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Sonoma County Gazette
Rita (Serena Elize Flores) shows off for Trisha (Katie Kelley).

Review – ‘The Naked Truth’ at Left Edge Theatre in Santa Rosa

Sep 18, 2018
by Alexa Chipman


‘The Naked Truth’ is an odd combination of explicit sex discussions and heartwarming friendships that last through arguments and tumultuous circumstances. A group of women in a pole dance class find common ground despite a dichotomy of personalities and maturity in a rapid-paced sequence of events. The audience glimpses selected conversations that are either provocative or give insight into the challenge each woman is overcoming—whether finding the strength to see her beauty during relentless breast cancer treatments or having the confidence to speak up for herself.

Director Argo Thompson chose to recreate the British atmosphere in this U.S. premiere of Dave Simpson’s play. Despite a helpful vocabulary explanation before the performance, the London “council estate” accents are difficult to follow. Rather than relaxing with the casual banter onstage, it is a constant strain to comprehend what they are saying, which detracts from the experience.

Gabby (Heather Danielle) demonstrates a new move in the pole dance class.

‘The Naked Truth’ comes into its own with Sergia Louise Anderson’s exceptional choreography. From the tentative first spins of terrified students to a sizzling pole dance showcase, her choice of movement demonstrates acrobatic grace without distracting from the overarching story. Heather Danielle (Gabby) and Serena Elize Flores (Rita) are phenomenal in contrasting solos. The lighting talent of April George is allowed free-range in the finale dances, to dazzling effect.

Bev (Angela Squire) has some advice for hesitant Faith (Anabel Pimentel).Anabel Pimentel’s hesitant Faith is the main source of comedy, with her naïve blundering and self-conscious nerves. She clomps onstage in hiking boots instead of the sexy high heeled shoes of her fellow classmates, garbed in a massive hoodie designed bySandra Ish. Bold coquette Bev (Angela Squire) takes Faith under her wing, and they become unexpected confidants. Bev encourages her protégé to step outside her comfort zone while tossing in relentless smutty jokes.

Turning scene transitions into a source of amusement, David Templeton appears with a range of explanatory signs, bustling about the set while eying the poles with unabashed interest. His fascinating antics aside, the play would benefit from tighter editing; it runs rather long for a fluffy comedy.

Trisha (Katie Kelley) contemplates what it is to be truly beautiful.

‘The Naked Truth’ is pleasantly predictable, dancing over the surface of deeper characterization without fully exploring it. This raunchy, good-hearted play is comfortably diverting, with a message of sisterhood and acceptance.

The Naked Truth

Presented by Left Edge Theatre through September 30, 2018
Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 2:00pm

Left Edge Studio Theatre at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 546-3600

Photos from Eric Chazankin

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Alexa Chipman - Live Theater REVIEW


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