Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this
By Kathy Carpenter
Photo Credit: Daren Scott
Photo: Pete Zanko - Andrea Acuna - Steve Murdoch in "Nuts" at PowPAC
January 29, 2020 - (Poway) - PowPAC presents "Nuts", written by Tom Topor and Directed by Brent A. Stringfield. Do you love to watch all those courtroom shows we have on television today? For me this was just like watching one of those, but live. Although, Stringfield says those shows don't communicate the truth and honesty of a piece like this. On television we often have some theatrics and flourish by either the defense attorney or the prosecution. With "Nuts", we rely on the acting before us.
“Nuts” is a compelling story of a woman trying to prove she is capable of standing trial for murder. Set in courtroom and in New York City's famed Bellevue Hospital in 1979. Have progressed through time? Not really the same story could be told today in my opinion.
Photo (right): Cast
One element I did not like in the story is: we do not hear the details of the murder. This is solely whether or not the defendant is mentally capable to stand trial. Fascinating, and a story we the audience loved as a drama, but still I would like to have gone there. But that is not what Topor did.
PowPAC actors blew us away in the courtroom. Andrea Acuna (center, right) played the defendant, a character one does not really like but she did a heck of an acting job. My favorite role was David Dartt as Dr. Herbert Rosenthal, the psychiatrist. I've seen roles like this portrayed many times on television; he nailed it. His acting would be a credit to any lawyer show. Steve Murdock, actor about town, plays the prosecutor, a kinder version than most you see. The defense attorney is played by Pete Zanko. He could be your friend from across town, standing up for what he believes to be the truth.
Photo (left): Denise Griffin as Judge Murdoch
Presiding over the hearing admirably is Denise Griffin as Judge Murdoch.Then we have the defendant's parents, played by Dennis Floyd and Linda Snyder, coming from a place of love. Rounding out the cast are Ariel Schilawski, court reporter, and good old Officer Harry, played by Bert Schilawski--a husband and wife team who inspire the trust in the courtroom
A three act play with two intermissions, “Nuts” is recommended for those who love the thrill of right and wrong being played out.
Jan 24 - Feb 23, 2020
PowPAC Theatre
13250 Poway Road
Up Next:
"Murder On The Nile" by Agatha Christie 
Mar 20 - Apr 19, 2020

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.