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Wonder of the World

Contemporary American farce has a hero in playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, who skews old-fashioned 2-D absurdity by surreptitiously adding depth to initially shallow characters. Elizabeth Bond’s brilliant, comi-tragic performance embodies Cass — a wife who suddenly leaves her 7-year marriage after discovering a grotesque secret about her otherwise dull husband, Kip (Ian Vogt). She follows her list of adventures she wants to experience, which takes her to Niagra Falls, and a cast of oddballs, who slowly turn into a strange new family. Chief among these is Lois (Kimberly Van Luin) a drunken divorcée determined to end her life by riding a barrel over the falls. Director Neil Wilson skillfully attends to each new piece of foolishness, sustaining the intensity of performances even as the comedy cuts through. Of special interest is Jen Ray, who plays several absurd caricatures with conviction. Act 1 produces some of the most honest laughs this reviewer has experienced in years. The second act doesn’t quite live up to the hilarity and emotional charge promised by the first, but at least it offers a satisfying conclusion — and an obligatory adventure scene. The script demands several distinct settings, and designer Damon Fortier provides them with skill and wit. Victory Theatre Center, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; through November 15. (818) 841-5422, SeaGlasstheatre.org. A SeaGlass Theatre Company production.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Sept. 26. Continues through Nov. 15, 2009


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