Krapplethorpe — an unmistakable twist on Mapplethorpe — is a brazen narcissist. Manic when he’s coked up, marginally less so when he isn’t, he’s an outsized provocateur who revels in outraging others with abrasive remarks and abusive behavior. As portrayed by playwright Michael Sargent, the sexually promiscuous Robert interacts with the world — “finguratively” speaking — with a permanently erect and extended middle finger. In this raucous satire, directed and designed by Chris Covics, the people at the receiving end of Robert’s umbrage include his well-heeled lover and patron Sam (Jan Munroe); a gallery owner named Jilly (Kathy Bell Denton), with lots of money to lose if Robert should screw up; his African-American S&M partner, Milton (Kevin Daniels); his assistant, Ed (Dustin David); and his gal pal and former sweetheart, ostensibly modeled after Patti Smith, Ratty Spit (Liz Davies). Only with Ratty does Robert evince the barest trace of genuine love and care. Not for the prim or classical-minded, the production — aptly billed as a “comedy of desperation” — features lots of bare ass and graphic simulation of rough, homoerotic sex. Between and sometimes during scenes, cacophonous music throbs. The ensemble is solid, although the frenetic pace, reverberating noise and the main character’s grating persona create a distraction from appreciating the fragile humanity beneath the clatter. Unknown Theater, 1110 N. Seward St., Hollywood Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; through December 19. (323) 466-7781.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 20. Continues through Jan. 30, 2009

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