Hollywood Party

Ben Miles Reviews - Theater

Two actors, Alberto Samaniego & Rodrigo Altamirano, receive an invitation to a party celebrating the 1921 debut of the movie, The Mysterious Lady, headlined by Greta Garbo and directed by Fred Niblo. It's not long, however, until Alberto and Rodrigo uncover the real reason for this Hollywood party: murder!

The above synopsis is gleaned from the press material. If only the unfortunate production of Hollywood Party had that much clarity and conciseness it perhaps would be somewhat bearable. As it is, Octavio Carlin’s premiere staging of Hollywood Party is a hot mess (Carlin wrote it; directed it; and did the costuming).

The acting is not only amateurish – with loads of mugging, poor enunciation, and shrieking line deliveries – the play, supposedly a farce, is an incoherent indulgence that seems aimed at promoting Carlin’s clothing line. In the playbill, Carlin boasts of having designed “all the women’s clothes in the play” and states that the items are available at his West Hollywood store. And while the color schemes of the outfits are striking, it seems that the material is hardly more substantial than paper mache. Moreover, the men’s wardrobe consists of makeshift tuxedos sorely in need of a good pressing.

Ricardo Mora Hidalgo’s scenic design is pleasant enough, evoking the sense of a nouveau riche mentality, but the players (there are nine of them; they’ll go unnamed in order to protect the innocent and the guilty) are under par and the story is a ridiculous contrivance. This is one Hollywood party to be avoided.

Hollywood Party continues at the Hudson Mainstage Theater through October 19. The Hudson Mainstage is located at 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard. Evening performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Matinees are Sundays at 3 p.m. For reservations, call (323) 960-4418. For online ticketing, visit HOLLYWOOD PARTY.