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Diva Does Damage in ‘Molly’ at Victory Theatre

Posted By Karen Young On November 25, 2009 @ 1:13 am In Arts & Culture,Featured,spotlight,Theater | 1 Comment

AmyLyons90BY AMY LYONS

The love triangle at the heart of Simon Gray’s “Molly” resembles one of the many seething threesomes crafted by Harold Pinter. Gray and Pinter collaborated often, and both lauded British playwrights died last year, but their work remains vibrantly alive. A production of Pinter’s “No Man’s Land” currently inhabits the stage at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, while Gray’s “Molly” is in the talented hands of the folks at Burbank’s Victory Theatre.

Moly

Giselle Wolf, Don Moss (seated) and Anne Gee Byrd in "Molly" — a love quadrangle gone awry. Photo: Tim Sullens

Molly (Giselle Wolf) is a sensual woman stuck in a sexless marriages. To be fair, Teddy (Don Moss), her aging, half-deaf husband, isn’t exactly neglecting his high-maintenance socialite kitten–showering her with anything his significant cash wad can buy–he’s just not going to make her scream between the sheets. But Molly’s libidinousness must be satisfied, lest she make feverish love to the booze glasses and cigarettes she constantly clutches. Enter Oliver (Max Roeg), the new hired help, a strapping young lad with nary a drop of sexual experience in sight. Hubba, hubba.

There’s a fourth player here, who threatens to turn Gray’s threesome into a   foursome, but continually stops short. Eve (Anne Gee Byrd) is the faithful housekeeper, a woman of the same age as Moss. Her proper British manners, no-nonsense management style and borderline androgyny put the caretaker in stark contrast to Molly, but there are sub-textual suggestions that she might have longed for Teddy’s affections long ago, a desire that has cooled with age, but not ceased entirely.

As Molly and Oliver get it on, Eve chides Molly, while Teddy fails to confront his wife dead-on, resorting instead to passive aggressive communication and rage-laden outbursts. To say this messy lust-fest doesn’t end well is an understatement.

Wolf revels in her role, flirting mercilessly with every person in the play, click-clacking about the house in high-heels and girlish gowns. Her insatiability shows up all over the place, as she drapes herself across couches and stands suggestively in doorways. Moss, whose easy phrasing and unselfconscious manner evidence a natural acting ability, does an excellent job of starting out befuddled and ending up enraged. It’s a buildup that never falters along the way.

Director Jeffery Passero never releases the tension, and lets us see both husband and wife as alternately villainous and pitiful.

Through December 20 at The Victory Theatre Center. $22 regular seats, $34 preferred seating. 3326 w. Victory Blvd. 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 and is a member of the Drama Critics Circle. 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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