My overall impression
Multiple personality disorder, attempted suicide, sex reassignment surgery, incest, and abundant cleavage are just about the last things you’ll ever see at Hollywood’s Christian-based Actors Co-op, which is just one reason to catch the outrageously R-rated ‘Dentity Crisis at this year’s Hollywood Fringe, Christopher Durang’s 1978 one-act just happening to star a quartet of Co-op vets set free from the shackles of the duly-esteemed (but even at its most risqué never more than PG-13) troupe.
‘Dentity Crisis stars gorgeous Co-opper Selah Victor as curvy housewife Edith Fromage, self-proclaimed “inventor of cheese” and mother to sullen suicide-surviving teenaged daughter Jane (Harley McFarland), who’s understandably confused by Mom’s passionate lip-locks with Jane’s equally adolescent-appearing brother Robert (Nicholas Podany).
Then again, since Robert keeps morphing United States Of Tara-style from brother to father to grandfather to the très français Count de Rochelay, it’s no wonder Jane’s been seeing therapist Mr. Summers (Townsend Coleman pre-sex-change and Deborah Marlowe post).
Oh and there’s the pesky matter of Jane’s recurring childhood recollections of a Peter Pan production gone horribly wrong. (“And then the crocodile that chases Captain Hook … fell off the stage, crushing several children in the front row.”) Ouch!
Playwright Durang’s recent return to Broadway with the Best Play Tony-winning Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike makes this 30-minute excursion into early (and considerably wilder/crazier) Durang-land a particularly tasty treat (with co-producer/star Victor’s home-baked banana bread a yummy added delight).
Co-producer Alexa-Sascha Lewin’s fabulously frenetic direction, sparkling performances by Victor, Coleman, and Marlowe, a deliciously deadpan turn by McFarland (of Fox TV’s Lie To Me), and above all the brilliant young Podany’s marvelously manic tour-de-force as Robert et all add up to a half-hour of madcap mayhem you’ll never see at Hollywood Presbyterian.
Scenic, costume, and lighting designs further elevate ‘Dentity Crisis from standard Fringe fare. Rita Cannon is stage manager.
Though ‘Denity Crisis’s Actors Co-op connection may well be “entirely coincidental,” I’m keeping fingers crossed for future Hollywood Fringe fabulousness from what I’ll henceforth dub “Co-op: Ooh La La!”