The following review of the stage performance of Moonchild appeared in today’s New York Times…
Moon for the Manipulator, Worshipping His Charisma
“I am a giant among men!” L Ron Hubbard proclaims shortly after arriving at the California mansion of his hopped-up crackpot friend Jack Parsons for an extended, Tartuffe-like stay.
Whenever he gets time to himself apart from Jack (Eric Altheide) and Jack’s 16-year-old girlfriend (and sister-in-law), Betty (Abby Wathen), and the widely disliked financial adviser Billy (Andrew Shulman), Ron (Jonathan Cantor) whips a stack of index cards out of his pocket to practice his mantras: “You are courageous,” he chants to himself. “You are charismatic.” Soon enough in this snappy, quasihistorical living-room comedy, Ron has discarded the reminders and is working his manipulative magic on the Los Angeles-casual Satan-worshippers who – in between orgies – predict the dawning of a certain watery age.
Ultimately, “Moonchild,” directed by Alex Lippard, is a smart (and, given the Scientologists’ legal department, brave) farce betraying a real affection for shallow, power-hungry flakes up to no good.