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Alternative Acts

Reviewed by Lovell Estell III
Theatre of NOTE
Through September 16

Aside from its pleasantly eccentric quality, one of the more entertaining components of this slate of one-acts is Bill Robens’ Transitions, where cast members skillfully perform an imaginative string of mime tableaus to segue from play to play. All are shrewdly directed by Sabrina Lloyd.

Walter Koenig directs Andrew Tarr’s Out to Breakfast, where diners depicted by Tony DeCarlo and Cliff Weissman flummox a countrified waitress (Alina Phelan) with bizarre food requests. It’s not a knee-slapper and the performances are so-so, but it’s funny enough.

Crisp, thoughtful writing and humor propel Kirsten Vangsness’s Sandwich, directed by Phelan, Vangsness plays Alice, the invisible alter ego of the weak-kneed Natalie (Nicole Gabriella Scipione), who is smitten with George (Keston John), an unappreciative beau.

Yet another display of crafty writing and humor is Tom Cavanaugh’s Mr. Picman, with Alysha Brady as a headstrong daughter trying to explain her job as a penis assessor to her surprised mother (Sarah Lilly). Both performances are excellent under Kathleen O’ Grady’s direction.

Marc Antonio Pritchett directs Brady as a marriage counselor in Tennyson E. Stead’s YouNiverse, where she provides therapy for two patients (Elinor Gunn and Gerard Marzilli) using a highly unconventional method. Funny and startling at first, the “therapeutic” gimmick is slightly overwrought, as are the performances.

Benefits of A Gauntlet, written by Gina Garcia -Sharp and directed by McKerrin Kelly, is a painfully clunky slap at the conundrums of corporate health care wherein we watch six people forced to undergo various harrowing tests. It’s too messy and chaotic to make sense of, let alone enjoy.

Jennifer Hugus’s delightfully goofy The Vladfather returns Marzilli and Gunn as a couple sharing a holiday meal with his family of welcoming and thirsty vampires (Rebecca Light, Kirsten Vangsness, Brad C. Light). Kerr Lordygan directs.


Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles; Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m.; through September 16. (323) 856-8611 or Running time: 1 hour with no intermission.