Leslye Headland's sobering dramedy gives new meaning to the term "dysfunctional relationship." Dorian (Wes Whitehead) is a struggling musician in L.A.'s rock music world on the verge of the "break" that will propel him to stardom. But his self-absorption and personality quirks often put him at odds with bandmates Hank (Brandon Scott) and Shane (Patrick Graves). However, the squabbles with his fellow musicians pale in comparison to the volatile complexities that inform Dorian's relationship with his ex-girlfriend, June (Melissa Stephens). Both are ensnared in a grotesque attraction for each other fueled by lust, gratuitous physical brutality and shared, lacerating pain. When Dorian's Bible-thumping sister, Lydia (Laila Ayad), informs him that his father is dying, Dorian is ultimately forced into a harrowing confrontation with his own demons. First-class performances and Headland's smart direction don't quite compensate for a script that's cleverly written but is often too wordy and static. The characters are compelling and well sketched, yet the playwright doesn't delve perceptively enough into their personalities to make their emotional and psychological fault lines truly convincing. Working Stage Theatre, 1516 N. Gardner St., West Hollywood; Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 22. (323) 630-3016. An Iama Theatre Company production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through Feb. 22, 2009