‘Parallel Lives’brings provocative performances with wit, musings an morals
A review by Patti Pietschmann
Parallel Lives opened last night (Aug.26)at the Falcon Theatre to a sell out crowd. Considering it is one of the best ‘way off Broadway’ shows I ever saw, that’s understandable. What comes to mind is’something different this way comes,’ as this most unusual and cleverly-written production comes to life through two very talented actresses who captivate the audience with sketches that everyone can related to. The show opens with the two women bearing large golden wings and discussing, sort of, the beginning of life. The archangel-like figures ponder pregnancy and how to accomplish it. Should the man or the woman carry a child and where and how would it be delivered? You have to see the show to find the answer. Although you probably know by now.
Authors Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy’s script takes us on a mind trip through a pair of capricious supreme beings (Crista and Alice)who create an energetic, mirthful montage that makes fun of modern life while celebrating it. The two woman cast (Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter) proved perfect for the capricious odyssey portraying numerous men and women struggling though the common rituals of life. Each skit evokes laughter with Crista’s malapropos (“smile and the whole world sleeps with you”), the duo’s politically incorrect jokes and serious moments of death lightened by humor. “Make sure grams gets a window seat,” Crista says to her sister who will be transporting the elder’s ashes to the burial grounds.”
The script also hits home for some, with a well-acted bar scene between an over-worked woman and a besotted cowboy (played by Alice) that’s hilarious. There’s sibling rivalry with a twist, family matters everyone’s has faced, a very clever West Side Story parody, and much more.
Mo Gaffney by the way wrote and starred in the Kathy and Mo Show off-Broadway, received an Obie Award for his acting. Kathy Najimy also won an Obie award for her performance in The Kathy And Mo Show OffBroadway.
Crista Flannigan, who plays Crista to the hilt was a delight to behold and the perfect companion for co-star Alice Hunter who well plays Alice. Crista was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Evansville and a MFA from the University of California, Irvine.
Alice Hunter is an impossibly multi-faceted talent who almost steals the stage, but Crista’s performance is so sterling that’s it’s about a draw. Alice, who is currently appearing in Comedy Central’s Another Period moved to the US from Australia where she appeared in the TV series H20: Just Add Water. Since arriving in America she made many appearances on Showtime’s House of Lies with Emmy-Award winning actor Don Cheadle.
Parallel Lives runs through Sept. 18, 2016. Tickets cost $37 and $40 on weekdays and $42to $45 on weekends (from Friday). Students can get in for $30.
The Falcon Theatre was co-founded in1997 by the late, great Garry Marshall and his daughter Kathleen. The beloved Marshall, known as one of the nicest men in Hollywood, past away recently and will be honored by a memorial on his birthday Nov.13. The comfy facility has great stage vision and 130-seats.
The Falcon Theatre is located at 4252 W Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA, 818-955-8101.