Anyone paying attention to the smaller-theater scene this time last year had to be heartened by all the good work going on. A wave of intelligence and energy splashed across town; with such good news, the death of Waiver wouldn't mean much.
A year later, and a wave of the sillies has come down upon us. Even a usually reliable group like L.A. Theatre Unit, which has produced such work as "Andrea's Got Two Boyfriends" and "The White Death," has come up with some silly antics posing as a play, "Tiger Treadwell Takes Tinseltown."
To be sure, Steve Itkin's production at the new but user-unfriendly Ventura Court Theatre certainly doesn't serve John Susman's Hollywood spoof very well. The only way to save Susman's string of ludicrous comic scenes and plot points is to play it over the top--but with style. Itkin's style is like a badly drawn cartoon, with the ham-fisted support of David Andrade's slide projections and Marc I. Rosenthal's lights.
We won't reveal Susman's narrative trick that begins and ends the Tinseltown conquest of Tiger (Karl Wiedergott), but it plays on Edward G. Robinson prison movies and "The Wizard of Oz." Tiger's rapid rise to the top--imagine a rock 'n' roll Sammy Glick, fond of dining at Morton's--involves an agent who plays tennis with his phone headset on (David Wells), an ex-hooker (Laura Summer) and two Arab money men (Daniel Mahar and Charles Dayton).