Theater review: 'That Perfect Moment' at NoHo Arts Center
May 16, 1969, is the date “That Perfect Moment” seeks to reclaim. No need to notify the principals of Charles Bartlett and Jack Cooper’s seriocomic play at the NoHo Arts Center, for it’s the sum total of their crafted situation.
That date, immortalized in the poster that dominates the home of Mark and Sarah Vanowen in “lower Van Nuys,” was when love-rock band Tthe Weeds played the Venice Pavilion. Pony-tailed Mark, lead singer, has arranged a reunion tonight, in an attempt to resurrect the past.
Sarah thinks differently, leaving him at the outset, and it’s soon clear that the Summer of Love isn’t quite as frozen in mind for his fellows as it is for Mark. Former bassist Albert and keyboardist Gabriel have their own issues. The wild card is now-conservative Skip, whose holiday letter sets the formulaic plot in motion.
Director Rick Sparks avoids tricking up the material, doing what he can to make the synthetic honest, and his cast is capable. Tait Ruppert keeps Mark sympathetic within the juvenilia; Bruce Katzman turns Skip into a solid foil. Guerin Barry wrings subtlety from Gabriel’s gay urbanity, Kelly Lester offers adept double duty as underdeveloped Sarah and agent Woodley, and John Bigham is a hoot as sweetly cosmic Albert.
Yet merely the hilarious video footage of the young Weeds (courtesy of designer Adam Flemming exposes unexplored narrative areas, especially given Sky Keegan’s zingy original songs. “That Perfect Moment” has its moments, but they don’t add up to much.
“That Perfect Moment,” NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Ends Nov. 8. $25. (323) 960-7745. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
-- David C. Nichols
Above: (Left to right) Bruce Katzman, Guerin Barry, John Bingham and Tait Ruppert in 'That Perfect Moment.' Photo credit: Ed Krieger