth and one's eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater ("Steambath,""Don Juan in Hell, ""Carousel,""Our Town," etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, "looks a little like Bakersfield." Metropole has compiled a number of intriguing elements to spice up this spiritual journey but they don't really don't lead anywhere.

With:
Cast: Joe Cremora (Rattner), Hoagy Forrester (Sgt. Flo), Drew Antzis (Pvt. Butch), Tania Gutsche (Windy), Veronica Alcino (Harmony), Katherine Dwyer (Pam Pernot), John Larsen (Schopenhauer), Dwight Turner (Richard Richards), Bruce Fisher (Grunzunkle).

That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks a little like Bakersfield.” Metropole has compiled a number of intriguing elements to spice up this spiritual journey but they don’t really don’t lead anywhere.

Sgt. Flo (played at a one-note bark by Hoagy Forrester), the dense but enthusiastic Pvt. Butch (Drew Antzis) and the low-class but colorful janitor, Rattner (Joe Cremora), greet newly arrived souls in a nondescript room they call the “grand ballroom.” In the first act, this disparate group of characters tries to figure out why they are there and, of course, what will happen next. A uniformly competent cast gives credence to each character.

Katherine Dwyer as college professor Pam Pernot and John Larsen as a latter-day Schopenhauer are quite effective as dueling pseudo-intellectuals. Tania Gutsche is properly “clueless” as wide-eyed but motor-mouthed Windy from Chicago. Veronica Alcino literally dances off the walls as nubile, opportunistic ballroom instructor Harmony. And Dwight Turner is a tower of impotent, right-wing rage as arch conservative Richard Richards.

In the second act, the “savior” Grunzunkle (Bruce Fisher) arrives to instill order and pass judgment. Fisher, though almost larger than life as a physical specimen, plays this eternal judge in a benign stupor. He barely seems to be conscious, even as he is dancing a moderately competent cha-cha with a very willing Harmony.

Metropole is satisfied to have each of his character’s “hidden sins” exposed by the mildly amused Grunzunkle and then be marched off to “somewhere else” without judgment or insight as to what will happen next. Except for Rattner, played with a marvelously gritty irreverence by Cremora, none of the characters are allowed to grow or evolve.

Though he has proved himself in earlier works to be one of L.A.’s more unique theatrical voices, in this play, Metropole short-changes his characters and the audience.

Grunzunkle

(Metropole Theatre Works; 40 seats; $ 10 top)

Production: Metropole Theatre Works presentation of a play in two acts, written and directed by James Metropole. Producer, Michelle Sophia Sabol. Lighting design, Vena Laverty; sound by SounDesign. Opened Aug. 16, 1996; reviewed Aug. 18; runs until Sept. 29. Running time: 1 hour, 50 min.

Cast: Cast: Joe Cremora (Rattner), Hoagy Forrester (Sgt. Flo), Drew Antzis (Pvt. Butch), Tania Gutsche (Windy), Veronica Alcino (Harmony), Katherine Dwyer (Pam Pernot), John Larsen (Schopenhauer), Dwight Turner (Richard Richards), Bruce Fisher (Grunzunkle).

More Legit

  • david mamet

    David Mamet Says He Wrote a Play About Harvey Weinstein

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Hello Dolly review Bernadette Peters

    Broadway Review: Bernadette Peters in 'Hello, Dolly!'

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Music Theatre International

    Drew Cohen Named Global CEO of Music Theatre International

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Male Gallery Capsule Placeholder

    Korean Stage Director Lee Yoon-taek Accused of Rape

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Kings review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Kings' With Aya Cash, Gillian Jacobs

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Joan Marcus/Photofest

    Original 'Angels in America' Reclaimed the Stage for Ambitious Theater (Column)

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

  • Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of

    Disney Theatrical's Thomas Schumacher Accused of Harassment

    That transitional period between life on Earth and one’s eternal destiny has proved to be fertile territory for theater (“Steambath,””Don Juan in Hell, “”Carousel,””Our Town,” etc.). James Metropole takes a lighthearted, if somewhat unfocused, view of this situation as five confused individuals gather in a purgatorial holding area that, as one character describes it, “looks […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content