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Theater review: 'As I Like It' at Macha Theatre

January 5, 2012 |  1:00 pm

As I Like It
In "As I Like It," making its U.S. debut at the Macha Theatre, self-described "visionary poet, photographer, Genlux Magazine fashion editor and trendsetter" Amanda Eliasch turns her relatively interesting life into a notably ordinary performance piece.

Lebanon-born, England-raised Eliasch wrote the play -- curiously billed as "adapted for stage by Lyall Watson" -- produced it and designed the costumes. In a free-form monologue that hankers after Cocteau-like intimacy, the Woman (Elizabeth Karr) emerges from the skull sculpture on designer Trip Haenisch's elegantly fragmented set and shares life lessons with us. The daughter of an opera singer and granddaughter of a film director, veteran of seven years of drama school training and many inchoate relationships, including her father, this Eliasch surrogate clearly aims for a meaningful confessional.

Except the tacitly familiar tale lacks the traction it might have if Eliasch performed it herself. Karr, a competent actress whose quality merges Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Hutton, loses her accent and falls into singsong, though she withstands the outré black tutu-with-rose Eliasch puts on her and Lisa Zane, as the Singer who punctuates the text with octave-dropped arias.

There is talent to Eliasch's writing, and even wit -- "When a woman offers you pudding, beware. She wants to steal your husband." Charles Eliasch, her son, is a gifted classical pianist playing himself as the Boy.  Yet director John Alan Simon cannot do miracles with basically pallid material that verges on passé. A well-intended, self-indulgent vanity project, regarding "As I Like It," sadly I didn't.


More theater reviews from the Los Angeles Times

Theater Beat looks at the best of 2011

-- David C. Nichols

"As I Like It," Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays (Jan. 15 performance at 3 p.m.). Ends Jan. 15. $20. (323) 969-1774 and Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Photo: Actresses Lisa Zane and Elizabeth Karr in "As I Like It." Credit: Jesse Grant