"Hermetically Sealed" refers to the secret festering at the heart of this layered family drama one that isn't uncovered until near the very end. Startling (at least to me!) at its denouement, Katherine Graf's 90-minute one-act pivots around an overworked pastry chef named Tessie (Gigi Bermingham) and her two teenage sons: the recalcitrant Jimmy (understudy Jonathan Griffin Sterling in the performance I saw), and Conor (Nicholas Podany), a smart, likable kid addicted to video gaming but savvy and sensitive enough to respond when his stressed-out mom signals for help. Their household's already precarious equilibrium upends with the meddlesome intrusion of Tessie's loudmouthed, domineering employer, Dale Jr. (Julia Prud'homme), and her sleazeball husband (Brendan Patrick Connor). Despite some rough edges on opening night, director Joel Polis marshals a vital and accomplished ensemble, adding breadth to dialogue spilling over with chatter about lemon bars and mango tarts. Bermingham's harassed but devoted matriarch is the soul of the play while Podany, most impressive given his youth he's a local high school sophomore delivers a dynamic, in-depth performance. The spot-on Connor plays a creep with humanity. Designer Jeff McLaughlin's splendidly detailed set, replete even with running water, furnishes a faultless framework for this slice of kitchen sink realism. Katselas Theatre Company at the Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; Fri-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru Nov. 20. (702) 582-8587, ktctickets.com.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Oct. 22. Continues through Nov. 20, 2011
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