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EDITOR: Andrea Kirk
Michele Hunter
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Matt Share
Josh Herz

By Mike Buzzelli


With Half of Plenty, Bingo with the Indians, Stop Kiss and Treefall, Rogue Machine is having a spectacular season. Their newest production, Shorts and Sweets, doesn’t quite match the genius level of some of their other works (See Stop Kiss and Treefall), but the four short one act plays in Shorts and Sweets is a heck of a good time.

They are little amuse bouche plays, just a morsel but very pleasant.

Two New York actors compete for money, love and decent roles in Keeping Pace by Robin Rothstein. It’s a quick no-frills bit of fluff superbly performed by actors, John Pollono and Rob Dodd. It’s a bittersweet chocolate cupcake of fun.

Weedwhacker Tuesday by Amanda Mauer is a about a young woman, Julie (Jen Riley) going through a series of unfortunate events that would make Lemony Snicket lose his lunch. Riley is a sitcom waiting to happen. She handles the unusual events with aplomb. The one act is light and airy Angel’s Food cake.

After intermission, a marvelous chance to sample sweet delights Sugar and Vice Bakery, things get better. Maybe it’s the sugar rush.

Free by Craig Pospisil is about all the stuff that weighs us down. It’s a cute three-hander with terrific actors, another Mauer, David this time, Jenny D. Martin and David Paluck. Mauer is fantastic, and Martin and Paluck match him. It’s easy to sympathize with these strangers on the A train. Paluck’s plays a rage-aholic, who is a convincing, hilarious and sad-when-you-really-think-about-it everyman. He is strong, confident and full of machismo.

Tucker Smallwood deftly directed this naughty slice of devil’s food cake.

The tastiest of the four plays is John Pollono’s I Hate LA. It is a delightful rant about all the crazies in the weird but wonderful Los Angeles.

Velvet is the new Ivy. Paparazzi stand guard and wait for the famous and infamous to enter. A beleaguered server, Reggie (Ron Bottitta), is harassed by his nemesis, the Maitre D, Dominic (Cameron Jappe), on Valentine’s Day, the busiest day of the year in the restaurant business.

A bewildered Jeff (Michael McBride) takes his wild L.A. woman, Sasha (Becky Wu) to the auspicious eatery. Superstar director Kent (David Paluck) and his date, Monica (Kate Hollinshead) avoid the hoi polloi to dine at the same hoity toity bistro.

When Reggie spouts off, longtime Angelinos will want to stand up and cheer. Bottitta anger is laugh out loud funny. Pollono even pops the piece with a surprise punch line. It’s a tart lemon meringue pie in the face.

If heavy drama fills you up, pop in to the theatre for the late night delights of Shorts and Sweets.

--Mike Buzzelli
Image courtesy of Rogue Machine

(Shorts and Sweets runs Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 pm ($15) at Theatre Theater on 5041 Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019).

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