Directed by Dean Kreyling in a lively revival, Michael Gazzos play centers on the issue of morphine addiction. Johnny (a ghostly Chris Devlin) is a returning Korean War vet who got hooked while hospitalized. (The play is double-cast). Hes been successfully hiding his addiction from his wife Celia (Tania Gonzalez) and from his father (Joseph Cardinale) -- but not from his brother Polo (Gad Erel), whos paid off his dealers before. This time Johnny is in debt $800. His dealers drop by with an ultimatum: Pay the money or wind up in the hospital. Jonesing for his next fix, Johnny takes a gun in search of the money, staying out all night to no avail. When the hoods arrive the next day, Polo agrees to sell his car to cover Johnnys debt. But who will bail Johnny out the next time? The drug dealers are a colorful, menacing crew: Mother (Jeremy Radin), Apples (James Lyons) and Church (Aaron Leddick). Radin engages in some very funny stage business, and while he may steal some scenes, its Erel who nearly walks away with the entire production. This actor exudes chrarisma and raw sexuality. Cardinale puts in a nuanced turn as the vitriolic patriarch. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Aug. 23. www.katselastheatre.org. (310) 358-9936. A Katselas Theatre Company production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 25. Continues through Aug. 23, 2009