'Alright Then'

By: 
Ben Miles

Orson Bean (perhaps best known for his three-year stint on the erstwhile TV series “Desperate Housewives” and before that for his hundreds of guest appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”) and his wife, Alley Mills (a hard working TV and stage actress currently seen on the CBS soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful”), are onstage together at Venice’s Pacific Resident Theatre in a new show titled “Alright Then,” which chronicles both of their lifetimes —through their separate childhoods and up to and including their more than a quarter-century marriage.

Scripted by Orson Bean (with plenty of spontaneity and genuine interplay between Bean and Mills, who’s twenty-two years younger than the 89 year-old Bean) and ably directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos, “Alright Then” is a charming and honest portrayal of the true-life love story that continues to unfold for the couple, even after 27 years of marriage.

Though there is much lightheartedness and laughter to be had in this 80-minute relational autobiography, there are also some darker aspects to the presentation. Issues of alcoholism, abuse and disappointment are broached here. We learn that although Ms. Mills longed to give birth and raise children, she and Mr. Bean suffered through two miscarriages and were never able together to produce a child. As Ms. Mills says, “I waited too long.” Nevertheless, Mr. Bean has children from a previous marriage and now has nine grandchildren, which provides Ms. Mills with the fulfilling role of grandmother.

The careers of both Mr. Bean and Ms. Mills are traced, including her Ivy League experience as a member of the first female cohort to graduate from Yale University, and Mr. Bean’s rough and tumble beginnings from autodidact to stand-up comedian.

Filled with an array of emotions, what we in the audience are left with is the joy of the performance and the life affirming sense that through love, commitment and passion life is not only endurable, it’s worthwhile.

“Alright Then” continues through March 25 at the Pacific Resident Theatre, in Venice. The PRT is located at 703 Venice Boulevard. Evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. For reservations, call (310)822- 8392. For online ticketing, visit www.pacificresidenttheatre.com.

ben@beachcomber.news

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