at the Lost Studio
Four goofy, sitcomish one-acts make up this piece by Malcolm Danare, directed by James Eckhouse. In Carbs, movie producer Sydney (Robin Thomas) is eagerly anticipating a torrid night of champagne-laced sex with his actor-wife, Olivia (Rebecca Klingler), but she's in a rage because of a seemingly disastrous audition earlier in the day. Genes and Chromosomes features Fred (Kyle T. Heffner), a short, bald guy who can't believe that gorgeous blond Amazon Sophie (Shana Sosin) could seriously be attracted to him. Working Out, the most substantial of the plays, centers on a spat between two supposedly straight gym buddies: Gruff, macho Gary (writer Danare) and sad-sack Neil (John Kapelos) indulge in emotionally fraught exchanges that sound very like lovers' quarrels. In Perfect Timing, Paul (Jon Lindstrom) has a first date with ditsy, daffy Faith (Mary Mara), who has an irrational love for four-footed creatures—including an injured rat—and turns out to be packing heat.
The plays are tenuously linked by the fact that they all take place in Los Angeles during a heat wave, and each hinges on references to a Cosmopolitan article improbably titled "Pounding the Pelvis." They are slickly written, directed, and acted, and they seem to be crowd-pleasers, but there's not much substance here, and the last play is too lacking in credibility for even a screwball comedy. It doesn't help that two out of three female characters are relentlessly irrational and annoying. Heffner finds genuine comedy in the woes of the short and bald, and Sosin brings considerable wit and charm to an opaque, underwritten character. Danare deftly suggests a lurking streak of femininity and vanity in a burly man's man, and Kapelos creates a nice sketch of a downtrodden loser who's finally driven to fight back.
Designer Victoria Profitt provides interesting and flexible mix-and-match set pieces, backed by a mural of L.A. at night by Marilyn Vance and Cendra Martel.
Presented by OHYMEE Productions at and in association with the Lost Studio, 130 S. La Brea Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. Jun. 14-Jul. 20. (323) 960-7724. www.plays411.com/inheat.
Reviewed by Neal Weaver