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Theatre Review: Love Child

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 18, 2010

"Love Child" tells the story of a struggling theater company whose latest production turns into a disaster. The show's better moments are pretty funny -- like this scene in which a ticked-off director lectures an actor backstage about a previous show:

A: "Maggie, we lost our old space at a certain student matinee, when you decided to break the fourth wall…."
B: "There never should have been a student matinee!"
A: "You broke the fourth wall, and you lectured a ninth-grader for three full minutes on the holiness of the theater!"
B: "He was talking!"
A: "Then you hit him on the head with your fan"
B: "His eyes were closed"
A: "He was blind!"
B: "I didn't see the dog!"

That kind of "bang-bang, everybody laughs" exchange is the basic building block for successful summer comedy. The problem with "Love Child" is that things becomes so intricate it's hard to follow what's happening.

David Pierini and Greg Alexander energetically portray 20 diverse characters in overlapping sequence, male and female, stoned and sober. They're staging a musical version of an Ancient Greek tragedy, with family and a big producer in the seats. Got all that?
Pierini and Alexander are continuously flashing from one character to the next, onstage, backstage, even sitting on commodes in the ladies room. They tilt their heads and shift their voices to bring the audience along.

But the element of confusion about who's speaking, and where, sometimes overwhelms the humor. You almost need a scorecard to keep track of everything going on in "Love Child." It's funny, but in this case, simpler would have been better.

"Love Child" plays at the B Street Theatre through July 25th.  
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