SAFE AT HOME: AN EVENING WITH ORSON BEAN
What’s not to love about Orson Bean? The man is an absolute marvel and the sharpest octogenarian you’ll ever have the pleasure to encounter. He’s seen everything, done everything and, even more remarkable, he remembers it all. Young people admire him, the older one envy him. A multi-talent, he has found success on stage, screen, television, as a musician, singer and magician and is a brilliant raconteur, the reason this show is a “must see”. He delves deeply into his turbulent childhood, saddled with a rather strange mother and a father who deserted the family when Owen, then called Dallas, was a teenager. He peppers his tales with delightful anecdotes, tells some funny jokes and even performs magic tricks. We learn how he earned money as an enterprising, little guy and he shares a touching story about his dog. At age twenty-two, he experiences an unexpected ovation as a stand-up comic in a New York City club and his career is launched.
On the almost bare stage (set and lighting by Norman Scott), he takes us along on the journey through the highs and lows of his life, adapted from his memoir “Safe at Home” (available on Amazon). Lovingly directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos and co-produced by Alley Mills Bean, his wife of twenty-three years, this is a fitting 30th anniversary offering from Pacific Resident Theatre, a venue that deserves its excellent reputation and with which Bean has been associated for three decades. It is also a pre-holiday treat for theatre lovers, a present that fits all, won’t have to be exchanged and will stay in your memory bank forever. Our wish is that Orson retain his good health, good looks, sense of humor and positive attitude for many more years to come. Amen.
Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice 90291. Thursday – Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 3 pm. $25 – $30. No intermission. Free parking in lot behind the theatre. (310) 822-8392 or The Pacific Resident Theatre ends 11/29
REVIEW BY INGRID WILMOT