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BWW Reviews: Promising Premiere of POZ at Island City Stage

It's first time up for POZ at Island City Stage and it's up with a bang. It's funny, it's tender, and it rings with truth.

Written by the witty Michael Aman, directed by the super Micheal Leeds and with a strong cast, POZ is a love story with people we care about. And did I mention it's mostly hilarious? And when it's not hilarious it's merely funny.

So if it's a love story it has to have lovers and this time they're a penniless young actor who's trying to get AIDS so he can get chemotherapy for his leukemia, the rules paying for chemo for AIDS but not cancer, and an older man, newly broken free from a lifetime relationship, who's looking for wild gay sex.

Despite piling joke on joke POZ still manages to bring forth the tenderness of this young/old relationship.

POZ is a two acter with many scenes, each change being heralded by the a capella Swingle Singers, a delight in themselves.

Pierre Tannou is Edison, the appealing young actor and his paramour, played by Larry Buzzeo, is Robert, timidly posting on line for sex. Jessica Peterson is Edison's unwilling mentor, the acerbic aging actress, Catherine. Catherine has her personal ghost, the preening, dead by Aids, ballet dancer, Arthur, played by Christian Vandepas. And speaking of ghosts, who do you think plays the possibly lesbian weird lady who talks to angels? Of course it's Janet Wheatley. And Jeffrey Bruce is the gushingly urbane Oscar who's involved in, well, just everything.

If there's such a thing as farce with a heart, then POZ is it. Michael Aman's story of a young man with cancer would be a two hour depressant in lesser hands but the writer, director and cast have produced an intricate show with complex relationships that despite the need for a little editing here and there is a banging success.

Michael McClain designed the set; the stage, walls, furniture, everything but the cat, is painted sky blue with attendant puffy white clouds. A serene space that adds much to the feeling that everything's going to be...well, I'm sure not telling all.

Excellent lighting, sound, and costuming by Preston Bircher, David Hart and Peter A. Lovello. And Michael Leeds also wrote the music for Mary Todd's song. Hurrah.

See Island City Stage's POZ through November 23 at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale. 954-519-2533 http://www.islandcitystage.org



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