Unsavory Fellow Review – Life’s Potholes

Nick James in UNSAVORY FELLOW - Photo by Ian Zandi
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Written, directed, and performed by Nick James and produced by Beck Bennion and Jess Faulstich, UNSAVORY FELLOW is currently a guest production at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Originally from Cleveland, Nick James grew up in Santa Monica, where the beach, the Southern California lifestyle, and the proximity to Hollywood profoundly influenced him. Like many teenagers who want to be “cool,” Nick never felt that he quite made the mark. When his stepfather suggested that he avoid the bad boys – unsavory fellows – Nick is naturally drawn to them.

Nick James – Photo by Ian Zandi

As he entered his late teens and young adulthood, he dreamed of becoming a star with a glamorous career in Hollywood – but he didn’t seem able to follow through despite his handsome looks and charm. Some professional successes emerged, including stage roles, stand-up comedy, stunt work, film roles, and his own films. Unfortunately, his resume also includes gigs like gigolo and Japanese supermodel as he gradually pictured his dreams at the bottom of a bottle, assisted, of course by ample sampling of a smorgasbord of various illegal substances. Nick seemed to excel in one particular area – self sabotage. With increasing age eventually came a degree of maturity, a loving wife, and a son – but would that be enough to propel him to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Nick James – Photo by Ian Zandi

UNSAVORY FELLOW is presented as a series of brief skits describing seminal moments in Nick’s life. The solo show is an interesting study of a man whose imaginative goals far exceeded his tangible accomplishments. At the same time, the piece suggests a degree of determination and persistence which, hopefully, has resulted in an increase in self-understanding. To his credit, Nick appears to have developed the ability to laugh at himself – and so projects an amusing and light-hearted approach to life which often left the audience in gales of laughter.

Nick James – Photo by Ian Zandi

UNSAVORY FELLOW proves to be a real-life Hollywood memoir which details strange (and sometimes hilarious) events that will keep audience members attentive and intrigued. It may also serve as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls that await many who hope to pursue their dreams of stardom.

Nick James – Photo by Ian Zandi

UNSAVORY FELLOW runs through April 27, 2024, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located on 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are $30. For information and reservations, go online.


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