“It was an angry poop,” exclaims Pamela (Vonessa Martin) to her husband, David (Ramón de Ocampo). She and their 10-year old son, Michael (an adorable Quinton Lopez), wait out the barrage of f-bombs from Gary (Johnny Giacalone), Pamela's drunk brother who is cursing out his wife, Carla (Diarra Kilpatrick), because she threw him out of the house. Pamela and David agree to take in Gary, and in the ensuing intertwined episodes over a period of months (including one unforgettable mac 'n' cheese and marijuana scene between Gary and Michael), we are exposed to the maladies that afflict these characters — from Pamela's hypochondria and Gary's intoxication to David's libidinous yearning and Carla's cocaine cravings. Even Michael's secretly sexual pediatrician, Dr. Brown (Brendan O'Malley), and Carla's donut-downing, Jesus-loving 12-step buddy, Jeannie (Anita Dashiell), can't shake their dis-ease, until Michael, the anchor in this sea of sickness, gets some bad news of his own. The two-character scenes that dominate the piece showcase Erik Patterson's edgy and hilarious play, and Diane Rodriguez's muscular direction energizes its episodic nature, cleverly turning even the transitions into opportunities for storytelling, such as employing an onstage waiting room for offstage characters. Sandra Burns' flexible, minimalist set (with its wonderful robin-egg blue floor), appropriately illuminated by Adam Blumenthal's harsh hospital fluorescence, provides the perfect backdrop for a talented cast that is solid across the board and keeps us laughing amidst the pain. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through May 16. (213) 489-0994, ext. 107, thelatc.org. A Playwright's Arena and Latino Theatre Company Production.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 17. Continues through May 16, 2010

LA Weekly