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LA Theater Review

Love Scenes

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It's easy to see why David Pumo's solo play, featuring Moe Bertran and directed by Donna Jean Fogel, has been a favorite at theater festivals and was a nominee in the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awards. The script is an above-average entry in the one-person genre, yet the production's strongest asset is the versatile and affecting work of Bertran, who plays six characters in separate vignettes about gay men coping with myriad romantic entanglements.

The monologues emphasize humor, offering gently sardonic views of the gay subculture and the mating game. The resourceful Bertran finds depth in the material wherever he can, allowing moments of melancholy to punctuate the generally lighthearted proceedings. In the first segment, perhaps the thinnest, a Latino man who was in love with a hopeless closet case makes an unexpected appearance at this former beau's wedding to a woman, feeling sorry for the bride-to-be. Among other amusing pieces, a young boxer in a gym is confronted by a theater producer who discovered that his husband is cheating on him with the boxer, and a Brooklyn-accented hustler describes the S&M habits of his kinky john. An insightful segment involves a man attending a meeting of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, who describes his challenges in coming out of the closet.

There are laughs as well as tugs at the heart in the monologue in which Bertran plays a middle-aged man who's surprised to find that his longtime partner wants to shift the terms of their union to an open relationship. The final segment is the most enjoyable. Bertran dons a wedding dress to relate the bittersweet story of a cross-dress diva who has given up on true romance, deciding to tie the knot without it. Touching upon several issues relevant to gay relationships and would-be relationships, Pumo has fashioned an entertaining work that's a strong showcase for Bertran's talent.

Presented by KQ Entertainment and Gato Flaco Productions at the Cavern Club Theater, Casito Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Oct. 2–25. Fri.–Sat., 9 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (323) 960-5771. www.plays411.com/lovescenes.

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