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Theater Review: “As Good As Gold” at Theatre 40

The cast of As Good As Gold, L-R: Marie Broderick (l.), Wendy Hammers, Nicola Victoria Buck, Will Bradley. Photo by Michèle Young


Calling a play “As Good As Gold” begs the question: Is it?

As Good As Gold, a world premiere currently playing at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, certainly strives for goodness, if not greatness. It spans years, features seven actors playing multiple roles, and skewers the entertainment industry and its macho, lowest-common-denominator proclivities.

Unfortunately, despite excellent performances and clever direction by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, a last-minute replacement for the director credited in the playbill, the show, by Marilyn Anderson, feels like a work in progress. It’s about 20 minutes too long, with distracting elements and props (most notably a pillow fight and a cake). And despite being set “today,” it feels dated.

The show’s three female screenwriters, whose storylines are somewhat muddled, are clever enough to write a $2 million action script over the course of a weekend, yet not smart enough to navigate the industry they’ve worked in for years. They don’t look beyond the studio system for screenplay sales (Netflix, anyone?) and can’t protect themselves from the shoe salesman they randomly select to be their beard to sell their script and rename Adam Gold (Landon Beatty) .

Pretending to be a (white) man to improve visibility and financial odds has a long history, from Georges Eliot and Sand (1800s) to the TV series Remington Steele (1980s) to Sorry to Bother You (2018). As the play notes, “It’s not you, it’s the business.” But in 2021, entertainment companies are falling over themselves to reward diverse artists. Having a white male creator secretly represent three white women’s can’t-fail action script isn’t as compelling a storyline as it would have been even a few years ago.


L-R: Chance Denham, Landon Beatty. Photo by Michèle Young

Still, there’s plenty to enjoy in this extravaganza as it heads toward Adam’s inevitable comeuppance. The three women—Maggie (Marie Broderick), Karly (Nicola Victoria Buck) and Elaine (Wendy Hammers)—are versatile troupers.

L-R: David Westbay, Marie Broderick; Photo by Michèle Young


Landon Beatty gets to spread his acting wings, from nebbish nobody to pompous power player, and does so convincingly. Studio head Ed Mansfield (David Westbay) is just as convincing going from power player to near death and back. Lance (Will Bradley) and Luke (Chance Denman) are the most fun to watch as they adeptly range from reality to silver screen fantasy roles.

The set is beautifully designed, with a see-through wall panel that could have been used even more.


NOTE: Water damage from a broken pipe has shut down this production, which opened Theatre 40’s 2021-22 season. It is anticipated that the next show of the Theatre 40 season, Good People, will open on schedule on November 18.The theater is on the campus of Beverly Hills High School at 241 S. Moreno Dr. Tickets are $35


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Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Theatre West.

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