The Artistic Home presents
Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes includes a ten minute intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
You can’t go home again… especially if you did something really bad to the Boss’ daughter. The Artistic Home presents SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, a classic Southern drama by Tennessee Williams. Chance has a plan to rescue Heavenly, his childhood sweetheart, from her mob boss father. His scam includes celebrity extortion. Princess Kosmonopolis aka Alexandra Del Lago is a famous actress on a bender. Dreading the reviews of her new film, Princess inhales oxygen, vodka, pot and pills to forget. When she momentarily comes out of her haze, she realizes while trippin’ she hooked up. And this cabana boy isn’t a what-happens-on-the-road-stays-on-the-road believer. Chance works a movie deal for him and Heavenly… ten years after their high school theatrical debut. He triumphantly returns home the conquering gigolo. The welcome he gets is unexpected only to him. SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH is a derailed journey back to the good old days.
‘Nothing comes after failure but flight.’ At the core of this play are two people trying to relive their youth. Kathy Scambiatterra (Princess) is outstanding as the has-been diva. Scambiatterra is hilarious straddling between panic and brutal attacks. She monsters the high strung actress type perfectly. Her voice is even marvelously husky from booze and smoking. The connection between her and Josh Odor (Chance) is purposeful regret. Odor is chasing his youth with practical delusion. Odor’s unemotional resignation to do whatever-it- takes-to-get-the-girl elicits sympathy for his short-sighted plan. When he’s drunk and trying to impress the hometown cronies, it’s a heart-wrenching performance by the village idiot. Hot and tasty Odor… maybe too hot (if there is such a thing). For all his hard living, the prodigal son doesn’t match his neighbors’ unattractive descriptors. In a smaller role but with a big presence, Frank Nall (Boss/Finley) is a deluxe combo of Godfather meets Daddy Dearest. He commands the stage and town with confident authority.
Despite the poignant performances of the main threesome, there is mumbling and fumbling without direction among the ancillary roles. Sometimes, the background music also adds to the inaudible dialogue. The supporting cast’s action seems stilted and not-thought out. Why would you look for a fugitive under a seat cushion? Still, mistakes aside ‘I felt something for someone else’ during the show. SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH is a bittersweet trip to the past made better by a princess, a boss, and a chance.
Without the burden of regretting his twenties, Dick describes the show with ‘Alexandra the Great.’
Production photography courtesy of Tim Knight
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
A few blocks down from The Artistic Home, we have a groupon to dine at Chen’s, 3506 N. Clark. More utilized for its Chinese take-out, Chen’s has ample space and ambiance for the dine-inners. Our server Andre recommends the staff’s pick Cabernet Sauvignon Bliss as a hearty, dry red wine. They called it: Bliss! We split beef dumplings. We order the steamed version as a low-cal option and Chen’s adds their healthier whole grain twist. Hot and tasty Od-dly interesting! I go with mu shu pork and Dick tries the Szechwan chicken. More than enough food, we fly the coop with no regrets to capture the sweet bird of youth.