A cross between A Clockwork Orange and the plays of Sarah Kane, British playwright Philip Ridleys controversial drama, set in a dystopian London under siege, follows a group of young men desperate to survive. Elliot (Edward Tournier) and his brother Darren (Andrew Perez) clean up an abandoned apartment to prepare for a party organized by their friend and gang leader Spinx (Greg Beam). They are assisted by Naz (Jason Karasev), a friend who happens to live in the building, and their drag queen friend Lola (Jeff Torres), who arrives with a costume for the Party Piece (Ryan Hodge), a barely-conscious Paki boy who becomes the center of attention. Once Spinx finally arrives, along with the Duchess (Nina Sallinen), final preparations are made for the Party Guest (Kelly Van Kirk), who will be their salvation from this hellhole. But as the party starts, things go awry in a series of twisted, violent events. Like the songs of the British trance band Prodigy, one of which plays during the final scene, the dramas layers slowly unfold, culminating in an apocalyptic climax that is foreshadowed, yet nonetheless blows you away with its brutality and horror. Dados direction brings out the intensity of her actors, who throw themselves headlong into this nightmarish world and reveal their characters to be at once gritty, reprehensible, funny and pitiable. I left the theater disturbed and affected, which, after all, is the point. Imagined Life Theatere, 5615 San Vicente Blvd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; through June 28. (800) 838-3006. A Needtheater production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through June 28, 2009