A love quadrangle among a ballerina, two fools and their evil boss, the Magician, lies at the heart of playwright Robert Riemer's twisted revisiting of the Stravinsky ballet Petrushka. With themes like manipulation and doubling, the play shares much with the original, and direct references to the Russian ballet abound, from props to set design to its meta-underpinnings. But the play's most stylish riff emerges in the way director Zombie Joe choreographs the proceedings as one demented pas de deux after another. It's a challenging approach, which his small cast matches note for note. Rehyan Rivera's Magician stalks the stage with the right edge of unhinged menace, and Natalie Hyde puts the broken-toy physicality of her deceptively fragile Ballerina to disconcerting use. The story really belongs to the two fools, however, as Ricky Lacorte's dim Large Fool embodies the dark, absurdist soul of the play, while Donna Noelle Ibale brings an existential flavor to the comedic terror of her vaudevillian Small Fool. Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; through Nov. 3. (818) 202-4120, zombiejoes.homestead.com.
Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 6. Continues through Nov. 3, 2012