For playwright Dina Morrone, the question - “How did Italians from Calabria end up in an icy cold, snowy city in Northern Ontario, Canada?” – was the impetuous that gave birth to her comical and endearing play Moose on the Loose. “I was on the telephone with my mother who speaks with a thick Italian accent,” says Dina Morrone. “And we were discussing some natural disaster that had occurred in Los Angeles… and my mother said to me, ‘It’s cold and we have a lot of snow but really the most that can happen here is that a moose wanders out of the bush.’” And what a fun and heart-felt moose it turned out to be under the direction of Peter Flood. 

Actor John Cygan gave a commanding performance as Daddy Giuseppe, an Italian man who proceeds to hunt for a moose on the loose in town. The Moose, performed with an endearing quality by Tom Badal, talks Giuseppe out of his in-town hunt, “it’s illegal, eh?”, while grazing around the stage wearing enormous antlers created by Creative Effects, Inc. Giuseppe eventually finds himself in jail after a humorous series of events and the shame of having to face his entire family, from parents to grandson, awaiting his release just outside in the small waiting area.

The greatest feat of the evening was the role of Maria performed on book by Connie Mellors standing in for Mary Garripoli who became suddenly ill shortly before the performance. Mellors’ performance demonstrated how polished her skills are as an actor and what is possible when one puts their time into their craft. Of course it did help that she comes from a 100% Italian heritage, but that is beside the point. Well done, Mellors!

Upcoming productions at Theatre West in North Hollywood include a special one night only musical reading of Something for the Boys on June 19th and Edward Albee’s comedy Seascape starring Paul Gunning, Arden Teresa Lewis, Alan Schack and Kristin Wiegand starting on September 9th, 2011.

Photo by Ed Kreiger