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LA Theater Review

The Limitations of Genetic Technology

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The Limitations of Genetic Technology
In the world of Luis Arturo Reyes' new satire, everything seems frighteningly possible: Humans grow tails and a holograph delivers a speech for a CEO whose recent suicide drives the play's action. But the endless possibilities presented in this futuristic world of body-altering magic, techie gadgets, and human gene tampering detract from the richness of simple living. Smart writing and a relevant message meld to pleasing effect.

The play takes technological advances in genetics to task from the get-go. Before the onstage action begins, audiences view cheesy commercials on video screens: advertisements for a company that vows to perfect a customer's physical appearance or his or her belief system. Full of sharp wit and deadpan satire, the preshow is an outstanding vehicle for upping audience energy. But even more fun starts when we meet the people behind all this ballyhooed genetic engineering. There's Haley (Harmony Goodman), an overscheduled marketing maven with an icy touch; and her husband, Joseph (Jeffrey Wylie), who has taken over the company after the suicide of aforementioned CEO York (Kyle Nudo). York's wife, Janna (Sarah Lilly), intends to bring York back to life, while company genius Lips (Bruno Oliver) is hard at work creating a robotic baby to mend the ailing marriage of Joseph and Haley. The actors create employees who are so committed to the creepy conditions of the fictional company that it's hard to pluck a standout performance from the across-the-board solid group.

Reyes takes care in crafting a tale full of show-don't-tell observances on the losses of love and intimacy that occur when humans obsessively seek perfection. Director David Watkins Jr. strikes a pitch-perfect balance between poignancy and hilarity throughout. Projection designer Steven Calcote, sound designer Cricket Myers, and lighting designer Matt Richter contribute to the show's slick, futuristic feel.

Presented by and at Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood.  Nov. 13–Dec. 12. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.  (323) 305-7200 or  www.brownpapertickets.com/event/131828.

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