Nonnie Bruce and the Power She Calls Love

Musicians: Marco Missinato, Massa Kohama

With:
Nonnie Bruce ... Sally Kirkland Michael ... Russell Lewis

Musicians: Marco Missinato, Massa Kohama

Sally Kirkland turns in an appropriately florid performance as mysterious Southwestern figure Nonnie Bruce, who is said by playwright Neil Tucker to be based on a real-life prototype. Though another actor, Russell Lewis, is on hand, the stage virtually belongs to the actress as she ranges from quiet reflection to evangelical fervor (the latter often with a maniacal Phyllis Diller cackle). It’s a real showcase for her, winning applause from the near-capacity crowd.

After participating in the bomb-drop on Hiroshima, Bruce’s first husband goes into shock with disastrous consequences, and sturdy pioneer-type Bruce becomes a nurse and truck driver. The mysterious death and something like resurrection of her 18-year-old son bring a mystical bent to her life. (The son is crushed by a 1,200-pound piece of metal falling from the sky, but later reappears to her, bringing a message from space aliens.)

Subsequent relationships with (as it turns out) abusive men ensue, but Nonnie Bruce is in touch with a Higher Power.

Tucker’s script has Bruce telling the story in the first person, with Kirkland aided briefly by Lewis, who occasionally interjects remarks in the persona of son Michael.

The music, played live by synthesist Marco Missinato and guitarist Massa Kohama, adds invaluably to the atmosphere.

Show, playing Sundays at noon, has been extended four weeks, through July 31.

Nonnie Bruce and the Power She Calls Love

(Theatre Geo, Hollywood; 99 seats; $ 10 top)

Production: Geo Hartley presents a staged reading of a play in one act by Neil Tucker. Producer/director, Geo Hartley. Opened June 5, 1994; reviewed July 10; runs through July 31.

Cast: Nonnie Bruce ... Sally Kirkland Michael ... Russell Lewis

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