The Bird and Mr. Banks
Alternately ghoulish and sweet, playwright Kevin Huff's darkly ironic tale is a pleasingly twisted mix of romance and Grand Guignol horror. After she's dumped by her lover, who also happens to be her louse of a boss (Chet Grissom), corporate secretary Annie (Jenny Kern) tries to kill herself. She receives emotional support from a soft-spoken accountant, Mr. Banks (Sam Anderson), whom the other folks in the office have long considered slightly creepy. After she moves into Mr. Banks' sprawling, dusty house, Annie discovers that the co-workers don't know the half of it. Still attached by a cast-iron Oedipal apron string to parents long since dead, Banks has furnished the home in a dusty style that can charitably be called "Norman Bates Modern." When Annie's boss stops by and subsequently attempts to rape her, Banks pulls out a cudgel, and events take a gruesome turn. Although the plot bogs down during a needlessly long Act-2 road trip, Huff's writing is otherwise smart, edgy and full of vituperative charm. Director Mark St. Amant's comedically tight production punches the weird, Addams Family tone with brio, nicely balancing horror with genuine sympathy for the characters. From his deep, soft, insanity-steeped voice to his shambolic gait and his half-baked "drunk, crazy uncle" stage persona, Anderson's turn as the crazed killer-accountant is utterly compelling. Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru March 21. (866) 811-4111. Road Theater Production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 16. Continues through May 16, 2009
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