Kataki, The Narrow World, Stage Door, Exiles 

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Friday, Feb 5 2010

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NAKED IN THE TROPICS Writer/director/producer Odalys Nanin's play (with a few songs by Nanin and Daniel Indart) focuses on lesbian immigration lawyer Alicia (Nanin), who is embarking on a love affair with the beautiful Isis (Natalie Salins). But Isis has a teenage son, Andy (Carlos Moreno Jr.), and Andy is a very busy boy. In addition to impregnating his girlfriend, Linda (Castille Landon), he has also teamed up with Joe (Daniel Rivera), who introduces him to performing seminude (in faintly obscene peekaboo loincloths), gay sex, drugs and drug dealing. When Joe frames Andy to take the fall in a drug arrest, the boy is threatened with deportation to Cuba — though he was born in the U.S. Lawyer Alicia must defend him in court, where her defense hinges on finding the midwife (drag performer Carey Embry, who plays the role as a Kate Hepburn wannabe, complete with accent, mannerisms and the Hepburn quiver) who delivered him, just north of the Mexican border. Nanin's predictable soap-opera script combines countless genres — including lesbian romance, boylesk, after-school special, musical and courtroom drama — to very little purpose, and the author's slack direction doesn't help. The cast strives mightily to score with thinly written characters who are trapped within the lackluster material. Macha Theatre, 1107 Kings Road, W.Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Feb. 21. (323) 960-1057. (Neal Weaver)

THE NARROW WORLD Daniel Damiano's satire features a disgruntled employee named Harrington (Will McFadden) who overthrows his idiot boss (Dan Sykes) and becomes a corporate Ubu Roi — Alfred Jarry's sadistic slob who ran Poland into the ground. With the keys to the kingdom comes a princess — the CEO's lonely daughter (Sigi-Blu Zweiban), whom Harrington marries — and the twist that the CEO (Cody Goulder) has less interest in the bottom line than keeping his daughter's bottom tapped. (He measures Harrington's performance by her happy glow.) McFadden's Harrington rules the show. Cocky, calculating, domineering and dispassionate, he barks his lines like he's conquering Earth (and his hairstyle increasingly resembles that of der Führer). Damiano's script has some funny zingers, but the scenes would pack more punch if chopped in half; Daniel Armas' pared-down production struggles to inject life into a series of long, static conversations. At its cold, ruthless heart, this play about men who talk over other men needs more snap and bloodletting, with a stronger pulse appropriate for a play that ends with an ode to all the tangible pleasures in the world, none of which can be found on a spreadsheet. Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru Feb. 7. (602) 689-7714. (Amy Nicholson)

GO  SIDHE Otherworldly shadows inhabit playwright Ann Noble's intense drama about two fugitives from Ireland and their ravaging effect on others' lives. On the run, smoldering Conall (Patrick Rieger) and his oddly passive companion, Jacquelyn (Jeanne Syquia), rent a dingy room above a Chicago bar from its tight-lipped owner, Louise (Noble). Louise's steadiest customer is her alcoholic brother-in-law, Vernon (the standout Rob Nagle), who remains inconsolable over the shooting death of his philandering wife, Amy, whom he'd worshipped unrequitedly. Bitter and unhappy, both Louise and Vernon are wont to tear at each other fiercely — but their problems pale next to those of Louise's tenants, whose mysterious past hints at savage violence and unspeakable secrets. Just how terrifically unimaginable the latter prove to be is something we don't learn until well into Act 2. Adding a supernaturalistic element to this already densely miasmic plot is Jacquelyn's proclivity for experiencing strange apparitions: namely, the "Sidhe," a mythic tribe of pre-Gaelic fairies with startling powers to affect human — in this case Jacquelyn's — behavior. Full of dark turns, Noble's story is so packed with tension and conflict that at times it's hard to believe only four characters are taking part. Not every twist is credible, even given the play's supernatural standards. And sometimes the heavy Irish brogue makes essential details difficult to grasp. These qualifications notwithstanding, the production is often riveting, under Darin Anthony's direction. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., N.Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 20. (866) 811-4111. (Deborah Klugman)

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTH THEATRE COMPANY - Geography of a Horse Dreamer
  • Geography of a Horse Dreamer

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