PICK GO AS YOU LIKE IT The Independent Shakespeare Company proves it can muster the wit, verve, lightness of touch and cheeky irreverence to make Shakespeares comedy genuinely funny. Two performances define and dominate it: Melissa Chalsmas Rosalind is beautiful, sweet, clever and sometimes zany, finding comedy in unexpected places. In her scenes with her handsome, hunky Orlando (Sean Pritchett) the chemicals sizzle and charm. David Melville transforms the clown Touchstone into a deadpan star turn. Hes already shown us an antic Hamlet, but here hes anarchic, wielding his jesters cap and bells in ways that verge on pornographic. Directors Sanford Robbins and Chalsma provide the fast-paced staging, and the large cast lends admirable support. Andrea Gwynnel Morgans Celia is a fine foil for Rosalind, Hayden Adams is appropriately sinister as evil Oliver, and Freddy Douglas is unexpectedly elegant as melancholy Jacques, while Jennifer Melford and Aisha Kabia score as sluttish Audrey and love-lorn Phebe, respectively. Rachel Ford Pritchetts excellent no-period costumes add exotic touches as needed. Best of all, the show is free but make reservations. And bring a blanket. Independent Shakespeare Company, The Great Lawn of Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; in rep; call for schedule. (818) 710-6306. (Neal Weaver)
NOCTURNE Fifteen years ago I killed my sister is the provocative confession that begins playwright Adam Rapps tale of loss and semiredemption. (This is a solo performance adapted from Rapps multicharacter play.) At 17, an unnamed piano prodigy (Michael Cormier) accidentally ran over his 9-year-old sister in front of their home in suburban Joliet, Illinois. His mom went mad, his dad almost killed him and the son went to New York to escape them and his devastating act. Finding work in a used bookstore, he uses old books as furniture, symbolizing the restructuring of his life through fantasy and his inability to connect with other human beings. Over the years he writes a novel based on the accident, conducts a doomed love affair and is summoned home to his fathers deathbed. Under Rob DeRosas direction, Cormier rushes through the prosaic script with hardly a pause for breath, resulting in numerous flubbed lines. Also blunting the pieces dramatic effect is DeRosas decision to split Rapps one-act into two, disrupting the storys arc and the plays structure. Cormier acquits himself better in the final sequence when he portrays the dying father, a bittersweet moment depicting one mans lonely struggle with mortality. Elephant Performance Lab, 1078 Lillian Way, Hlywd.: Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; thru July 15. (323) 960-7753. (Martín Hernández)
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GO RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS Minnesota playwright Craig Wright, whose autopsy of suburban marriage, Orange Flower Water, was a recent hit at the Victory Theater, presents a gruesome comedy that is by turns angry, absurdist and just plain fun. A blind date arranged for the day after 9/11, a twin sister whos missing in New York and one characters improbable relationship with Joyce Carol Oates are some of the ingredients that make this a wickedly droll evening. THEATER TRIBE, 5267 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru July 22. (866) 811-4111. See next weeks Stage feature for a longer review. (Steven Mikulan)