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Theater review: 'Yellow' at the Coast Playhouse

June 18, 2010 |  2:06 pm
Yellow Whether writing about gay men ("Sordid Lives") or battered women ("The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife"), Del Shores has advocated being true to -- and standing up for -- oneself. With "Yellow," he too will have to live by that advice. 

At the Coast Playhouse, his new play, the first in seven years, is likely to knock fans off of their bearings, even if they've been paying attention to his gradual shift toward drama. Laughs, once so abundant, mingle more than ever with tears. Will his crowd stick with him?

"Yellow" is set in Vicksburg, Miss., where a high school football coach (David Cowgill) tends to go misty-eyed with happiness when in the midst of his family. He and his good-humored therapist wife (Kristen McCullough) are parents to a football golden boy (Luke McClure). Their daughter (Evie Louise Thompson) can be a pill, but her drama-queen tantrums are fairly entertaining. She pals around with a sweet kid (Matthew Scott Montgomery) who's almost always in residence, escaping a fundamentalist mother (Susan Leslie) he can never seem to please.

This cozy existence -- nicely symbolized in the suburban affluence of Robert Steinberg's set and warmth of Kathi O'Donohue's lighting -- is about to be shattered and the family's faith, in several senses of that word, tested.

Too much of the story is dictated more by the tenets of play construction than by in-the-moment honesty. But Shores, serving as his own director, reveals heart-tugging moments between the lines. Surprises abound, and the power is irresistible. We root for these people because we know them. They are our neighbors, our families, ourselves.

-- Daryl H. Miller

"Yellow," Coast Playhouse, 8325 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 17. $34.99; beginning Sept. 10, prices are $54 and $60. www.yellowbydelshores.com or (800) 595-4849. Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes.

Photo: The happy family, from left, David Cowgill, Kristen McCullough, Evie Louise Thompson and Luke McClure. Credit: Rosemary Alexander.

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