Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Deal with the Dragon
New Conservatory Theatre Center
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of The Normal Heart, Small Mouth Sounds and 42nd Street and Patrick's review of The Game's Afoot

Kevin Rolston
Photo by Kenny Yun
Deal with the Dragon at the New Conservatory Theatre is about as elusive as it is witty. Charismatic Keven Rolston holds forth in the small theatre complex with an outstanding tale some 70 minutes long. Rolston first presented this piece at the San Francisco Fridge Festival several years and then he took it to ACT Costume Shop where it was a big hit. He booked it into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for four weeks and now it is at NCTC.

Kevin Rolston is absolutely magnetic in this solo performance. Elements of camp and flashes of Disney's Maleficent pervade the text. The plot spins around two struggling painters, Gandy Schwarz and Hunter, and caretaker Brenn. The artists are contending for a well-paid position at MOMA. Hunter is supported by Brenn, a Black Forest guardian who is a dragon and will fulfill all his wishes. Brenn oozes guile with a heavy European accent that's guaranteed to snare his prey. He feeds Hunter fresh doughnuts, threatens his threatening bill collectors, and kowtows before his talent. Gandy Schwartz is the complete opposite of Hunter. We see him at AA meeting; he's not much of an alcoholic but more of a narcotics man. What follows is an incredible tour de force of writing and acting. Rolston's portrayal of Gandy is breathtaking and his AA rant, at a good 12 minutes, is as good as it gets.

Kevin Rolston rocks in his portrayal of Brenn, Hunter and Gandy in this spellbinding performance.

Deal with the Dragon runs through December 3, 2017, at the New Conservatory Theatre Complex, 25 Van Ness off Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-863-8972 or visit Their next production is the returning favorite Avenue Q, running from December 1 through January 7, 2018.