This slight dance comedy set in a stark, noir cityscape opens with an attempted Grand Theft Auto that evolves into a Keystone Cops kick line as the law chases down and arrests petty criminal Cosimo (Lucius Bryant). In the pen, he hears about a can’t-fail robbery eventually enacted by girlfriend Rosalind (stern bombshell C.J. Merriman) and a gang of broke hustlers — clownish Toto (Alesha Nicole Palmer), slick Basil (Raymond McFarland), bumbling dad Bill (Joseph Beck), malapropism-prone Leon (Juanita Chase) and female boxer Sam (Kelly Grete Ehlert). Aside from an athletic seduction number between McFarland and barefoot ingenue J.M. Beatty, the production never regains the opening number’s clumsy charm. Josephine Schekert’s script is both overcrowded and simplistic, and as the ensemble alternates between yelling, mumbling and overlapping of lines, one wishes the play had scrapped words altogether for an evening of movement. As it is, there’s so little dance that there’s leisure to question whether director-choreographer Jessica Schroeder’s piece is actual thrance, which is defined as theater that expresses character through outsized motion. Synchronized soft-shoe routines for eight are unenlightening (at least they’re not as muddled as one subplot, in which lesbian Sam falls for their mark, Noel Carlon’s male nurse). Throaty standards like “Why Don’t You Do Right?” and “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” are smart selections.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 19. Continues through Aug. 10, 2008

LA Weekly