Stage Play Gospel
A Fool For Love
Review by Ross Anthony

A Fool For LoveJust as the radio ad promises, "A Fool in Love" delivers a gospel stage play. One minute a family bickers in the living room; the next minute, the lights dim, a fat funky bass starts thumping out a line, Grandpa stands up crooked, tosses the cane away and belts out some rich soulful melody backed by sharp drums and a bluesy organ/electric guitar rhythm section.

Though the characters are rather two-dimensional, they're still endearing, many times funny, and then abruptly sympathetically tug at our heartstrings. And of course, the vocals: the likes of Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross could find some serious competition in this talented cast. All give strong performances, but when Cookie (the young daughter) gets up off her knees after enduring some despicable abuse and sings "For Daddy's Sake" ... that'll put a tear in your eye.

Momma and Poppa sing another sweet bold serenade right off the sofa. But, the real crowd-pleasers were Johnny Gill and Dottie People. Showing obvious command of the stage, interacting with the audience as if it were a concert audience; the huge Wiltern Theater echoed with "sporting event"-sized cheers and applause.

This is a gospel stage play, so you can expect it to be a "Religious Experience." The production focuses on one extended family's abilities (and inabilities) to field the evils of drugs, child abuse and even blindness (due to love). Yes, you'll be preached to, but never without an entertaining delivery (show/song). I enjoyed "Fool" thoroughly. My only suggestions lie in the technical realm: The sound mix tended toward the bass end, though that was likely a creative choice; however, vocals nearer the loud end (and that occurred quite often) resulted in distortion. The distortion coupled with a slight echo eclipsed a substantial amount of dialogue.

Btw, Even though we were seated only ten rows from the back of the theater, we were able to see the action on stage just fine.

Set design:
The stage, divided in two, hosted a room of one house on one side and a room of another on the other. While one was in use, the other remained in the dark. Since only four rooms were needed, a single switch at intermission kept the play clipping along without any further interruption.

  • A Fool For Love. The February 7th opening night show (2002) at the Wiltern Theatre in LA.
  • Starring Dottie People, Johnny Gill, Anthony Price, Regina Gibbs, Curis Blake, Clyde Jones, Brian Hines, Pamela Ellis, Elaine Stallworth O'Neal (Cookie), Telisha Lee, Jarret Moonie, Frank Hallum, Pierre McElhaney.
  • Directed by Clyde Jones.
  • Written by Janice Feaster.
  • Executive Produced by Marvin Webster Gray at Marvelous Entertainment.

Copyright © 2002. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:11:01 PDT