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  Steambath Reviews

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Thru - Dec 16, 2018

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Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Los Angeles Times- Recommended

"...It's about time somebody revisited Bruce Jay Friedman's "Steambath." First produced off-Broadway in 1970 and recycled as a television film in '73, the play was hailed as a piquant black comedy - the genre exploited by the likes of Friedman, Kurt Vonnegut and Terry Southern, whose surface satires were underscored by bitter social commentary."
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F. Kathleen Foley

LA Splash- Recommended

"...In today's world, it's hard to believe that STEAMBATH was almost too controversial for the theater-goers of times past - but it was. Playwright Bruce Jay Friedman, a man of his times, dove into his story with an eye to the audiences he wanted to entertain - and then worked to annoy, perplex, and shock those same audiences. There is little that can shock today's audiences - but the essential story remains the same and offers everyone a peek at times past - and maybe times present too. For a hysterical, tongue-in-cheek evening at the theater, STEAMBATH fills the bill."
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Elaine Mura

Stage Scene LA- Somewhat Recommended

"...Debuting the year after Sossi founded the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, the company’s latest offering has not aged nearly as well as the soon-to-be fifty-year-old West Los Angeles treasure. Despite sporadic chuckles, Steambath should have been left on the shelf."
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Steven Stanley

Will Call- Recommended

"...Friedman's comedy developed an immediate cult following, when it premiered on Broadway in 1970. Ron Sossi, the big macher at the Odyssey Theatre opted to revive the piece as is or rather, as it was. This presents a double edged sword for modern audiences who have gotten used to vulgar language in every form of entrainment. That is to say, the F-bomb doesn't shatter our eardrums anymore. But now, slurs like fag and dyke make us cringe and it's grating to hear them in this production. The plot however, is unique and the situations original."
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Ingrid Wilmot

Total Theater- Somewhat Recommended

"...Character rather than story drives the play's engine. The bath house (remarkable set by Gary Guidinger) is packed with oddball, semi-naked characters, all of whom are waiting to die. The Oldtimer (the spunky John Moskal) is a cynical reprobate who has traveled the world seeking pleasure and seems quite resigned to his fate. Two young men (DJ Kemp and Devan Schoelen) are caricature gays who dance, prance and prattle like demented chorus boys. Bieberman (Robert Lesser) is a crude, cantankerous old Jew (another caricature, this one shading into anti-Semitism)."
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Willard Manus

Theatre Notes- Recommended

"...The cast is excellent, but Steambath has its flaws. It is a piece of popular culture that is frankly dated and the shenanigans in the steam bath, as delightful as they are, seem empty. It is too lightweight to sustain a two-act evening. Still, it is diverting enough to recommend as an unusual theatrical experience. Director Ron Sossi gets the most he can from the script and the show is handsomely mounted with fine work by scenic designer Gary Guidinger, lighting designer Chu-Hsuan (Seth) Chang, sound designer Christopher Moscatiello, costume designer Mylette Nora and prop master Josh La Cour."
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Paul Myrvold

Haines His Way- Recommended

"...Sossi's direction keeps the action flowing smoothly even with all the steam and props-milkshakes, popcorn, towels, beer. The cast is very believable in their roles with Moskal especially effective as the Oldtimer. Rodriguez dominates the proceedings as God really should do. His comic timing is perfectly matched to Friedman's surreal humor. Don't miss this opportunity to see this time capsule gem of a comedy sure to offend everyone. Visit Steambath, breathe in the steam and luxuriate in the totally un-PC but outrageously funny humor."
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Rob Stevens

The Fume of Sighs- Recommended

"...You go into STEAMBATH hoping for a few laughs (well, with a comedian in it and all) and, although it is entertaining, the play gives you more food for thought than what you would expect. It's sort of a vehicle for retro inspection - let's live long, but let's live well."
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Dena Burroughs