Cloud 9

The world is a far different place from 1979, when playwright Caryl Churchill's postmodernist blast at frustrated sexual desire and Western colonialism premiered. But if the play's satirical, gender-switched mash-up of Victorian colonial repression with modern sexual mores no longer carries quite the transgressive bite of former years, it has lost none of its comic or political teeth. Act 1 takes the form of a classic bedroom farce with a circa-1880s family in British colonial Africa hypocritically violating every sacred marital vow and sexual taboo under the old Empire's sun. Act 2 shifts from Pythonesque satire to British neorealism, ages the family 25 years and transports them to a more liberated 1980s London, where they are finally free to pursue their happiness. Director Carly D. Weckstein's accomplished revival forgoes the niceties of a full production design — period and setting are left to Samantha Kellie's capable and colorful costumes — while her pitch-perfect ensemble (led by Thaddeus Shafer's hilarious Victorian patriarch Clive, and Jaymie Bellous and a dazzling Katelyn Myer taking turns as Clive's clueless wife, Betty) delivers both the play's riotous burlesque and its potent poignancy with equal aplomb. Illyrian Players at the Flight Theater/The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.- Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Aug. 5. (323) 465-0383,
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 20. Continues through Aug. 5, 2012

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