Magnus Theatre Brings the Silver Screen to the Main Stage with Completely Hollywood (Abridged)

“It All Starts With A Screenplay… And Never Let Facts Get In The Way.”

By Kyle Poluyko

In Completely Hollywood (Abridged), actors Chris Cound, Jerry Getty and Ari Weinberg portray versions of themselves, out to create what is billed as the greatest cinematic event never seen. In just under two hours, at an exhausting pace, these characters lovingly – with tongue in cheek – condense 187 of the most iconic celluloid moments into a just shy of two-hours delightful experience of Tinseltown hilarity. Written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, with additional material by Dominic Conti, the “rules” of Hollywood give way to a rollicking night of a theatrical feast.

Bound by certain, undeniable rules of Hollywood filmmaking, Cound, Getty and Weinberg come together in the hopes of creating a cinematic masterpiece. Each with their own ideas of what their tour de force should be, those rules and redundancies of filmmaking are explained with delightfully clever, playful and side-splitting lampooning of iconic scenes of the big screen. When their three screenplays become a jumbled mess, the characters avidly realize the combinations of their ideas are the exact product of the rules about which they have taken such care to educate the audience.

Embodying different characterizations throughout, Cound and Getty deliver solid laughs throughout. It is their unabashed willingness to be the butt of priceless jokes at times that enrich their immense talents. All three gentlemen deliver stellar comedic performances, with physical stamina that simply observing has the potential to exhaust. Yet it is Ari Weinberg who stands out with his estimable and heavyweight performance. Weinberg’s astonishing physicality is reminiscent of the classic physical comedy from the early years of Saturday Night Live alumni like Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. A second act, break-neck speed monologue by Weinberg is momentous and the epitome of superb training in his craft. Doug Robinson’s set design, a classic movie house proscenium and Hollywood sign that is amplified by a smart lighting design by Adam Parboosingh, is effective in its striking simplicity and establishes the perfect mood for this production. And while some parodied cinematic scenes may not be immediately recognizable, Mervi Agombar’s costumes ensure that those iconic moments are brought to mind quickly and effectively.

It is clear in his direction that Mario Crudo had provided the actors with a solid framework to base their performances on. What is also evident is the improvisational freedom he has given the actors to take their interpretations to elevated and delightfully hilarious executions of zany depictions.

Completely Hollywood (Abridged) is Magnus Theatre’s third Main Stage production of the 2012-2013 season and runs through December 8. Call the Box Office at 345-5552 or book online at www.magnus.on.ca.

Photos: Barry Wojciechowski