Performer and co-writer Eric Davis shows up onstage wrapped in a kind of red body stocking, only his calves, feet and white-painted face exposed. Red paint around his eyes enhances the demonic glint that will inform his show, co-written with directors Deanna Fleysher and Sue Morrison. Davis' body wrapping is puffed out with balloons, so that with his nimble gestures and delicate strutting, he resembles a slightly psychotic chicken. The show is an extended improvisation with the audience, during which, in one performance, he devoted an entire segment of copiously varied facial expressions to one guy who couldn't stop laughing out loud. Morphing into a cross between Dr. Phil and a dark sorcerer, Davis solicits the audience's life "dreams" before ridiculing them with the philosophy that he only cares about "the power we all have to change but are too fucking afraid." He goaded one forlorn soul to quit his crappy job, there and then, via cellphone. The ambivalent victim stormed out of the theater. Unlike the enthusiastic audience of 20-somethings, I couldn't participate in the hour of theater-therapy games because I don't trust clowns, or relatives, who goad and mock. That said, like Shakespeare's fools, the clown tells the truth with piercing wit, and creates theater that's in the moment and on the ball. Art/Works Theatre, 6567 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon., June 18, 8 p.m, hollywoodfringe.org/projects/919.
First Monday of every month, 8 p.m.; Mon., Sept. 24. Starts: April 2. Continues through Sept. 3, 2012