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LA Theater Review


In the brief curtain raiser preceding writer-director Gordon Bressack's debuting sex farce, one actor (Bressack) tells another (Marie Broderick) that what they are presenting is only filler. Halfway through the first act of the play, that description still applies. It takes too long for this slapdash farce to work up a modicum of narrative heft, as a series of stock characters are laboriously introduced, each dropping sitcom-style one-liners. By the time a discernible plot, of sorts, begins to kick in, we realize it was hardly worth the wait. An adept ensemble makes a Herculean effort here, occasionally landing solid zingers, but by and large this comes across as an overtaxed sketch that wants to be a play when it grows up.

The gist is that male model Guy (Shaw Jones) was in a bad car accident and is suffering from amnesia. A group of friends and associates have convened at his Manhattan apartment, hoping to jump-start his memory by recounting their experiences with him. As might be expected, a series of scandals—adultery, family betrayal, homosexual advances, unwanted pregnancy—are among the revelations. But which, if any, are true, and who is that mysterious Mafioso thug (amusingly played by Armen Torosyan), with a weakness for Bette Davis movies, who has shown up to crash the party?

Jones is an effective straight man—in more ways than one—dealing with the motley contingent of eccentrics baring their souls during the goofy truth session. Christopher Le Crenn and Charles M. Howell IV play a mincing gay couple in stereotypical overdrive. As two flames squabbling over Guy, Tara Ciabattoni depicts comic desperation while Mary Kay Riley plays a bitchy ice princess—two unappealing and not particularly funny characters. Jessica Rose dutifully takes the token bimbo role as Guy's duplicitous but dumb sister-in-law. Gerrence George works hard but finds little humor in the blandly written role of Guy's mulatto half-brother. Two surprise appearances toward the end put another zany spin on a show already overridden with contrivances.

Presented by Charles M. Howell IV and Kenneth P. Lombino at the Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Aug. 14–Sept. 20. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (323) 960-7753.

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