In playwright Jonathan Ceniceroz’s torn-between-two-lovers potboiler, a wannabe actor named Carlos (Vince Tula) leaves his mature and ailing partner to set up house with a coquettish young gent from his acting class. The wallowing melodrama commences with Carlos resolutely packing his bags, deaf to the incessant pleas of wheelchair-bound Gil (Art McDermott). We next see him in his new digs, in thrall to the alluring Jeremy (understudy David Padilla), whose clothes he’s possessively concealed in a power play seemingly intended to proscribe his new boyfriend’s coming and goings. Directed by Josh Chambers, the stilted first act unwinds with a rather depthless display of passions, as the financially pressed Carlos struggles to support his increasingly sulky and demanding inamorato. Act 2 improves, however, first because the script acquires some texture, as Jeremy evolves into a narcissistic psychopath, but more so because Padilla — in his debut stage performance — makes the most of the material to establish a beguilingly ominous presence. McDermott is persuasive as the catty but perspicacious invalid. To the playwright’s credit, the drama ultimately detours from a sensationalized denouement into one more sensible and satisfying. Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., downtown; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through Aug. 2. (323) 883-1717. A Company of Angels production.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 17. Continues through Aug. 7, 2009

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