Writer-director Stephen Legawiec’s beguiling, madcap farce is a breezy collection of gags, dances, and mummery – but the show’s underpinnings are an unexpectedly varied amalgam of comedia d’elle arte, Kabuki-like ritualized movement, and Saturday morning cartoons. The kingdom of Galliandra is without a king. Royal Chancellor Bogezmo (a splendidly blustery John Achorn) consults the nation’s Book of the Elders, and discovers that the only possible candidate for the job is big nosed Fafalo (Jon Monastero), a rascally thief and all around idiot. Fafalo is happy to take the gig, but complications ensue when a diabolical sorcerer (Achorn again) swoops into town, vowing to destroy the kingdom if he is not given a hidden magical treasure. With joyful acrobatics, perfectly timed jokes and gleeful mugging, Legawiec’s production possesses a timeless feel-good silliness. The performers, gaily caparisoned in designer Nyoman Setiawan’s gorgeous masks — all glorious honking hook shnozzes and leering overbites — clown it up with graceful hilarity that belies the precision off Legawiec’s tightly focused blocking, and the intricacy of Li-Ann Lim’s delicate choreography. The stage crackles with ingenuity and creativity, from the scene in which three gigantic puppets, playing the Town Elders, trundle onto the stage to terrify a bug-eyed Fafalo, to the unexpectedly pyrotechnical moment in which the beautiful love interest, Linga (Anna Heinl, who conveys loveliness even through her ginormous-nosed mask) finally solves the puzzle which saves the day.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: March 14. Continues through April 13, 2008

LA Weekly