By E.M. Fredric
PASADENA, CA (The Hollywood Times) June 6, 2019 – Gather: Surprising Stories & Other Mischief, created by John C. Reilly and Patrick Murphy with Reilly’s longtime friend and mentor – serving double duty as director. Logan Hone – as the One Man Band – keeps the pieces connected musically. Echoes of childhood await you in the intimate 99-seat Carrie Hamilton Theatre with open tickets. When the doors open, sit where you like, then enjoy the night from the balcony upstairs until the curtain calls or sit and look at the barebones stage of what feels like improvisational theatre about to happen. The cleverly directed 90 minute show blends mortality, morality and the fantastical with minimal props, costumes and music.
Tony and Oscar nominee, John C. Reilly has always been an extremely giving actor – his talents never overtake as he seamlessly immerses himself into and alongside the ensemble of actors cast in various folktales, myths and fairytales. He comes alive when his parts are tapped in as the others do. Reilly embodies what actors should aspire to be, immersive, great and accessible. One tale in particular took me back to a story my mother told me – of the young sister (Amie Farrell) and brother (Larry Bates) who flee their evil stepmother (Christopher Schultz) who puts spells on all the drinking water in the forest. The brother almost becomes a tiger and a wolf at various watering holes they discover and when he finally drinks – he becomes a fawn.
All of the actors play various roles – human and animals, sexes and sorcerers or witches and it’s a wondrous series of adventures to behold. Michael Dunn, Mary Grill, Alicia Adams, Madeline Wager, and Max Kleinman all stand out and lend credence to every role they’re inhabiting at any moment. John C. Reilly steps out with guitar in hand to help bridge the stories as well as the cast breaking out in dance and song or building an imaginary tree using their bodies atop simple black boxes.
Bubbling brooks, background noises and instruments come from the offstage actors to enhance the audio of a tale at any given time.
A night of merriment, murder, mayhem and love awaits you and it’s fiery – literally arsenic to ashes at times. Reilly and Murphy invite us to sit around the campfire and watch theatre in its barest and most successful form – where we see with minimalistic use of lighting, costumes, music and effects – an alluring and moving evening of theatre. One not to be missed!
Tickets for Gather are now on sale to the public and can be purchased online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-7529, and in person for the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Runs May 24th — June 22nd at 90 minutes with no intermission