‘Dream Big’ – Doesn’t Measure Up

By Ernest Kearney  —  We have seen many similar spin-types of this show, wherein one character is contemplating suicide; “Every Brilliant Thing,” “Suicide, Incorporated,” “’Night, Mother” and others.   

To her credit, Elizabeth J. Musgrave has seeded some poignancy in her narrative concerning the middle-aged, depressed Laura (Mandy Denaux) who has resolved to spend her last evening in the company of a male escort (Garrett Louis) whose life it turns out is nearly as ruined as her own.

Unfortunately, Musgrave has neglected to water her seedling or assure it received the needed sunlight to take root, and what she has presented as a play is, at best, an early first draft.

Denaux and Louis struggle to establish a believable relationship between their characters, but the storyline the playwright has provided them is not much more dramatically functional than that of a spider’s web.  And what some would regard as lazy writing to present Louis as a pitiable clone of Joe Buck, I’m afraid I regard as inexcusable.

bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

Laura Marlowe is lovely as the younger sister, but the potential that is apparent in her performance is squandered in the two brief scenes that have no dramatic function beyond being bookends; likewise Andres Solorzano and Michael Moret, who are hoods.  They enter like hoods, behave like hoods, and exit like hoods.  Cut them or employ them.  In a review of another Fringe production I’ve yet to write, I will be praising John Coppola’s direction, but not in this one.

For Denaux, Louis, and Marlowe’s valiant effort, a Bronze Medal.


Dream Big is playing during the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023
at the
Asylum @ Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre (SFS Theatre mainstage)in Hollywood.

For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Dream BigShow Information, and Tickets Click HERE.


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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 TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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