Weekend Theater Reviews
GO FULLY LOADED Paula Killen and Lisa Orkin perform their two-person show “about the serious nature of nothing in particular,” a description that’s both accurate and slightly too self-effacing, given their artfully framed snapshot of people flailing, slightly bewildered and with skeptical determination, through a loneliness that runs rampant in the culture. The show depicts two women in their 30s driving around the city, their moods rising and falling to the tone of the songs they’re punching out on the radio, while discussing the intricacies of sex, broken marriages and frayed romantic relationships. The pair of comedians employs a nonchalant, seemingly improvisatory style that breaks away into sections of audience participation and substories: “My Cancer Moment” is Killen’s ode to her process of dealing with breast cancer, delivered in a tone that’s slightly mocking of the strategically harrowing timbre of Women’s Channel specials. Where Killen wears an expression of perpetual doe-eyed wonder, as though having spent a lifetime trying to fathom the mysteries of romantic attachments and detachments, Orkin comes off as comparatively brazen and nervy, with her husky voice and cavalier attitude. On the night I attended, a male jock in the audience was dragged up on stage for an improvisation called “How to Break Up in Starbucks.” Some imagined relationship was severed by his partner (Killen) without him having to say a word, which is serious and as far from “the nature of nothing in particular” as men are from women. Shira Piven directs. UPRIGHT CITIZENS’ BRIGADE THEATER, 5919 Franklin Ave, Hlywd.; Fri., July 21, 8 p.m.; then various Fridays thru Nov. 24; call for schedule. (323) 908-8702. (Steven Leigh Morris)
GREENSWARD R. Hamilton Wright’s comedy is a variant of The Man in the White Suit genre of economic fable, in which an apparently great scientific invention breeds universal unhappiness. Here, a scientist (Adam Paul) develops a strain of grass that requires virtually no watering or cutting. Wright pokes some broad fun at the political, commercial and environmentalist interests that try to shut down the botanist’s project, but he seems reluctant to flesh out his story’s darker implications. CIRCUS THEATRICALS STUDIO THEATER AT THE HAYWORTH, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; in rep, call for schedule; thru Aug. 12. (323) 960-1054 or www.circustheatricals.com. See Stage feature next week. (Steven Mikulan)
GO I DO! I DO! When newlyweds Michael (Tom Schmid) and Agnes (Julie Dixon Jackson) first climb into bed together, they are both riddled with the anxiety of wedding-night jitters. (Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s musical opened back in 1966.) The two lie side by side in their new four-poster bed with a massive, red “God is Love” pillow stuffed awkwardly between them. Tom Buderwitz’s set, like the newlyweds’ bed, is strictly divided into his side and her side. As the show progresses, however, Michael’s possessions start turning up on Agnes’ side of the formerly immaculate room, signaling the fact that their lives, for better or for worse, have become wholly entwined. We follow the pair through their 50-year marriage, replete with professional successes and failures, the births of their two children and plenty of tiffs and reconciliations. Although off-putting at first, the play’s antiquated approach to sexuality soon becomes as strangely comforting as watching an I Love Lucy marathon. Also, like Lucy and Ricky, the chemistry between Michael and Agnes, both when they bicker and when they make up, is nothing short of magical. Nick DeGruccio is directing this musical in repertory with The Last Five Years (see abbreviated review in Theater listings; full review at laweekly.com), a more modern take on the marriage musical. PASADENA PLAYHOUSE, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; in rep, call for schedule; thru Aug. 6. (626) 356-PLAY. (Stephanie Lysaght)
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