In writer-director George Damian's self-described play about eight dancers at a gentlemen's club, the boundary between reality, dreams and theater is as narrow as a G-string. It's an LA curio: the product of a town where actresses work as strippers only to get cast as wanna be actresses working as strippers in a play that features a dozen actual pole dances — during which the audience is encouraged to whoop and throw money. How meta. The plot and acting are functional, perhaps even fun for fans of trainwreck B-movies; here, the dancing reigns supreme. Sets range from awe-inspiring athleticism where the performers do the splits ten feet off the ground upside down and supported by the mere crook of an elbow before drizzling down the pole like honey; to physical comedy, as the newbie or strung out strippers twirl madly in seemingly constant peril of shattering an ankle bound in 6-inch clear stilettos. (The play's sponsors include a waxing company and a shoe store on Hollywood Blvd.) The story comes with a dose of pathos, but it's no victim's lament — just unapologetic titillation dotted with stripper trivia and wisdom where the happy-enough ending is the once-innocent Midwest ingenue whirling with whiplash speed around the pole with a smile. The Hayworth Studio Upstairs, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; through Feb. 21. (323) 960-7784.

Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 30. Continues through Feb. 21, 2009

LA Weekly