LA Review: 'No Time to Weep'

at the Matrix Theatre

Reviewed by Jennie Webb

April 17, 2012


Photo by Stephen Beitler
There's no doubt that Lucy Deutsch, a Holocaust survivor who was released from Auschwitz in 1945 at the age of 14, has a story to tell. Hers is a tale of incredible loss—her entire immediate family was killed in the camps—and amazing triumph. After coming to the U.S. and establishing a successful design and manufacturing business, today the 82-year-old lives in Los Angeles and writes plays, screenplays, and novels. In the case of her musical "No Time to Weep," however, Deutsch has created a vehicle that's not well suited to her very personal story.

The show begins with a 65-year-old Lucy (Christopher Callen) wheeling and dealing in her office, then taking a break to remember her mother. Callen's strong singing voice suits the old-fashioned "Mommy Tatty." We then travel back to Hungary, where we see young Lucy (Caitlin Gallogly) wearing the requisite yellow star on her clothing and finding joy with her schoolmates about childhood flirtations—"Raspberry Kisses" is a sweet tune—despite the gendarme prowling around the town. Things change when the Jews are rounded up and taken to ghettos. Lucy's family is quickly split up, and as each member is sent to a concentration camp or death, she conceals her age to stay alive. "No Time to Weep" becomes the repeated musical refrain throughout unrelenting scenes of horror at the hands of the Nazis. Lucy's ballad about wanting to fly away from it all, "Little Bird," is a bright spot.

After Auschwitz is liberated, the musical follows Lucy through leaps of time on an indirect journey to happiness in America. Book writer Deutsch shares credit for the show's lyrics with Deedee O'Malley, who is also listed as a composer, as is Ivor Pyres. Arranged by Pyres with recorded accompaniment, the songs reflect a random range of styles. While a few stand out, on the whole they don't provide much cohesion for what becomes a rather chaotic project. Deutsch's dialogue is less successful. Pyres directs the large company of game actors, who do have some touching moments, Gallogly and Heidi James in particular. Ultimately, though, the unwieldy material can't support the talents and good intentions involved.

Presented by Lucy Deutsch and Ivor Pyres, in association with Cantor Estherleon Schwartz, at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A. April 14–June 3. Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (323) 960-7780 or www.plays411.com.
 

 
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