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Theatre Review (LA): London Scars by Richard Martin Hirsch at the Odyssey Theatre

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London Scars is like a good episode on one of the many television crime dramas. It is also a timely piece of theatre. A bomb has gone off and people are permanently hurt. One of these hurt is a young girl, Mary, extremely well played by Meredith Bishop. She has been sent by an agent of British homeland security (Rob Nagle) to a psychologist Bronwyn (the beautiful and talented Imelda Corcoran who reminded me of the late Lynn Redgrave) to find out if she collaborated with one of the terrorists (sexy Ammar Ramzi). Psychologist Bronwyn’s supervisor is her ex-girlfriend Margaret (an uptight Ann Noble), who is trying to get involved again and may even be jealous of the new patient or at least is using her position to put pressure on the good doctor.

The story raises some interesting thoughts about the nature of terrorism, the ethics of treatment of victims, and the nature of trauma and its treatment. Most of us have had a taste of terror after watching the Twin Towers collapse over and over and over again on television. The play won the prestigious first prize at the Reveerie Productions 2008 Next Generation Playwriting Competition and was a Semifinalist at the 2008 O’Neill Theatre Conference and the Stanley Drama Awards.

The playwright, Richard Martin Hirsch is an American but successfully captures a feeling for British suspense and mystery in this intriguing play. Hirsh is blessed by a wonderful cast, especially in Rob Nagle who chameleon-like switches roles a few times, and also by a very talented director fairly new on the scene, Darin Anthony, who successfully directed Bach at Leipzig earlier this season. There is also good work by the rest of the creative team, dialect coach Linda De Varies, costume designer Sherry Linnell, scenic designer Stephen Gifford, who designed a very serviceable but artful set, and sound designer Bill Froggatt.

I would recommend this show to anyone who likes classy theatre well done and is a fan of British mystery. London Scars plays at the Odyssey Theatre until June 27th.

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