Written and directed by the talented Del Shores, THIS SIDE OF CRAZY is a brilliant jaunt into the insane lives of four women as they face-off with each other. In this Los Angeles premiere, Del Shores admits that he was inspired by his obsession with gospel singer Dottie Rambo, a performer and prolific song writer. Growing up as a pastor’s son in Texas and surrounded by gospel music, Shores was weaned on the music of the believers – and was especially intrigued by Rambo, who wrote over 2500 songs and is considered by many to be the best gospel songwriter who ever lived.
Ditty Blaylock (Sharon Garrison) lives in her comfortable home with her daughter Rachel and her daughter’s husband, a man who has been in a coma for the past 25 years but still provides some stimulation and fun for his caretaker wife. Ditty recently found that that she is to be honored at a major televised country music festival – but the producer made one specific request. He wants her three daughters – known in their youth as the Blaylock Sisters – to reunite for a song from the old days.
The problem? Ditty has been estranged from her daughters for years and hasn’t even seen two of them for a quarter of a century. Atheist Bethany (Rachel Sorsa) has taken to a bit of stripping and pole dancing to make ends meet, while chain-smoker Abigail (Dale Dickey) has spent the past 25 years in an insane asylum following her attempted murder of Rachel’s comatose husband. Rachel (Bobbie Eakes) has found a new and more interesting career as a You Tube Christian counselor as she grits her teeth and bears it while living in her mother’s home. In fact, none of the four women can stand to be in each other’s company. But Ditty is driven by her desire to have the music world honor her. Using a bit of financial trickery and lots of cunning manipulation, Ditty manages to get her three daughters to half-heartedly agree to appear. And then the sparks begin to fly.
THIS SIDE OF CRAZY is faultlessly written and directed by Del Shores with the invaluable aid of four very talented performers – one better than the next. Playwright Shores has managed to elegantly parse these women’s personalities and dig into their individual deep-rooted drives with compassion, humor, and flashes of the poignant. Tom Buderwitz’s scenic design fits right in, as do Shon Le Blanc’s costumes, Matthew Brian Denman’s lighting, and Drew Dalzell’s sound. As the Blaylock Sisters sing their signature song, it’s obvious that musical director Blake McIver is having fun with the gospel scene. THIS SIDE OF CRAZY is a not-to-be-missed production which showcases the talents of everyone involved.
THIS SIDE OF CRAZY runs through March 8, 2020, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Zephyr Theatre is located at 7456 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA. Tickets are $39. For information and reservations, go online.