Backseats & Bathroom Stalls: A Not-So Romantic Comedy of Bad Manners

Backseats & Bathroom Stalls: A Not-So Romantic Comedy of Bad Manners

It used to be said that comedy was about the restoration of the social order. But writer Rob Mersola seems intent on demonstrating that, at ground level, there is no social order. His extravagant farce extracts its laughs from its characters' miseries and sexual misadventures. Both Josie (Sadie Alexandru) and Elaine (Jeni Persons) are driven by self-loathing and murderous sexual competitiveness. Josie is having an affair with priapic film student Harlan (Michael Alperin) who just wants admiration and sexual servicing, and it doesn't much matter from whom. He's also engaging in anonymous erotic encounters with Josie's gay room-mate Calvin (Joshua Bitton). Elaine is engaged to a gay man (Daniel Ponickly) who's in deep denial of his homosexuality, despite his obsessive pursuit of anonymous men's room sex. Stirring the mix is Giuseppe (Anil Kumar), a relentless seducer who utilizes his claim of prophetic powers to win over both women. Mersola is a clever writer, who exploits the tried-and-true farce structure to engineer a funny final scene in which all the characters are brought together to have their lies, deceptions and shenanigans unmasked. A skillful cast meticulously mines the laughs in this crowd-pleasing date show. Lyric Hyperion Theatre Cafe, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; call for schedule; thru March 28. (323) 960-7829 or http://www.plays411.com/backseats. An E. 4th Street Production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 10 p.m. Starts: Feb. 6. Continues through March 28, 2009