Review: Aaah! Rosebud

Review from:

"AAAH! ROSEBUD” By Peter Finch,directed by Dylan Russell, produced by Thunderbird Theatre Company at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom St., San Francisco

Thursdays-Mondays, 415-289-6766 or

Aug. 23rd - Sept. 22nd Curtain: 8:00pm.


Alliteration is an interregnal part of the humor in "AAAH! ROSEBUD”, the latest comedic production from San Francisco's Thunderbird Theatre Company now in their ninth year having produced hits including the pirate romance spoof "Lusty Booty" and last year's mythological offering, "Release the Kraken." They have another semi-hit to add to their production in this comic retelling of Orson Welles’ Academy Award winning movie “Citizen Kane.”

If you have seen the movie you will instantly recognize three major characters: Thompson, the reporter (well portrayed by Rob Herman), Jebidiah (Leland) Stanford (fine acting by Matt Gunnison) the former confidant of Kane, William Orson Kane (an overly large performance by Jason Harding) as the maniacal, millionaire mogul whose last dying word was “Rosebud.” If you are unfamiliar with the movie, you may want to skip this show.

The plot line of the movie starts as a reporter tries to track down the people who worked and lived with Kane. They tell their stories in a series of flashbacks that reveal much about Kane’s life but not the riddle of his final word. “Aaah! Rosebud” starts in a similar mode but author Peter Finch who gets up at 3AM every weekday morning to bring you the news on KFOG radio, takes us through a hilarious romp giving us a solution to the riddle. “The sled made him do it.”

Rosebud, the sled, is evil personified used to turn those with ambition and desire into zombies under Kane’s control as his newspaper enterprise justifies his nefarious motivations. He must be stopped and this chore is assigned to competitive, Canadian curlers (Shay Casey, Nathan Tucker and scene stealing Emma Fassler), an aspiring actress (Maria Ross) who (horrors) is going to give up acting to become a Civil Servant and her Svengali mustached director (good comic timing Max Bernstein). Dirk Echols plays the flamboyant Goldfarb, assistant to Kane, with panache, fantastic eyebrow elevation and gay flying limbs bringing spontaneous applause. The journey to the answer involves the evil sled Rosebud, a time machine for the flashbacks and newspaper headlines carried across stage by newsboy Zev Jenerik.

The Thunderbird is comprised of unpaid writers, directors, actors, technicians and volunteers. They have wisely brought in Dylan Russell, a professional director, actor and playwright who has directed productions for the A.C.T. Conservatory, TheatreFirst, California Conservatory Theatre and many others to direct the show. She has done a magnificent job keeping the action moving and the actors under control through multiple scene and costume changes. Only an overly long and repetitive script hampers her.

That being said, alliteration can be used to describe partially the over all evening: Very vivacious, vital, vicarious and vociferous. TV’s Saturday Night Live should snap up an option to produce “Aah! Rosebud.”

Kedar K. Adour, MD


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