Written by 4:52 am Experimental Theatre, Review, South Coast Repertory, Theater, Uncategorized

Clever Gangsters : Big Shot A.K.A This Is Not The God Father @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

Written By Patrick Chavis 

Big Shot, A.K.A This Is Not The Godfather, is many things, so many things it’s not a show you can put in a box. The show is live, innovative, and unapologetically unique. Though the production is scripted and planned, everything seems spontaneous and strangely bizarre. These are talented people, and I could probably watch them recite the Constitution and get excited. The elements for a great show are there: the talent, the message, and even a little innovation. But the show is fragmented and maybe too esoteric to connect effectively with most audiences, even if they have seen The Godfather


The show is set around a trial with the writer of The Godfather, Mario Puzo, defending his work to a trial committee criticizing his most famous work. While Puzo supports his choice to write The Godfather, we follow Michael Corleone as he does his best to separate himself from his family. We meet many memorable characters from the movie: Kay, Tom Hagen, Sonny, Fredo, and Connie. Each character brings a unique and very stereotypical Italian feeling to their parts. Each character gets a moment to explain their character in greater detail (this is where reading the book or seeing the film would make it a more interesting show).


The show is at its best when they are singing and dancing. Tom Hagen’s (Mark Doerr) song, “I’m Not Italian,”  isn’t just fun to listen to; it’s hilarious and heartfelt all at the same time. You feel for this guy who was adopted into this Italian family and knows that no matter what he does, he will always be a little different from his family.

You’ll have a good laugh over some moments by the show’s end, but the humor and message are probably better suited for a comical documentary than a stage show. Also, there are times when they try to interact with the crowd, and it just feels thrown in. Something tells me South Coast Repertory isn’t the audience or location for a show like this. Big Shots might be funnier to watch at a bar with a few drinks or with a  younger audience and even more audience participation. Without a more authentic connection with the audience, the show kind of misses the mark.


April 22 – May 3, 2015 

South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa 

655 Town Center Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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