Basement Folly Review – Who’s Living Down There Anyway?

Caroline Westheimer, Tammy Mora, Michael Robb, and Matt Landing in BASEMENT FOLLY - Photo by Michael R. Saunders
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BASEMENT FOLLY is playwright David Datz’s maiden voyage into his first theater production – and quite an introduction it is. Theatre 40 proudly presents the world premiere of Datz’ new and often uproarious comedy. Directed by Carol M. Becker and produced by David Hunt Stafford, BASEMENT FOLLY is playing in repertory with another Theatre 40 comedy, “A Clean Brush,” with the former production playing during the week and the latter playing on weekends. Clearly, audiences are being encouraged to laugh their way through the week.

Tammy Mora and Kat Kemmet – Photo by Michael R. Saunders

Aubrey (Caroline Westheimer) has been very quiet about the family basement – until hubby Adrian (Matt Landig) decides to fix their kitchen sink and needs the tools which he stores in the basement. Suddenly Aubrey will do anything and everything that she can to deflect Adrian’s planned trip to the basement. Of course, Adrian smells a rat – and a very big rat it proves to be. It seems that someone showed up uninvited, entering through the basement door with the broken lock – and set up shop downstairs. Aubrey is sure that it must be a homeless person – or maybe her crazy sister. One thing is sure. Aubrey has absolutely no idea who’s been living down there for a few months – and who she’s been feeding every day. When daughter Alex (Tammy Mora) shows up asking to move into the basement after a falling out with her girlfriend Kim (Kat Kemmet) – and then childhood friend and currently homeless Ray (Michael Robb) pops in looking for a place to call home – a line begins to form for the nether part of the family home. This family certainly has something worth bickering about (as if they ever needed a reason). If you want to find out who is actually living downstairs – and whether the couple’s daughter or old family friend gets to move in – you’ll have to see the comical and very entertaining show.

Matt Landing and Caroline Westheimer – Photo by Michael R. Saunders

Skillfully directed by Carol Becker, BASEMENT FOLLY is graced with an excellent ensemble cast who know how to wring every chuckle from the audience. Special congratulations and kudos to author Datz, whose keen observations about families make for a hilarious evening of back-biting fun. When he was later interviewed, Datz denied ever having a basement – but did admit that watching his real-life family helped a lot in setting up the plot and characters. Datz’s style is reminiscent of the observer-to-end-all-observers, Neil Simon, another comic writer who could take simple everyday people and make them fascinating and funny. Let’s hope that Datz keeps writing and producing more plays.

Matt Landing, Caroline Westheimer, and Michael Robb – Photo by Michael R. Saunders

As always, the production crew did an excellent job of creating the perfect surroundings for the piece. Jeff G. Rack’s set makes just the right statement about this family, with Derrick McDaniel’s lighting, Carol Becker’s sound, and Michele Young’s costumes easily filling the bill. BASEMENT FOLLY is a clever comedy packed with laughs. At the same time, audience members may find that, despite their best efforts, they are reminded of their own family – with all its warts but still kind of lovable. For a fun-filled evening, this is a must-see show.

Michael Robb – Photo by Michael R. Saunders

BASEMENT FOLLY runs through October 26, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays. Theatre 40 performs in the Reuben Cordova Theatre (in Beverly Hills High School), 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Tickets are $35. For information and reservations, call 310-364-3606 or go online.


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