Hellz Kitchen Ablaze
Tommy Carters hard-hitting drama delves into the sadly familiar terrain of police brutality and corruption. After a drug raid in which a team member was shot and killed, a clique of New York Citys finest rendezvous in an abandoned, graffiti-pocked warehouse, ostensibly to commiserate about their dead partner. Robert Mangiardi, Michael Camacho, Sal Landi, Phil Parolisi, Charles Taylor and Gary Werntz turn in harrowing performances as gritty, streetwise narcotics officers whose psychological and emotional black holes are nothing short of terrifying. It isnt long after the team assembles that the real reason for the party emerges, and we learn that a bond has been made to split nearly $1 million in confiscated drug money, which is to be retrieved by this gang-in-blues only black member, Dash (Tim Starks). Its while waiting for the payoff to arrive that a toxic stew of racism, fear, suspicion, paranoia and undiluted greed start to erode alliances, causing insurmountable conflicts that culminate in crushing betrayals and murder. In addition to chillingly realistic characters, Carters blunt writing and gallows humor propel this 90-minute drama, which, in spite of its dearth of action, is never boring or tedious. And director Barry Sattels and his cast excel in opening up the explosive tension of the plot. Pan Andreas Theatre, 5125 Melrose Ave. L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; through August 15. (213) 712-5021.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 24. Continues through Sept. 26, 2009
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