All In The Timing
Reviewed by Lovell Estell III
Flight Theatre at The Complex
Through October 2
Playfulness and the unexpected inform this sextet of one-acts by David Ives. Not all of them are knee-slapping winners, but Ives’s eccentric humor and witty, nimble use of the word make the show a success.
The ensemble of six does a good job of bringing the mélange of characters to life. In “Sure Thing,” Betty (Amanda Conlon) and Bill (Adam Kreps) meet at a café, and their opening conversation, much like the refrain in a Phillip Glass composition, plays over and over again with different dialogue, until a sweet ending emerges. The same repeating loop is used to perfection in the last play on the bill, “Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” where the exiled revolutionist (Mark Richardson), with an axe protruding from his head, ponders over and relives the last day of his life, along with his wife (Alexandra Ryan) and his unapologetic assassin (Patrick Pizzolorusso).
Chimpanzees turned infamous authors make an appearance in Words, Words, Words wherein Milton (Richardson), Swift (Jason Ryan Lovett) and Kafka (Amanda Conlon), peer out through their cage, while typing out their own version of Hamlet. It’s an intellectual tickler that serves up a lot of laughs, along with bananas and peanuts.
The weakest play on the bill is “The Universal Language,” which casts Pizzolorusso in the role of a teacher of a bizarre new language called,”Unamunda,” with Ryan as an eager student with a stuttering problem. It’s an irritating display of unhinged silliness that goes on way too long.
In “Mere Mortals,” Kreps, Lovett and Richardson don the garb and surly attitudes of construction workers. Eating lunch atop a sky scraper, this seeming bland scenario turns both creepy and mirthful when secrets emerge about their real identities. And in “The Philadelphia,” which is set in a diner in New York City, time and space take a holiday as Lovett, Pizzolorusso and Conlon, in an X-Files-like turn, inexplicably confuse their locale with Philadelphia and Cleveland.
Flight Theatre at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Oct. 2; (323)-465-0383 or www.bucketlisttheatre.com Running time: 1hour and 45 minutes with one intermission.