Parallel Lives is currently showing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, California. The play was written by two Obie Award winning performing arts professionals Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy and their combined talent is abundantly evident. Director Jenny Sullivan guides the show from paper to stage with two truly outstanding performers Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter. With all of this genuine talent the question remains, just exactly what is Parallel Lives? The Falcon Theatre describes the show as: “A pair of capricious supreme beings orchestrate a hilarious montage of modern life while celebrating it.”
Clearly the show is a montage. It presents intriguing views of modern feminism, relationships and even religion showing throughout some of the extreme absurdities. In so doing the show does offer up a near steady stream of true hilarity as well as some intriguing insights into the human condition. The performances of Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter are flat out sensational, genuinely five star. Many but not all of the skits are overflowing with humor.
Early in the show Crista and Alice explore primarily the physical differences between men and women and it is a masterpiece of laugh inducing insight. One comedic revelation that is funny mainly because it is steeped in truth is that since man cannot have a baby he is compensated by being given a big ego and a third leg.
In another skit the two characters engage in a Catholic confession confessing to a broad spectrum of many sins over a thirteen-year period. In the confession they admit to several of the worst sins yet are pleased to learn at the end that their penance is merely a couple of hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. What is presented is not so much a slap at religion as it is a portrayal the many foibles of mankind. And so it goes throughout the show.
Overall it was an excellent show earning the two cast members a standing ovation. But there were one or two skits off the mark and somewhat dull. That fact made the show and the first act in particular seem longer that it really was. That raises the reality that there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
A couple of relatively minor flaws aside Parallel Lives is severely entertaining, deeply funny, insightful and superbly performed. It is currently running at the Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, California 91505 now through September 18th. Show times are: Wednesday through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. Reservations and ticketing are available by calling 818-955-8101 or online at: FalconTheatre.com.
All photos of Crista Flanagan and Alice Hunter by Sasha Venola