"Hell hath no fury": Most of us are familiar with Congreve's famous (paraphrased) line regarding a woman scorned. In Kristina Poe's savagely funny and astonishingly perceptive play, distraught heroine Emily (Alexandra Hoover) is on a white-hot rampage. Her husband of 20 years, Jeff (Salvator Xuereb), has left her for a much younger woman, Lexi (Kate Huffman). Woe betide anyone who gets in Emily's gun sights, such as the corpse lying on the filthy bathroom floor beside her at the start of the play. Emily is perplexed by her racy mom's (Melanie Jones) new sexual lease, and intrigued by a seductive stranger (Dominic Rains). As Poe charts Emily's cathartic journey, she milks as much venomous humor as she can from the increasingly extreme situations, such as a twisted episode of group therapy. Her heightened dialogue is spiky and the scenarios are recognizable. David Fofi expertly wrangles his large cast of 11. Joel Daavid and Adam Hunter's set design cunningly transforms from an industrial bathroom to an airport bar with the simple adjustment of a triangular piece of truss. Hoover delivers a pithy performance as the scheming psycho, especially in the play's climax where Emily is confronted by a sobering truth. The writing, tech and performances combine into a hugely entertaining event. Elephant Space Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through Oct. 29. (877) 369-9112, elephanttheatrecompany.com.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 23. Continues through Nov. 5, 2011