IT'S NICE TO BE RICH AND BITCHY

There are parts of 'Desert Cities' that are compelling. Also their are moments of comedy -- but those few moments don't weave together.

It's a Bitch Fight between the rich. Usually I love to see and hear tense talk about family chit chats, but this family just isn't all that interesting.

Oh yes -- there are some good lines in-between the drinking and the walking back and forth in their plush Palm Springs digs. In fact the set is about the best looking thing about this play.

There is a sameness that is a lot like "Edward Albee's hit play "A Delicate Balance". Both plays (Desert Cities and Balance) have a dead brother that the family tries to avoid talking about. We never see him.

Secrets abound in this family drama. That's fine, but the secrets are uninteresting. Now, there is nothing wrong with the cast -- the actors are superb! It's the play that drags.

There is an angry daughter and no sympathy for her parents. You see, the daughter is writing a tell-all book about this family. Sure, some of that might be engaging -- but really, do you have to tear your mother and father to pieces?

All their children like to mow down their parents and each other, all the way through this mess, everyone is ungrateful. Oh, that's O.K. -- have another drink. And they do -- every two minutes.

What really dazzles me from the beginning to the end, is the modern Palm Springs house. It's worth seeing. You won't have to stuff anything in your ears, you can't hear them very well anyway. And I was only in the 11th row.

What would help? 'Other Desert Cities' could work miracles, if they planted some mikes around the stage. Oh, by the way -- the people who live in this fancy home, are all republicans. Just saying. But, they do wear great looking clothes.

HERE IS THE TREMENDOUS TALENT: Rod Brogan, Julia Brothers, Kandis Chappell, James Sutorius and Kate Turnbull.

Playwright: Jon Robin Baitz
Director: Richard Seer

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced a long-running Arts and Entertainment segment on PBS KQED)))

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