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Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action

Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action

I have heard many people make fun of the term "immersive theatre" but that is really the best way to describe 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES, now in its Los Angeles premiere at the Actors Company in WeHo, direct from a sold-out run in Chicago. Performed in an empty theater space decorated to look like a singles bar, New York City's trip. brings us the not-so-simple story of boy meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets girl - and all the little things that can ruin a perfectly good dinner party - in a fresh and uniquely theatrical way.

As you relax at cocktail tables with drinks in hand, chatting amicably with others seated near you, a singer in the audience steps onto one of the two platforms in the room to entertain us with a sexy rendition of "It Was Just One of Those Things," which happens to be exactly the type of relationship action we are about to experience around us. The show then begins as actors walk around among the tables as their characters meet and get to know each other, often speaking directly to audience members who are more than welcome to answer back or give an opinion on how their hook-up chances are going. Without the fourth wall to separate the actors from the audience, everyone is the room has a chance to be in the show - so be prepared!

Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES explores the meaning of personal entanglement, focusing on three couples - one gay, one lesbian and one heterosexual - all of whom pair up while mingling around you in the singles bar. The three women are roommates, while two of the men are best friends with one interested in a man carousing in the bar while the other convinces himself he is interested in the only female roommate who identifies herself as straight. With an intimate acting style and environment, trip. seeks to draw the audience into the action, rather than push them away with spectacle or pretension.

Each of the relationships, be it roommate, friends or lovers, has its strong positive and negative aspects brought to light as the characters banter about everything from quantum physics to the Infield Fly Rule, William Shakespeare and Cole Porter as they sashay around the room and each other. No doubt anyone who has hung out and people watched at a singles bar will feel right at home, but this time being able to hear exactly what is being talked about by others on the prowl for someone to take home that night.

"We're so excited to bring this very special show to L.A.," says trip. founder and artistic director Graham Brown, who created 4Play together with Nathan Faudree and Lisa Roth. Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action Brown also directs and appears in the production as a member of the ensemble. In fact, he plays a director in the show in search of his next great play and the right actress to star in it - as well as in his bedroom. One of the three female roommate, conveniently, happens to be an actress in search of her next great role. So when Eve Danzeisen walks in and nails the audition, she immediately gets cast for both parts. And the two actors are cute as they push and pull each other to do their best, both onstage and in the bedroom as Brown bases his new play on their own new relationship.

Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action The actress' roommate, talkative analyzer Zoë Simpson Dean, seems the least grounded of the group. So when the attractively powerful lesbian Ariana Anderson answers her roommate needed ad, you can tell it won't be long until the two wind up in bed together after a night of drinking amid the audience. It's fun to watch them playfully tease each other, with both interested while Anderson briefly displays being rather uncomfortable initiating Dean into her sexual lifestyle. But of course, things work out for them, much to the dismay of Danzeisen who fears a broken heart is in Dean's future.

Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action Adding into the mix of unstable sexiness is Bevin Bru, Danzeisen's wild child little sister who shows up to camp out for awhile and stir up trouble. Bru is a joy to watch as she spins out of control after realizing everyone has a partner except her, thus making her try her best to split someone up in order to hook up with them herself. Or when that doesn't work, pick up someone in the bar as she struts her stuff around, drink in hand. Of all the characters in the play, I bet she will have the best luck hooking up with anyone who pays the slightest attention to her. Unfortunately one night, it happens to be her sister's new boyfriend, setting off sparks between the siblings. Watch what happens when the fur flies!

And what about the men? Brown, the director, is devoted to his best friend, tall and handsome Dustyn Gulledge, who is gay. The two hint at a one-time-only sexual incident between them when they were drunk, Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action but Dustyn is way beyond thinking it was anything to pursue. His new boyfriend, who he meets in the bar of course, is Cameron J. Oro, a handsome man who makes Brown a bit jealous and turns him back to pursuing Danzeisen with new fervor.

As all the couples circle through the audience, both seated and standing, be prepared to answer questions if one asks you for your opinion about his chances with someone else in the bar. Improv seems to be totally encouraged by the actors, and their reactions and responses add even more humor to the intimate show. It's a fun immersive show with possibilities galore!

This delightful romcom blurs the lines between art and life, between gay and straight as New York City's trip. theater ensemble Review: Totally Immersive 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES Surrounds its Audience in Singles Bar Action kicks off its move to L.A. with its hit production of 4PLAY: SEX IN A SERIES, direct from a sold-out run in Chicago. Performances continue on Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 8pm through March 17. All tickets are $25. Actors Company is located at 916 A North Formosa Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Arrive early for the best bar table seats and be sure to read the street parking signs in the neighborhood. For reservations and information, call (800) 838-3006 or go to www.tripnyc.org.

Photos by Peter Carter



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