Kayte's Los Angeles Travel Blog
By Kayte Deioma, About.com Guide to Los Angeles Travel

Bradbury's Falling Upward at the El Portal Theatre
Sunday March 1, 2009

"Himself" came out to see Tim Byron Owen's new interpretation of his
comedy Falling Upward at the historic El Portal Theatre last night.
Ray Bradbury, that is. The play follows the adventures of the regulars
at Heeber Finn's Pub in Ireland, loosely based on Bradbury's experience
during a 9 month stay in that country in 1953 while writing the screenplay for John Huston's Moby Dick. To get you in the mood, the pub's patron's start trading Irish ditties about 20 minutes before the show begins - it brought back my own days of Irish pub crawling, now that women are allowed into the pubs...but I digress.

Pat Harrington as Garrity, walks in and out of the story as both narrator and player, introducing us to his boyos, who'd rather be at Finn's Pub than anywhere else in the world. Garrity is clearly the thinker of the gang. Between the high drama of a bicycle collision, the irreverent funeral of a local noble, and an unexpected visit from a passel of tourists, the boyos lift their well-trained voices in song as they lift their glasses - still a well-loved tradition in Ireland.

As we're enjoying hanging with the boys in the pub, they're confounded                                                         by the arrival of the unlikely band of Sicilians with a mystical purpose. The                                                       multicultural crew is a bit over-the-top, and the "moral of the story" rather                                                       blatant, but somehow with  the charm and whimsy of their interaction,
                                                    it is forgivable.

The boyos all seemed quite at home in their characters, many of them having performed in previous productions of Falling Upward, as well as having extensive theatre, TV and film credits. But I have to give a shout out to Abbott Alexander's Doone for putting his best into the Anthem Race, Michael Gough's Peevey, the ever-so-thoughtful crash victim and spurned singer, and Mik Scriba's Finn, the gruff, but lovable barkeep.

The Irish brogue can be a little hard to fathom, especially when the characters are speaking quickly and facing away from the audience, but it doesn't really hinder following the story.

If you get a chance to see the show, come back and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

When: February 26 - April 5, 2009, Thu - Sat 8 pm, Sun 3 pm, pre-show 20 minutes prior to performance
Where: El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601, Map
Cost: $30-40, except Feb 28 Opening Night Gala, $40-50, check Goldstar.com for discounted tickets.
Parking: Free parking in the school lot behind the theatre.
Metro: Red Line to North Hollywood Station (1 block)
Info: www.raybradburysfallingupward.com, www.elportaltheatre.com

Falling Upward kicks of a month of Irish-themed activities in LA. For more, visit my guide to St. Patrick's Day Events in LA.

Bradbury photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com, production photo by Ed Krieger, courtesy of The Sarah Fulton Group