Private Eyes
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Charles Jarrett

Playhouse West’s production of Steven Dietz’s Private Eyes is a comic Ferris wheel ride spinning from reality to illusion to reality to illusion to… Well, the beauty of this drama is that it just keeps spinning so that you’re never really sure where you are or if you’re ever going to get off. Of course the acting talent in Private Eyes is so good you’ll want to stay on this ride.

Directed by Lois Grandi, this production takes us on a journey where the trust of married life becomes untrustworthy and the nondisclosure of the intimate details of a patient’s life, shared with his therapist, becomes a stage show. While all the performances are excellent, the wounded husband Matthew (Paul Sulzman) and his wayward wife Lisa (Sarah Overman) blend a special mix of the flour of comedy, a pinch of tragedy and several cups of whipped irony into an almost Vaudevillian pie that keeps slapping the audience in the face causing them to laugh at themselves as much as the drama on stage. In other words, the actor’s skill in this drama holds a Shakespearean mirror up to the audience making us realize that we’ve been there, we’ve done that, but as painful as it seemed at the time, thanks to good theatre, it’s as funny as hell now.

My only warning for this production is that once you board this Ferris wheel of drama you won’t want to get off. Even after the lights go out and you have to leave the theatre, you’ll be spinning with an interesting swirl of thought-provoking laughter that will weave for days in the cotton candy of your brain.

For tickets or more information call (925) 942-0300.

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