A HEAP OF LIVIN’: 95% – SWEET

Jayne Brook, Didi Conn and Lawrence Pressman in “A Heap of Livin’” at the Odyssey Theatre. Credit: Conn Pressman.

SWEET
Even beyond Shoenman’s smart and perceptive ruminations about how the heartiest of lives often devolve into dependency and fulltime nursing care, what this production has is a stellar cast of veterans, who are able to overcome some clumsy missteps.
Travis Michael Holder – Backstage

SWEET
This marvelous threesome, tightly controlled by director Mark L. Taylor, is augmented by the delightful Salli Saffioti as a young neighbor coping with having abandoned her roots as a Chasidic Jew. (She calls the sisters, who are Christian, “high goyim.”)
Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner

SWEET
The world premiere of Elliott Shoenman’s “A Heap of Livin’” benefits from a splendid cast onstage and multiple award winners behind, but with several false endings in the two-hour production, some efficient editing could tighten up this sad tale.
Gil Kaan – Culture Spot LA

BITTERSWEET
A rabble-rousing social agitator who wasn’t there for his children (or blacklisted wife, as we learn) is not a bad idea, yet the topical and personal issues as presented leave us awash in awkwardly arranged conflicts, precocious dialogue and some flat-out banalities. “A Heap of Livin’” has promise, but a serious rethink is required to bring it beyond post-“Hallmark Hall of Fame” status.
David C. Nichols – LA Times

SWEET
Nonetheless, this is a fun come- dy, exuberantly and beautifully rendered by the amazing Pressman, who goes from good to better, well on the way to greatness with each succeeding role he undertakes. He is also well sup- ported this time by a delightful cast of characters, and directed with style by Taylor. Go! See!! Enjoy!!!
Madeleine Shaner – Park La Brea News/Beverly Press (opens in pdf)

SWEET
Good satisfying evening of theater.
Clare Elfman – Buzzine

SWEET
This is a familiar dramatic set-up, but the playwright manages to put a fresh spin on things with a couple of strong confrontation scenes. He also goes deeper into character and uncovers some surprises about the cantankerous, unrepentant leftie and his disapproving daughters.
Willard Manus – Total Theater

SWEET
Although Schoenman’s dialogue occasionally veers awkwardly into the realm of soapy melodrama, director Mark L. Taylor’s production crackles with heartfelt emotion.
Paul Birchall – LA Weekly

SWEET
“A Heap of Livin” is a well-staged winner and very enjoyable particularly for us baby boomers who just might be dealing with these very issues.
Rose Desena – The Los Angeles Post

SWEET
Armed with a veteran cast, A Heap of Livin’ will make you laugh, may make you cry, and should make you leave the theatre pondering all things end-of-life. That may not read like a recipe for an afternoon of entertainment, but Elliot Shoenman’s delightful script serves the subject matter without being preachy and his mastery of comic dialogue keeps the play moving.
Tiffany Moon – LifeInLA

A HEAP OF LIVIN’
Presented by the Inkwell Theater
At the Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.
Feb. 8–March 17, 2013; Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2pm
Tickets: $25; (310) 477-2055

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