Orange County Theatre Reviews

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

PHOTO COURTESY: Laguna Playhouse

Written by Patrick Chavis 

Ed Asner. You may know of him from works such as “The Mary Tyler Moore show” and “Roots”. If you’re a bit younger  you’ll know him from his voice in cartoons like “UP” and the hilarious character voice of Ed Wuncler in “The Boondocks”. Whatever age you are, Ed Asner has proven himself a great talent. His interpretation of FDR is comical (in a  ” *sigh* oh grandpa” sort of way), serious, and true to life but I left more entertained and laughing at Asner’s unique quirks and less from his portrayal of our 32nd president.

Although I’m familiar with Ed Asner I honestly can’t say he’s on my list of top actors that I really know about and appreciate. I was too young to really get into his memorable role as Lou Grant from the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and again as Lou Grant in the spin-off “Lou Grant”. Of course I saw UP and loved the beginning. Who didn’t? That movie really only needed the first ten minutes. So for me the draw of this show wasn’t Asner. The draw was getting to know a little bit more about “FDR”, a president that had similar issues to the president we have in office right now. During the performance we watch Asner hobble onstage and then roll around in a wheel chair talking to the audience as though they are the press, all the while using a very relaxed “Welcome to the White House” matter of fact tone. We watch Asner discuss famous speeches and his conversations with Winston Churchill. He gets very vocal about his battles with Republicans and the do- nothing Congress of the time. My favorite moment is after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Asner’s generally relaxed and joking tone begins to cease and we are brought into the mind of a very serious troubled man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. 

My constant struggle in watching this play is viewing the transition from FDR to a comical Ed Asner, beloved by all. I came to see “FDR” not Ed Asner but I ended up getting both. The fact that it’s a one man show and Asner is talking to a lot of invisible people that aren’t actually in the room brings a whole new level of hilarity to this play, though I doubt that was their intention. 

Side note: History buffs and those in love with Ironic humor will really enjoy this. Other great “FDR” stories check out the PBS special by Ken Burns it’s informative and entertaining.

 

7.5/10

Date & Location :

Nov 19th ~ 23rd

Laguna Playhouse  

606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 

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