Texas Family Feud Set to Country Music in “Ten Cent Night”

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amy110BY AMY LYONS

A sexy, hard-drinking Texan with an attitude, Roby Finley (Tara Buck) strums her guitar for cash in New Orleans dives, but she’s repeatedly incensed by audience requests to hear her famous father’s music. Roby has spent a decade running away from home and avoiding her father’s shadow, but when dad blows his brains out and Roby’s sister, Sadie (Alison Rood) sends word that she needs a life-saving operation, the wild-child musician heads home with stolen cash to finance her younger sibling’s hospital stay.

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Roby, played by Tara Buck, and Danny, played Martin Papazian

The play, “Ten Cent Night,” at the Victory Theatre Center, is a tale of homeward-bound journeys and family forgiveness. Buck shines in the lead role, playing the embittered musician with equal measures of grit and allure. She’s particularly compelling when sharing the stage with Caitlin Muelder, who plays Dee, Roby’s straight-laced twin sister. Buck and Muelder go toe-to-toe as their polar-opposite characters clash over past hurts and a man with whom they both fell in love in a past life. There’s another man in their present-day world, the smoldering Danny Doucet (Martin Papazian), a mute fan of Roby’s music. When Roby splits New Orleans for her Texas home, she’s followed by Danny, who is, in turn, followed by Roscoe Lamar (Gareth Williams), a crooked businessman who knows Roby stole money from Danny that actually belongs to Lamar. It’s a pure pleasure to watch Williams work. He embodies Lamar with smarmy charm and a mile-wide greasy smile that telegraphs danger just below the surface of his slick façade.

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(L-R) Dee (Caitlin Muelder), Sadie (Allison Rood), Holt (Shane Zwiner).

Secrets abound in this Southern road-trip tale and incestuous love winds up being part and parcel of the multiple family fractures. Capping the cast of offbeat characters is Holt Finley (Shane Zwiner), who’s a bit too amorous of sister Sadie, but agonizingly innocent and genuinely confused. Then there’s Lila Mozelle (Kathy Bailey), a dignified prostitute whose relationship with the Finley siblings and their late father is sketchy.

The play is well-acted and finely directed by Maria Gobetti, who clearly sees the humanity in every one of playwright Marisa Wegrzyn’s characters, even though their collective transgressions approach mountainous proportions. Despite all the dark shadows, the play is essentially a comedy and the laughs come easily.

Through July 26, at the Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd. Tickets: $22-$34. Call (818) 841-5421.

Amy Lyons is a professional freelance journalist and theatre critic, with a degree in Theatre Arts and English from UMass, Boston. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe. Her articles, theatre reviews and photos regularly appear in numerous publications, including the Beverly Press, Valley Life Magazine, the Santa Monica Mirror and www.nohoartsdistrict.com

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://la.foodblogging.com/author/maxmillion MaxMillion

    Great review! Sounds like an interesting play.

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