by Herbie J Pilato
Upon viewing a few “live episodes” of “The Twilight Zone Unscripted,” the L.A. area theatre-goer not only gets the eerie feeling they’ve actually stepped into (and are seated in front of) The Twilight Zone but that they’re also in on the joke – and it’s funny. Make that “very funny!”
With its uniquely improvisational take on the genius classic TV series created by Rod Serling, “Unscripted,” presented by the renown Impro Theatre Acting Troup (at Garry Marshall’s beautiful Falcon Theatre in Burbank), delivers in all areas.
The audience actually becomes unhinged on the edge of their seats not so much because no one (including the theatre-goers and the actors) knows not what’s to happen next – but because no one is sure the performers on stage will be able to pull it off.
But pull it off they do – beyond a shadow of a doubt – and with a lot of talent.
Day in day out, from September 6 to September 29th, the Impro’s eclectic troupe of thespians of every age (including co-directors Stephen Kearin and Jo McGinely) present one of the most unique combinative productions to the hit the live stage in years.
In keeping with the on-going interest in all things pop-culture, and classic television in particular – and to paraphrase the opening thematic lines of another great TV classic (in the guise of Star Trek), “The Twilight Zone Unscripted” takes the audience where no audience has gone been before. And they keep on doing it, in four different ways, every night.
Upon topic and plot suggestions made from the audience and welcomed by the cast, “The Twilight Zone Unscripted,” and its optimum performers work like a well-oiled machine on its first run. Every night is opening night and the nervous energy that actors crave to deliver the goods finds its proper way into the very core of the performers.
Shining bright with clarity and obvious joy for their work, the “Unscripted” members deliver the goods, one after the other. Edi Patterson, Dan O’Connor, Ryan Smith, Michele Spears and Floyd VanBuskirk each sizzle in their own gifted way with the right amount of balanced creativity, energy, on-the-spot ingenuity and just plain charm that improvisational acting requires.
Add to that the combined cast’s personal affection for The Twilight Zone TV series and all that it’s become (since its original CBS run from 1959-1964), and the audience is guaranteed a once-in-a-life-time ride that, unlike the television show, will never be repeated again.
Submitted with 100% approval: “The Twilight Zone Unscripted” is must-see TV – live – on stage!