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Bach at Leipzig

Risky gamble, trusting a contemporary audience accustomed to being spoon-fed sitcom jokes to engage in an intellectual comedy about classical organists (bor-ing) competing for a prestigious post in Leipzig (where?) in 1722 (snore). Yet playwright Itamar Moses not only does so but also further complicates his play with existential questions, religious sparring, classical-music jargon and references to almost every comedic device ever employed in the history of theater. Oh, and he name-drops Molière (with good reason). Who does this guy think he is?! To be sure, an adjustment period is necessary in director Stephanie Coltrin's production, and the first act drags while that occurs. The punch lines come across as a little cheesy ("What brings you here?" "Stagecoach") until the structure emerges — cleverly, Act 2 opens with the line, "Structure is only clear in retrospect." The fun really begins then, with the cast, namely David Graham and Don Schlossman, hitting their strides and galloping through the devices of a classic farce (kudos to fight choreographer Patrick Vest). The play ends with a nod to the unseen Bach, master of the complex fugue. The production doesn't reach the lofty height of its inspirations, but its aim is good. Little Fish Theatre, 777 Centre St., San Pedro; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Oct. 27. (213) 237-9933, littlefishtheatre.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 7, 7 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 14, 7 p.m. Starts: Sept. 21. Continues through Oct. 27, 2012

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