★★☆☆☆ - Still Hungry
Douglas Carter Beane’s comedy “Shows For Days,” now being presented in the Las Vegas Little Theatre Fischer Black Box, plays like a semi-autobiographical treatise. It’s the story of a young gay man discovering theatre—and himself—within that community at a time when society still viewed homosexuality as deviant His plays are always filled with funny, sexual quips; think “The Little Dog Laughed,” or “The Nance.” He seems partial to scripts with scenes that span time and location, as this one does; think “As Bees In Honey Drown,” or “Xanadu.”
It’s not difficult to follow the timeline. The narrator makes it clear where and when the next scene takes place. The production, directed by David Ament, is filled with talent seeming to jump from farce (sans the slamming of doors) to standard comedy. And, it’s the script itself that makes the overall uneven.
Andrew Szuran plays Car, who narrates the whole as an adult and slips into a teenage persona within the scenes. Szuran portrays the adult Car so low key that any sense of immediacy or tension is lost. He pulls off the teenage angst and insecurity.
The problem with the low-energy of Car comes with Trina Colon taking her Irene over the top. Her timing is excellent, her portrayal of a pseudo-jewish maven consistent, her energy never lags. She’s the quintessential star of the stage.
That style of delivery is matched by Gillen Brey as Sid, the lesbian who helps Car understand that life goes on. It is during this scene that Brey proves her acting chops. She makes a nice smooth transition from brash and over the top to soft and caring.
Michael Blair finds a good balance with the role of Damien. He brings a wonderful sense of melancholy to the role when realizing he has to turn away from a life with Car.
Rounding out the cast are Anthiny Gomez as Clive and Meghan Elizabeth as Maria, two young community theatre actos caught in the middle of the chaos.
Near the end of the play, Car the narrator says “all hell broke loose” but it doesn’t flow that way. It’s as if the cast has anticipated what comes next because the wailing, hollering, and gnashing of teeth don’t reach that level. As a result, the transition to, as Irene states “I give you heartbreak,” isn’t complete enough. Colon’s volume drops to the point the dialogue couldn’t be heard in the back row of the tiny venue.
Production values are fine. The set and lights adequately do their job, as do costumes and props. The sound, on the other hand, is wonderful from the background noise in the cafe to the rapid opening and closing of car doors, which were executed with precision.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb 16
Where: Las Vegas Little Theatre-Fischer Black Box, 3920 Schiff drive
Tickets: $20 (702-362-7996; www.lvlt.org)
Producer: Las Vegas Little Theatre; Director: David Ament; Set Design: Chris Davies; Lighting Design: Ginny Adams; Sound Design: Cooper Jones; Costume Design: Rose Magee; Stage Manager: Jim Braun