God Only Knows, the mystery thriller, written by Hugh Whitemore, and directed by David McClendon, is cerebral theatre at its best. It's like the DaVinci Code meets Sherlock Holmes, as we are presented with a most exquisite setting of an Italian villa, replete with ivy on the walls, a reflection of old wealth and glamour. There's a monopoly game going on, with high stakes, yet all in good fun, as two British couples (Chef Grissom; Pippa Hinchley; Wendy Radford; and David Hunt Stafford) enjoy their holiday, unbeknownst to them what will soon befall them. Charles is a frustrated novelist and Vin is a jolly chap, 'high on life.' All of a sudden, a thud of a car crash rattles the theatre audience, as a disheveled guy appears onstage (Ron Bottitta, in perhaps the performance of his career), sportsjacket torn, and donning pajamas and slippers. Much suspicion is cast on this downtrodden appearing fellow, but Charles seems fascinated by this mysterious stranger's sudden appearance. It is discovered that Biddulph (Bottitta) has uncovered a document, which purports to deny the authenticity of Jesus Christ rising from the grave. ( A most relevant theme for this Easter weekend.)
The victim (Ron Bottitta) is one of LA's finest actors, and the amount of memorization of in depth lines and dialogue, in only three weeks of rehearsal, is much to his credit. The theme of this play is so cerebrally concocted, that obviously the writer's growing enthusiasm and elaboration on the story is evident. The whole story is filled with intrigue and complexity as the plot thickens. Like the wild boars being hunted and poached outside their villa, Biddulph too is being chased by the priest who hired him (Father Enrique), and is recruited to work in the Vatican as a scholar.
Yet again, Theatre 40 has outdone itself with this production, brilliantly written by Hugh Whitemore, who has a storied background himself. It is a tongue in cheek dramedy, with dialogue so potent: "The only one who can figure this miasma out... is possibly God."
Through April 20th