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Theatre Review (LA): Bellflower Sessions by Andy Bloch at the Whitefire Theatre

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Bellflower Sessions is an intriguing play by Andy Bloch that features some terrific performances. The play concerns a man who has been jobless for some time and has finally snapped. He is paranoid about everything and everyone and at the suggestion of his seemingly only friend, goes to see a psychologist. As it turns out she is more wacked out than he, they are a match made in hell, and both characters end up worse off than they were.

Rob Nagle is a wonderful actor and he really sinks his teeth into the character of Jack Calvin. Nagle manages to travel the path of his character’s total unhinging without once hitting a false note. The character has to go through lots of stages and Nagle is able to capture them all.

Dr. Wendy Bellflower is played by Stephanie Erb. Her scenes with Nagle are priceless and I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. Her character is so over the top that any real believability that such a creature exists is hard to imagine. She would have lost her license long ago. She mentally castrates her patient while trying to seduce him as well. When it turns out that the friend who recommended her did have sex with her on numerous occasions, Nagle’s character loses any balance he might have had. He starts imagining that his wife has been cheating on him with her boss (his ex-boss) and then violently confronts his friend accusing him of having sex with her too. It’s a messy plot, not very believable, but fun nonetheless.

Others in the cast are Meredith Thomas as the wife, Michael Monks as the boss, and Kevin Benton as the friend. Bryan Rasmussen directs with a sure hand. Bellflower Sessions was recently extended to Oct. 27 at the Whitefire Theatre.

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