Thursday, July 22, 2010

Joel Beers' analysis of True Love Lies just hit the O.C. Weekly, and damn if it isn't a perfect example of why we love Mr. Beers' writing. Not because he always has nice things to say about us (he doesn't, but we forgive him), but because his insights into what he watches are always sharply observant and expressed with a fine eye for thematic detail:
"[Brad] Fraser’s True Love Lies, while containing its fair share of sexual situations and one intense beating, is anything but brutal or seedy. It is a beautifully rendered family drama that, in the hands of director Dave Barton, feels keenly empathetic and sincere....

"True Love Lies doesn’t say anything new about human relationships, sexual or otherwise. They’re just hard. Always have been, always will be, whether that relationship is between two lovers, a husband and wife, or parents and children. Like anything meant to last, they must be built brick by brick and worked on to prevent from collapsing. But when those bricks are built on a suspect foundation, as they are in the marriage in True Love Lies, it doesn’t take much to topple them.

"There are no black hats or white hats in this play, just people struggling for something authentic in a world filled with disappointments and distractions. People who choose, for whatever reason, to play certain roles at certain times because they desperately need to reconcile their private passions with social norms. Decisions are chosen, compromises made and, on some level, fingers are crossed in hopes that the latest costume is the one that will fit the best for the longest time."
Tickets? Oh yes, we still have some. Take them off our hands, won't you?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jordan Young of the LA/OC Arts Examiner has once more done us a mitzvah by reviewing True Love Lies, which we are (SPOILER ALERT) quite likely to shill for again at the conclusion of this post:
Brad Fraser’s witty and provocative new play... sparkles in its West Coast premiere at the Monkey Wrench Collective in Fullerton. ... It ponders the essence of love itself, both gay and straight, and the cost of telling the whole unvarnished truth to those we love most.

Anthony B. Cohen gives a thoughtful performance as Kane, a family man who watches his life unravel bit by bit after revealing a long-held secret. Jill Cary Martin is superb as his understanding wife, Caroline; Sabrina Zellars adds spice and zest as their oversexed daughter, Madison. Rick Kopps excels as David, a face from Kane’s past. But it’s Christopher Basile who impresses most, with his portrayal of the angst-ridden teenaged son, Royce, whose acerbic humor masks the turmoil under the surface -- much like the play itself.
As promised, the shill commences: you can buy your tickets for True Love Lies right here. $20 General / $10 Students.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

And another review, this time from Backstage West. We're not trying to brag or anything here, but we'd be lying if we didn't admit to being damned pleased by all the praise coming in for this show. Did we mention that tickets are still available for this weekend's performances?
The text is a knowing combination of cynicism, wry humor and penetrating insights into human nature, and the acting styles of director Dave Barton's cast members mesh well, supporting Fraser's ideas while adding their own shadings... Monkey Wrench's production is an ensemble effort in every respect and a must-see for devotees of the art of theater.
O.C. Register critic Eric Marchese took in the opening weekend of True Love Lies last week, and has very kindly decided to publish his opinion for the world to see:
One might think that questions about the nature of love had been exhausted in centuries of literature and the theater, but Canadian playwright Brad Fraser always seems to find a new wrinkle or two to add to the issue....

Fraser pens insightful, often deep dialogue, yet his text is also archly funny, chock-full of terrific zingers... You won't find cheap, sitcom-style laughs in "True Love Lies," nor soapy melodrama. What you will find are numerous, dead-on one-liners sure to evoke bursts of laughter as well as private moments of such compelling emotional content you'll likely swallow hard and suppress a tear.

In a cast that's wonderful all around, [Rick] Kopps is outstanding in a complexly drawn, nuanced role – a worldly gay man who's as objective about himself as he is others. Kopps brings smiles, an easygoing manner and near-total candor to the role. His David exerts effortless command of those around him, harbors no illusions about life and has the healthiest ego of the play's five characters...

If the name of playwright Fraser sounds familiar, it could be because Rude Guerrilla Theater Company's production of his "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love" helped put [Director Dave] Barton and Rude G on the map (indeed, the play's characters include the youthful David and Kane).

If this production is any indication, Fraser's new work is now doing the same thing for the fledgling Monkey Wrench.
Tickets for True Love Lies are, perhaps not un-coincidentally, still available for purchase via our website.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Monkey Wrench Collective is holding auditions for the following role in Mark Ravenhill’s controversial black comedy SHOPPING & FUCKING, directed by Dave Barton:

Gary: Male, 18, should look younger. Gay male prostitute. Actor should be comfortable with nudity and explicitly gay sexual situations. British accent required, East End accent preferred. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition. There is some pay.

Rehearsals begin August 29. Show opens October 8 for an open-ended run. All other roles have been cast.

Auditions: Sunday, August 1, from 12 to 2:30. Callbacks are at 3:30.

Location: Monkey Wrench Collective, 204 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, CA.

Please bring headshots, resume and prepare to cold read from the script. Script is available via email from


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Arts Orange County's Rick Stein is back with another insightful review of Monkey Wrench's latest production, the West Coast Premiere of Brad Fraser's TRUE LOVE LIES:
This, the fourth Monkey Wrench Collective production, is the most accessible and demonstrates that its founders aren't wedded to any single style or subject matter as long as it is thought-provoking. True Love Lies certainly is that, but it's also the first comedy the new Monkey Wrench has produced (albeit one containing adult language and brief nudity).

...the bitingly funny dialogue punctuates each twist and turn of plot from almost the moment the play begins. But it's character-driven humor--not appliqued punchlines--that is fresh and insightful. The audience departed from the theatre wounded and bleeding from hilarious indictments hurled (mostly) by the two young characters, whose observations about their parents, their peers and even themselves were shocking-but-true.

...Director Dave Barton's staging is fluid, sensible and copes well with creating multiple locations within the confines of the small performance space. It's also very well-cast and acted convincingly by its five performers.
As ever, we are honor-bound to note that the production runs for another four weeks, and tickets can be purchased online right now.