Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell



This outrageous new comedy is based on a collection of Sigmund Freud’s writings that were edited by his daughter, Anna, where letters, notes, dreams, and recollections attest to his decade-long use of cocaine, both in his practice and personal life. Freud actually used up to a gram of cocaine daily and also touted it as a panacea for pain, exhaustion, low spirits, depression and morphine addiction!

In this comedic telling, writer-director Howard Skora shows how Sigmund slipped cocaine into the love letters he mailed to his German fiancé; convinced his fellow doctor and best friend to use cocaine to control his addiction to morphine; cauterized a patient’s nose with a gram of cocaine, nearly killing her, all while getting free product from Merck Pharmaceuticals for his supposed “research” into its medical use!

Everything in this play that appears insane is actually true,” says Skora. “The comedy comes out of looking at the past through the lens of the present. We see how even someone as brilliant as Freud was a slave to the science of his time. The data and studies he relied on were published by an American periodical called the “Therapeutic Gazette,” owned by George Davis – the same man who owned Parke-Davis, the largest manufacturer of cocaine at the time. Until his dying day, Freud insisted that cocaine was not addictive. What scientific beliefs do we hold today that might seem equally crazy in the future?”

The show stars Jonathan Slavin as Freud and Kim Hopkins as Anna, with support from Barry Brisco, Aaron LaPlante, Sara Maraffino, Sigute Miller and Amy Smallman-Winston. Presented by Bryan Rasmussen at the Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks. Tickets: (818) 687-8559 or online at


THE RIGHT IS OURS – Sierra Madre


This new musical is about the friendship of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and how, working together, they impacted the world as they led the fight for all women’s right to vote. Book and direction by Lloyd J. Schwartz, music and lyrics by Adryan Russ, choreography by Kay Cole, music direction by Gregory Nabours and orchestrations by Kat Sherrell.The company: Anna Mintzer, Emily Abeles, Jacquelin Lorraine Schofield, Carlin Castellano, Paige Berkovitz and Katherine Chatman. At the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre.


ROOM SERVICE – North Hollywood


The Group Rep Theatre Company celebrates its 50th Anniversary producing theatre by presenting this king-of-all-farces by John Murray and Allen Boretz. A knock-down, drag-out, slamming doors, hiding, fleeing, chasing, eating, juggling, fast-paced, comedy-farce about a group of people rehearsing a play to go on the Broadway stage while simultaneously raising money for their production.

Says artistic director Doug Haverty, “Our production is being designed to be a totally immersive theatrical experience where audience members enter the hotel when they enter our lobby. They will be met by hotel concierge staff, bellhops, maids and housekeeping staff. And, of course, the hotel staff sings. They will sing before the show and during scene changes.

Directed by Mareli Mitchel-Shields. At Group Rep, 10900 Burbank Blvd., NOHO. Tickets: (818) 763-5990 or


HANSEL AND GRETEL – West Hollywood


At 4 pm on weekends in September, the City of West Hollywood and Pacific Opera Project (POP) will present Englebert Humperdinck’s operatic story of two siblings lost in an enchanted forest who stumble upon a delicious looking Gingerbread House. Based on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, the libretto was written by Humperdinck’s sister, Adelheid Wette! This musical take is great for all ages! It’s outdoors, and seating is provided. FREE. At Kings Road Park, 1000 Kings Road, WEHO.

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