Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Twisted Hitchcock
Left Coast Theatre Company
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Patrick's review of Keith Moon: The Real Me and Richard's reviews of The Making of a Great Moment, The Three Musketeers, Leanne Borghesi: What Is This Swing Called Love and Durst Case Scenario

Left Coast Theatre Company prides itself as the home for new original LGBT theater. It was established in 2012 by Rodney "Rhoda" Taylor and Joseph Frank, members of the successful gay men's writing group GuyWriters Playwrights. The company has presented a highly successful San Francisco, Here I Come and Dog Sees God, and is now presenting the world premiere production of Twisted Hitchcock, a gay, campy version of three Alfred Hitchcock films.

The first segment, called "Master Bates," is based on the film Psycho, which starred Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh. The audience sees Bates (Tim Garcia) in the motel he and his mother own. He is masturbating while peering through a hole in the wall next to the room where a man is taking a shower. The man next door, Milton (Dene Larson), bursts into the room and catches Bates.

Tim Garcia is brilliant, morphing between Master Bates and his mother with split-second timing. He goes back and forth with amazing speed in a brilliant display of acting. Dean Larson is excellent as the older man who does things to Master Bates. This runs 30 minutes and was fiercely written by Richard S. Sargent and is intensely directed by Alexia Staniotes.

The second 30-minute scene is called "The Trouble with Mary" and is based on the Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry. It involves Mary (Matt Weimer in drag) walking in the woods and suddenly being fatally shot. The body is found by 7-year-old Arnie (Tim Garcia), who takes a liking to the dead body. He tells Jennifer (Ellen Dunphy), the mother, about finding the body and she calls Sheriff Calvin Wiggs (Marc Berman) who comes to investigate. Somehow, Sam (Ryan Engstrom), who is selfie-happy, gets into the act.

Ryan Engstrom and Matt Weimer are outstanding in their roles. The corpse keeps talking throughout the scene. Ellen Dunphy and Marc Berman give first rate performances while 32-year-old Tim Garcia astonishingly converts to a 7-year-old child. The sparkling dialogue was written by James A. Martin and the piece is vividly directed by Debi Durst.

The third scene is "Birdsploitation," based on the Hitchcock film The Birds (which I worked on at Paramount as a cameraman). It's based on the birds perspective. The lead birds are Aryn Sparrow (Ryan Engstrom), George Seagull (Matt Weimer not in drag), Cameron Crow (Chris Maltby), Darlene Lovebird (AJ Davenport), and Jennifer Lovebird (Erica Andracchio). This is more serious drama, and what happens to them shouldn't happen to a dog—I mean bird.

Matt Weimer shines as the ego-centric seagull. The rest of cast give exceptional performances. Terry Maloney Haley's dialogue is unique and Richard Ryan's direction is powerful.

Twisted Hitchcock is 90 minutes in total, with no intermission. Being a Hitchcock fan, I enjoyed every one of the Hitchcock parodies. There is even a tribute to the master of suspense at the opening of "Master Bates," involving the classic scene of Janet Leigh as Marion Crane getting stabbed to death while take a shower, played on a sheet like a shadowplay, with AJ Davenport and Ellen Dunphy playing Janet Leigh and her killer behind the sheet. All it needs is the Bernard Herrmann score.

Twisted Hitchcock runs through August 26, 2017, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 6pm at the Shelton Theatre, 535 Sutter St. off Union Square, San Francisco. For tickets, visit Coming up next is The Morning After running November 2 through November 18.