The Spy Who Went Into Rehab is a Spy Spoof with a Soft Heart

Renner, Pourvasei. Photo by Phil Cass.

And now, for something completely different!  I hadn’t been to the west-side’s Pacific Resident Theatre for some time, but last weekend I was delighted to find their theatre spaces humming with a gathering of productions in full swing.  I was in for a treat, seeing The Spy Who Went into Rehab — you guessed it:  A send-up of all our favorite spy heroes from James Bond and beyond.  Playwright Gregg Ostrin’s version features “Cross. Simon Cross.” (Satiar Pourvasei), the quintessential British spy who likes his martinis “shaken, not stirred.”  But instead of a case of derring do, we find him incarcerated in a rehab facility for reasons that are continually being reiterated and revised.

Playwright Ostrin doesn’t leave us in limbo too long, however.  We are treated to a series of flashbacks interspersed with sessions where we meet Cross’s fellow inmates.  Instead of Pussy Galore, we get “Pixie” (Alondra Andrade), along with the high kicking Yvonne (Rachel Townsend) and the odd man out, Gary (Stuart Howard, who admirably doubles as the super-villain, Lazarus Rex).  The sessions are overseen by the sympathetic “Stella” (Jill Renner), and, as the cast of characters settle in, we learn that nobody is really whom they seem.

Director Cyndy Fujikawa (who also appears as the spy-handler “Z”) makes the best use of the store-sized stage that has to double as a rec room and any number of amorphous locations.  But lighting designer Michael Franco works wonders with the few effects he brings to the piece. A note:  If you’re a fan of the theme from Goldfinger, you’ll love the song rewritten by Ostrin and sung to great effect by Ava King.

This send-up is so much fun that I wish it could go on to wider release, say, Netflix maybe?  Just a thought.  Be sure to cast your vote when you catch the play on PRT’s second stage for two more weekends.

The Spy Who Went Into Rehab continues at 8pm Fridays, Saturdays; and 3pm Sundays through July 7, 2024. Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. There is limited free lot behind building. Tickets from $35 – $45 ($35 Thursdays, 55+ Discount $10; Student Rush at door $12). For tickets and reservations call (310) 822-8392, or