Pity poor Poona (Jordan Savage), a pup who had no friends until a visit from her Fairy God-Phallus (Matthew Garland) thrusts her into puberty, after which she discovers that while the Handsome Prince (Michael Lanahan) loves to visit and play games in her pretty pink box, he really has little interest in her once he's outside the box, as it were. This is the starting point of Jeff Goode's discursive script, which is embellished by a great many more stories. While hewing to the conventions of children's theatre-such as unstable, cartoonlike sets (Carlos Fedos); bright, fun costumes (Brandon Clark, Rebecca Crown, and Lisa-Anne Nicolai); and overscaled performance styles (Adam Bitterman at the helm)-it is not for children.
Moments in the piece are inspired; but on the whole, it's a bit overstuffed and includes too many awkward transitions between scenes for the production to have any sense of flow. It's almost a variety show, punctuated by the repeated opening, which finds Poona a little further down life's trail with each iteration. As the eponymous hound, Savage is a fresh presence, spunky in the face of the unspeakable, and she performs with a crackerjack ensemble. The droll Philip Newby is a master of the pathetic and turns in an unforgettable performance as a dismembered bunny, among other things. Kimberly Atkinson has two delightful turns as electronic items, and the casual indifference of her presence as a computer voice seducing the overachieving tot Suzy-Suzy (a pert and perfect Laura Sperrazza) into video violence and more is brilliantly unsettling. Ruth Silveira plays a lovely and benign God in addition to a knife-wielding storyteller, and Eric Curtis Johnson nabs the title King of Smarm with his portrayal of The Man Who Could Sell Anything. One of the more welcome running jokes is when Brendan Hunt and Andy Corren appear as quirky little aliens that look like ambulatory tea bags. This generally causes distress as, in a wry little observation on language, they consider the word "that" to be offensive while at the same time one of them is named...um, well, gosh, maybe you should just go find out for yourself.
Presented by and at Sacred Fools, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. (Dark May 5-7.) Apr. 13-May 27. (310) 281-8337. www.sacredfools.org.