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Review: ‘The English Bride’ Marries a Thriller and a Love Story

Engrossing play has four more performances at Center Stage Theater

While still in the midst of its extended run of The Vagina Monologues, DIJO Productions unveils its newest work, The English Bride, also at Center Stage Theater. Set in present-day London, it is based on a true incident of the attempted bombing of an El Al jetliner.

Written by Lucile Lichtblau, The English Bride has won the Susan Glaspell Playwriting Award and is headed for its East Coast premiere in the fall. Ed Giron directs this workshop production, and along with Leslie Gangl Howe and William Waxman, makes up this small but mighty ensemble of actors.

Opening with Dov (Giron) questioning Ali (Waxman) about his involvement with the attempted bombing, the action moves tautly, but smoothly, into flashbacks of Ali and Eileen (Gangl Howe) meeting and developing their romance, and Dov later questioning her about her part.

The staging, with scenes flowing from one set to another onstage, and no intermission, keeps the energy high. The actors move from one pairing to another naturally and their interactions are convincingly tense. Kudos to each for the mastering of a different dialect.

Part-thriller, part-love story, The English Bride is engrossing for its portrayal of flawed and very human people doing the best they can. Dov, in questioning Ali, mentions the theory that terrorists, in their actions, are trying to avenge some wrong that has happened in their lives. It surely doesn’t make what they do right, but it perhaps sheds some interesting light on what lies beneath their motives.

Performances of The English Bride are at 8 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 2 and Aug. 4-5. A Q&A follows the Aug. 2 show.

The Center Stage Theatre is located at 751 Paseo Nuevo. Tickets are $20 general admission, $17 seniors and students, and $17 for groups of 10 or more. Click here to purchase tickets online or call the box office at 805.963.0408.

— Justine Sutton of Santa Barbara is a freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer.

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