By Ernest Kearney — Laura Grimaldi is a whirlwind of a performer with a winning mixture of humor and honesty. In Left Turns, her one-woman show, she slides easily into a host of characters (I stopped counting at 21) as she leads us through the minefield that Is her life.

She recounts a lot of psychic damage done at the hands of a small rogue’s gallery of villains from an early encounter with a pedophile neighbor, to abusive relationships with men as a young woman, to an older sister who convinced her she was “a weed” and made me thankful for being an only child.

While Grimaldi does an excellent job at keeping all the dramatic plates spinning, unfortunately her overloaded narrative disperses its potential impact.

Solo shows should not be approached like David Copperfield, when their structure is suited for A Perfect Day For Bananafish.

Left Turns, which packs in material for 2 or maybe even 2 ½ shows would have benefited from losing the “-s suffix.”

Silver Medal (via The TVolution)Grimaldi’s tale of her evil sister is the strongest of the segments that she presents us and, in and of itself, would have served as a firm foundation for the evening.

I have seen a number of solo shows at Hollywood Fringe Fest 2018 which, while holding great promise, and sharing a common denominator, begged more preparation to be fully stage ready.

Left Turns and Grimaldi display potential and great courage but could benefit from fine tuning.

And for those two virtues a SILVER MEDAL.

(Featured Image: Laura Grimaldi)

♦     ♦     ♦

Left Turns 

Played During the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018

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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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