Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are back together. True love? Hollywood hype? How much control does a studio have in the private lives of its stars?
Raven Theatre presents THE BIG KNIFE. Charles Castle is a mega-star of Marcus Hoff Productions. He is a hot commodity. Marcus Hoff wants him to sign a 14-year contract for movie exclusivity. Charles’ wife doesn’t want him to sign. She is ready to divorce him over it. What’s the big deal? The studio has questionable business practices. Why would Charles even consider getting-in-bed with these bad guys? Because his celebrity partying has made him a hot mess and Marcus Hoff saved him from a major scandal. And now Hoff owns him. THE BIG KNIFE spins a tabloid-worthy sensation.
Playwright Clifford Odets penned this tale of Tinseltown corruption. The intricate disarray is based on Odets’ personal disenchantment with Hollywood in the 40s and 50s. Even though the set (Designer Ray Toler) and costumes (Designer Joanne Montemurro) are fantastic modernism chic, the story easily translates to contemporary times. The characters are identifiably sleazy and earnest. The conversations are timeless conflicts. Under the direction of Michael Menendian, this cast pulls you into their human drama. It’s the seedy side of glam.
In the lead, Jason Huysman (Charlie) is compelling as a train wreck. Despite his ongoing shameful mistakes, a transforming Huysman is likable. Huysman solicits empathy and gets it from his wife and the audience. Liz Fletcher (Marion) is stunning as the no-nonsense wife. Fletcher wears pride as elegantly as three inch heels and vintage finery. In other moments, Fletcher is heart-wrenchingly terrific. In comparison, Jen Short (Connie) is pure skank. A sexy and confident Short is the anti-wife. In a small but key role, Chuck Spencer (Marcus) is unforgettable! Spencer is perfect as a volatile, smarmy studio head.
THE BIG KNIFE carves a meaty story. Although it starts out slow, the build-up is a savory marinade. This prime choice is delectable.
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes two intermissions
At Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark
Written by Clifford Odets
Directed by Michael Menendian
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru November 11th
Buy Tickets at www.raventheatre.com