If it weren't for the plentiful comedy, "House" would be unendurably grim, though there is a shift toward optimism at the end. MacIvor's script veers unpredictably from oddball comic pantomime to straightforward narrative, from wacky expressionism and free-floating surrealism to something very like standup comedy. Smith rings all the changes with unflappable authority, seeming to control the lights and sound with a snap of his fingers. He's never boring, and his lightning shifts of tone and attack keep the audience on its toes, aided by the uncredited lighting design, which adds to the sometimes-disconcerting volatility.
Brian Nitzkin wields his directorial hand lightly, keeping the action brisk and fluid without calling attention to itself. MacIvor's play may not be entirely satisfying, but Rogue Machine's production and Smith's performance are impeccable.
Produced by Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. July 6–Aug. 11. Fri. and Sat., 10 p.m. (855) 585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.com.