The gentrification of downtown Los Angeles is a sinister metamorphosis engineered by spoiled hipsters and well-heeled land grabbers in this whodunit parody by the Latino Theatre Company. Greedy real estate developer Ron Dillinger (Fidel Gomez) has plunged to his death from a rooftop near Spring and Sixth Street. The gory details of the maligned millionaire's end are revealed via a series of sketches and songs that create a backdrop against which he was offed. Suspects include a local dressmaker whom Dillinger couldn't buy; a down-and-out entrepreneur whose dreams were crushed when Dillinger cut him out of a deal; a kinky dominatrix; the homeless population; and Dillinger's impregnated, undocumented maid. The immigrants, drug addicts, hot dog vendors and small merchants all have a common enemy in Dillinger, and they despise the homogenous crowd his live/work developments attract. While clues to the murder are slowly gathered, hilarious song-and-dance numbers about "hurricane hipster" keep the social commentary on track. An intensely pathetic gaggle of overconfident dudes practically shoot their wads in anticipation of the downtown Art Walk, at which they intend to soak up the ironic coolness of the grimy area and "get wasted at a dive bar." The local hot dog vendor is hilariously displaced at said Art Walk by a hot dogÐeating performance artist. All of this territorial outrage is executed skillfully by the intensely cohesive ensemble, but the material sometimes meanders. Jasmine Orpilla's original musical score holds things together when the sketches get a little saggy and Francois-Pierre Couture's stylized scenic design strikes the right cartoonish note. Co-directors Aaron Garcia and Fidel Gomez adroitly manage the chaotic fun. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Oct. 8. (866) 811-4111, thelatc.org.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 15. Continues through Oct. 8, 2011