Kidnapped by Craigslist

Katie Goan and Nitra Gutierrez’s romp of comedy sketches derived from Craigslist postings offers a facile glimpse at our cultural oddities. In New York, it was performed with four actors, but here, with the looser guidelines of the actors’ union, Actors’ Equity, director Lori Evans Taylor has hired 11 comedians for what’s designed as a kind of Victorian carnival with hints of the electronic age. Matt Maenpaa’s opulent set features a velvet red curtain, a precariously dangling chandelier and wooden crates and closets, through which the actors appear and retreat, as though we’re in something between an attic and the backstage area of Barnum and Bailey’s tent. Marina Mouhibian’s gorgeous vaudevillian costumes bring vivid texture to this circus of interpersonal desperation, perversity, fury and embarrassment. One scene is dedicated to an apology by a woman (Shelby Kyle) for passing wind, loudly, during a date and, again, while having sex. Amy Motta is all flash and tinsel as the carny barker guiding us through the network of misunderstandings and missed connections, including her sweetly rendered ballad requesting her new boyfriend to lay off the sodomy, and the faux-indignation of a gay man (Eric Bunton) having to endure in the stifling heat the sight of a teenage man lolling around nude near his bedroom window. These are highlights, but Taylor pushes the jokes too hard, beyond the range of their own humor, revealing the superficial essence of the project, like a less than enthralling episode of Saturday Night Live. Elephant Lab Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. (added perfs Dec. 6 & 13, 10 p.m.; Dec. 18, 8 p.m.); through Dec. 20. (323) 860-8786.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 18, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 22, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 22. Continues through Jan. 24, 2008

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