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Kayte Deioma

Grand Delusion - History Meets Comic Fantasy

By November 18, 2007

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Cast of Grand DelusionOne of the unexpected benefits of the writer's strike is that TV actors who couldn't normally afford to take time off to do stage productions can suddenly squeeze in a short-run play. This is a bonus, when small theatre productions like Red dog Squadron's Grand Delusion, which opened last night at the Lost Studio, can reel in big talents. David Rock's black comedy ponders what might have happened if Tsar Nicholas II had sent his politically savvy stable boy to represent him at a meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm II and representatives of Austria, France and England after Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914. Could a Russian footman have prevented WWI?

Cast of Grand DelusionKurt Fuller (Ugly Betty, Anger Management, Scary Movie) is brilliant as the lunatic Kaiser. Xander Berkeley (24) is fully transformed into the scatty Tzar Nicholas. I would never have recognized him as the same actor who played George Mason on 24, he disappeared so completely into character. The duo of Timothy Omundson (Judging Amy, Psych) and Eric Stonestreet (Bones, CSI) are perfect melodramatic imbeciles as Count Rumpledorf of Austria and General Foufou of France. Amanda Detmer, as England's Duchess of Shrewsbury, managed to pull off the heroic vamp after a few minutes finding her way into character. Brad Raider, (co-founder, co-producer) was an effective dramatic foil as the reluctant Russian diplomat, trying to speak reason to madness.

The action is highly entertaining, from the inbred royal family squabbles, to the disputed national origin of the gingerbread cookie and the superfluous introduction of a vaudevillian rubber chicken. Even if you didn't pay any attention in world history class, the show is a lot of fun.

When: Nov 17 - December 15, 2007, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm
Where: The Lost Studio, 130 S. LaBrea, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cost: $22.50 online including service charge, $20 cash at the door
Parking: Street parking
Info: www.reddogsquadron.com
Note: The Lost Studio is one of LA's nicer hole-in-the-wall theatres. It is on the 2nd floor of a storefront on South LaBrea and is not wheelchair accessible.

Photo by Ed Krieger courtesy of Red Dog Squadron's Grand Delusion
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