By Ernest Kearney  —    Shakes on the Rocks has a poor concept of what it wants to be.

Eleven actors prance out on the stage at the Three Clubs; request the name of a Shakespearian play from the audience.

Much Ado About Nothing is called out and accepted. The actors then draw the names of the characters they will perform from a hat and march off stage for ten minutes of rehearsal.

During this interlude, Creator/Producer James Ferrero engages the audience in a couple rounds of a quiz game regarding the Bard, which is complemented by a tension-invoking ditty right outa “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

Unfortunately, this  turns out to be a fun-filled prelude to a tedious 80 minutes.

“Shakes on the Rocks” Creator/Producer James Ferrero

Once the actors return to the stage they begin to perform with scripts in hand.

Yes, there are some accidents of the draw: Beatrice is a dude, Benedick is a well-endowed blond, Dogberry is a short little gal. Isn’t that side-splitting!

Wait, no it isn’t.

It isn’t anything.

If this undertaking was intended to be an improvised lampooning of Shakespeare, why are the actors holding scripts?

If it was intended to be a straight reading (which is a dull notion), why are some of the cast cutting up?

Of the eleven actors on stage five them – Robert Paterno, Andrew Yabroff, Acacia Fisher, Rob Angell and Cloie Wyatt Taylor were attempting a comic reworking of Shakespeare’s study of the folly of romantic egotism and doing so with some success, especially Taylor.

However the other six performers on stage appeared to be in another time zone, one where they were auditioning for RADA.

And not giving a very good audition.

Without any cohesion of style or intention the entire undertaking was about as amusing as watching a rehearsal of a high school drama class.

For ninety minutes.

Ferrero and co-producer Thea Rodgers apparently thought that merely having roles filled by members of the opposite sex would be enough to bring down the house in gales of laughter.

They are sadly mistaken.

With apologies to the five who actually had a clue, the first EAR WAX Award of this Fringe.


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Shakespeare on the Rocks

Is Playing During the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018


Three Clubs

1123 N. Vine Street

For Complete Show Information, Tickets and Reservations Go To

What is the Hollywood Fringe Festival? Click HERE to learn more.

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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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