×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tryst

Karoline Leach's period drama gets a first-rate production in its West Coast premiere at the Black Dahlia Theater. The two actors are each excellent, delivering emotional and detailed work. Robin Larsen's direction keeps the dramatic focus sharp, and uses the available stage space effectively. Unfortunately, the play itself, which begins promisingly, descends from incisive wit to meandering melodrama.

With:
George - Gabriel Olds Adelaide - Deborah Puette

Karoline Leach’s period drama gets a first-rate production in its West Coast premiere at the Black Dahlia Theater. The two actors are each excellent, delivering emotional and detailed work. Robin Larsen’s direction keeps the dramatic focus sharp, and uses the available stage space effectively. Unfortunately, the play itself, which begins promisingly, descends from incisive wit to meandering melodrama.

In 1910 England, George (Gabriel Olds) makes his way by conning women out of their money. The kind of guy who picks up roses off of graves at the cemetery to give to his dates, George specializes in finding lonely single women, romancing and quickly marrying them, then taking their money and making a swift exit. “Leave them gawpin’ ” is his charming motto. All seems to be going as planned with his latest conquest, young milliner Adelaide (Deborah Puette), when unexpected feelings of sympathy and love complicate his scam and threaten his livelihood.

Popular on Variety

Olds is memorable as the bluff if slightly down-at-heel George, referring to his victims contemptuously as “its” and presenting himself to the audience as a rakishly charming antihero. He manages to display the humanity, rusty from disuse, behind the hubris, and makes George more than a standard petty villain. Puette, however, centers the show with her moving portrayal of Adelaide, a nuanced perf of repressed emotion finally finding an outlet. She demonstrates the strength behind Adelaide’s supposed fragility, and makes the contest between these two characters more than equal.

Craig Siebels’ stark set, a series of billowing orange satin curtains and a few pieces of furniture, is cleverly reconfigured throughout the play, a mobile maze through which the characters must proceed. Joel Spence’s sound design augments the various scenes, from city streets to a seaside village, with subtle skill, and Audrey Fisher’s layered costumes help bring both the historical period and the specific characters’ traits to life.

Tryst

Black Dahlia Theater, Los Angeles; 30 seats; $20 top

Production: A Black Dahlia Theater presentation of a play in one act by Karoline Leach. Directed by Robin Larsen. Sets, Craig Siebels; costumes, Audrey Fisher; lighting, Mike Durst; sound, Joel Spence; production stage manager, Kelley Lund. Opened March 31, 2007, reviewed April 21; runs through May 20. Running time: 1 HOUR, 45 MIN.

Cast: George - Gabriel Olds Adelaide - Deborah Puette

More Scene

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker Honored at David Lynch Foundation's Women of Vision Awards

    Donna Karan, Mary-Louise Parker and Deborra-Lee Furness were celebrated for their charitable work at the David Lynch Foundation’s 2019 Women of Vision Awards. “We are all being guided to come together as one. There is so much chaos in the world right now,” Karan said, while accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual luncheon on [...]

  • Bill Hader

    Bill Hader, Greg Berlanti, Margie Cohn and Cindy Holland Inducted Into Variety Hall of Fame

    Variety’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony mixed comedy, gratitude and warmth at the annual awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Because the class of 2019 celebrates technical innovation and achievement across film, TV, digital, video games and music. The honorees — Greg Berlanti, Bill Hader, Cindy Holland, Dametra Johnson-Marletti, [...]

  • Billy Porter FNAA

    Billy Porter Explains Why Fashion 'Can and Should' Be Activism

    On Tuesday in New York City, a handful of fashion’s marquee names, including Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden and Pete Nordstrom, and many of its muses, including Billy Porter, Lena Waithe, Adriana Lima and Paris Hilton, gathered to celebrate the annual Footwear News Achievement Awards — or, as it’s more colloquially dubbed, the “Shoe Oscars.” Activism and the potential for designers to spur [...]

  • Tiffany Haddish Black Mitzvah

    Barbra Streisand Gives Tiffany Haddish Star of David Necklace for Her 'Black Mitzvah'

    Tiffany Haddish rang in her 40th birthday Tuesday night by celebrating her black and Jewish heritage with a star-studded “Black Mitzvah” party. One of Haddish’s famous friends, Barbra Streisand, was noticeably absent from the festivities, but sent the comedian a special memento for the occasion. “She got me this beautiful Star of David,” Haddish told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content