BWW Review: Witty Banter Doesn't Sustain WICKED PAGAN GAYS

BWW Review: Witty Banter Doesn't Sustain WICKED PAGAN GAYS

WICKED PAGAN GAY/by Jeff Dinnell/directed by Kiff Scholl/Zephyr Theatre/thru March 31, 2018

World premiere of playwright Jeff Dinnell's WICKED PAGAN GAYS showcases Dinnell's clever quips, as well as, his natural acting style portraying the main character Jeff, an atheist. Kiff Scholl ably directs his accommodating cast at a smartly quick clip with punchlines and disses coming fast and furious on such targets as religion, using people and gay culture.

A recent newbie to Los Angeles in search of a writing career, Jeff shares his apartment with trés flamboyant, large crucifix-wearing Tyrell, played with finger-snapping timing by Jordan Michael Green. A chance meeting while running errands, Jeff bumps into an old publishing colleague Greg. Though neither of them have kept in touch over the years, Greg urges Jeff to join forces in some still unknown-to-him BWW Review: Witty Banter Doesn't Sustain WICKED PAGAN GAYSventure, all due to the reoccurrence of the number sequence 1-0-7-2. Nathan Tylutki infuses the pyramid and energy-believing Greg with grand over-dramatic gestures and outbursts.

With differing religious beliefs in the mix; various hook-ups and relationships start up, crash and burn, and intermingle over this two-act black comedy; as what was funny and light turns dark and absurd.

Krista Conti's simply charming as the blunt, un-holistic pyramid-wearing psychic Helene Aurora, who Greg regularly consults. Ian Dick exudes committed passion and sanctimoniousness as Greg's boyfriend Douglas, the religious cult advocate trying to convert, er, influence Greg.

BWW Review: Witty Banter Doesn't Sustain WICKED PAGAN GAYSAs former child star Jonathan Tyler Tyler (love that name!), Eric Allen Smith smoothly underplays this charismatic, newly-out actor on a comeback. Jonathan Tyler Tyler (who just happens to be the object of Jeff's teenage sexual fantasies) enters the hotel bar where Jeff bartends. The flirtation scene between Dinnell's Jeff and Smith's JTT ignites in hot and delightful sensual sparks.

Emily Jerez confidently works the room in her high heels and designer work-out leggings DE-manding attention as Jillian Stark, the successful celebrity fitness trainer with a reality show on E!. Jillian used to be partners with Greg in a fitness book venture before going rogue on her own path to success and leaving Greg to wallow in his string of failures.

BWW Review: Witty Banter Doesn't Sustain WICKED PAGAN GAYSWill Gibson makes his late second act appearance count as Jacob, Jillian's lawyer who inexplicably falls for Greg at first sight while hovering over a comatose patient on a hospital gurney. The nonsensical action that follows makes for an abrupt, rushed wrap-up of maybe what wasn't supposed to be a black comedy???

Scenic designer Pete Hickok makes the most of a small Equity-waiver budget with his very basic combination set of coffee shop/hotel bar/living room/hospital. LED lighting strips adorn the various fake windows with an actual see-through window sadly underused.

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From This Author Gil Kaan

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