What might happen if, say, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were stuck in a bomb shelter after a nuclear holocaust and ruminated on the dismal effect of the war on their shopping, partying and self-obsession? Despite an appealing premise, writer-performer Lauren Brown and choreographer-performer Rachel Kolers self-directed avant-garde lambasting of Americas obsession with materialism and Bushs endless war is mostly and sadly vapid and tedious. The docile Lauren and bitchy Rachel, young and dysfunctional socialites sporting garish makeup, hair, and costumes evocative of Darryl Hannah in Blade Runner, engage in elliptical conversation and munch Ritalin and Adderall like peanuts. This is terrible opines Lauren wistfully, longing for life before the conflict, to which Rachel, more comfortable in judging people than helping them, acidly replies terribly boring. So, to alleviate their ennui, they set about to launch a movement to make everything new again. There are engaging touches, like the back screen projection of the happy and sad, the cacophonous music that sets an appropriately unsettling tone, and a charming finale. However, an outside director could have struck a more cordial balance between style and substance and may well have enhanced the duos well-intentioned and potentially enlightening piece. Son of Semele Theater, 3301 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Wed.-Thurs., 8 p.m.; through Nov. 13.
Mon., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Nov. 28-29, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 30, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 27. Continues through Nov. 13, 2008