By Jesus Figueroa
Comedy and culture took center stage in Casa 0101’s newest original production “Clean Start” on opening weekend in Los Angeles, California.
The play written by Kathy Fischer and Josefina Lopez delights while telling the story of two cultures coming together under one roof.
Beverly Hills Socialite Parker Reed, played by Kim Chase, finds herself in need of a friend and her house maid Rosario Rodriguez, played by Ingrid Oliu, is the only one there for her.
Chase is fantastic in the manner of which she plays her character. Her portrayal of Parker makes the character both snobby and likable.
Oliu was set back to being a background character by the powerful performances which surrounded her. The story revolves around her character, but the performance was less than impactful.
Rosario invites Parker to live with her while she gets back on her feet without discussing it with her mother Doña Maria Rodriguez, played by Marina Gonzalez Palmier, and sister Blanca Rodriguez, played by Maria Russell, who live with her.
Palmier was hilarious and animated as her role as a mother. She kept a great tone which helps make her character mean and funny.
Russell’s high spirited portrayal makes her shine. She’s fantastic delivering her lines, and her curves help to make her fit well into her sexy character.
The sudden loss of a job for the sole provider Rosario leaves the household concerned over what’s to come, especially when it comes to, the hilarious notion of, Blanca’s 35th birthday party, which is supposed to be grand to make up for not having a quinceañera.
The now four women are not alone, the handy roommate Vladimir, played by Robert Jekabson, lives in the basement.
Jekabson has a minor role and most of his lines are in jumbled English because he’s supposed to be Russian, but his lines in Russian sound great.
The story is lively and the mixture of Spanish and English has a natural feel. The tone is well set from the start and the pace is well established.
There’s several stories going on at once but fit together great. The story between Rosario and former boss-turned-friend Parker is the main story, but the plot between sisters Rosario and Blanca and the story of the mother not wanting to lose her daughters also play a big role.
The stage and wardrobe is colorful and unique, giving a good atmosphere to each character.
The majority of the cast does a good job of making their characters animated and lively, but the co-star Oliu fails to stand out, keeping her performance safe and stiff. She’s out performed by the rest of the cast.
The production in its hour and a half entirety with 15 minute intermission is delightful and hilarious. The ending brings things together and connects everything.
“Clean Start” has evening shows Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and matinee shows on Sundays at 5 p.m. at Casa 0101 in Los Angeles, California from now until Feb. 15.
For more information or to purchase tickets call (323)263-7584 or visit casa0101.org