The Spy Who Went Into Rehab Review – Times Change

Satiar Pourvasei in THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB - Photo by Phil Cass
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Have you ever seen a James Bond film? If so, then you’ll appreciate playwright Gregg Ostin’s take on the epitome of twentieth century masculinity: “As a lifelong fan of James Bond, the movies and the books, as well as all things 60s era spy, I was musing on the character of Bond. I realized that he was an alcoholic, a sex addict, nicotine addict, and gambling addict.” Let’s look at some famed Superspy Bond performers. To quote Roger Moore, “You can’t be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is. That’s just hysterically funny.” Or Judi Dench from “Goldeneye:” “I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War.” But wait! It’s a new millennium. It’s 2024. Has James Bond become an outdated relic? Can this icon of toxic masculinity change into someone different? This question and more are assayed in the Pacific Resident Theatre’s comic adventure, THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB.

Rachel Townsend, Jill Renner, Satiar Pourvasei, Stuart W. Howard, and Alondra Andrade – Photo by Phil Cass

The time is now, and the place is a rehab facility somewhere in the United States, a place where an unwilling Simon Cross (Satiar Pourvasei) has been dropped by his boss Z (Cyndy Fujikawa). Suddenly Simon finds himself with a group of fellow rehabbers, all run-of-the mill addicts. We have Stella (Jill Renner), the group leader stuck with the thankless task of encouraging Simon to take a critical look at himself and, hopefully, decide to make important changes. Other group members include Gary (Stuart W. Howard), a quiet putz and your typical loser, Pixie (Alondra Andrade), a woman working on lots of daddy issues, and Yvonne (Rachel Townsend), a sexy broad with a sparkling smile and a big drug problem. Will this immersion into a newly “woke” environment meet with success? Whether it does or not, the audience is in for an uproarious evening of laughter.

Stuart W. Howard and friend Zsa Zsa – Photo by Phil Cass

Skillfully directed by Cyndy Fujikawa, THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB doesn’t miss a beat in this fast-moving, hilarious, look at the societal changes which have happened over the past 50 years. The cast is up to the challenge of keeping the chuckles flowing in this satirical study of our culture. The set is simple and reminiscent of the stark surroundings usually offered in rehab programs. This simplicity pinpoints the serious silliness of the production. There is a message – but you’ll have to work your way through lots of laughs to find it.

Rachel Townsend – Photo by Phil Cass

THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB will appeal to just about everybody who has lived through the significant cultural changes which have occurred in the U.S. over the past few decades. But if you just want to laugh and not go too deep, this show is for you too. As always, PRT has carefully crafted a winner.

Rachel Townsend, Satiar Pourvasei, Stuart W. Howard, and Alondra Andrade – Photo by Phil Cass

THE SPY WHO WENT INTO REHAB runs through July 7, 2024, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291. Tickets are $35 (seniors $25; students $12; student rush offered at door $12). For information and reservations, call 310-822-8392 or go online.

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