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THEATER REVIEW

'Bedfellows' Plays Revelatory Game of Politics

November 15, 1996|JANA J. MONJI

If the presidential debates, the tons of mudslinging junk mail and the hours of insidiously twisted TV commercials haven't turned you off to politics, or if you relish the sliminess of a well-oiled politician like a 10-year-old appreciates icky green gobs of who-knows-what, then venture into Herman Daniel Farrell III's world of New York politics. Here, power plays make strange "Bedfellows."

Pondering who the real politicos are, Farrell has created a play of sly revelations that is given a skillful, seamless interpretation at the Skylight Theatre.

Vying for a congressional seat vacant because of the incumbent's recent demise, politicians play musical beds to the tune of shaky alliances and vacillating loyalties. The mini-convention is only hinted at offstage and the back-room deals with behind-the-scenes players are Farrell's focal point.

The deceased congressman's wife (Peggy Schoditsch)--who hides an intriguing secret--a Latino (Hector Mercado) and an African American (Brent Jennings) all compete for the support of the local leaders: Dan Kelley (Richard Gant) and Jimmy McCarthy (Bryan Clark). Meanwhile, a veteran reporter (understudy Karl Wiedergott replacing Paul Collins last Saturday) and his young intern (Peter Levine) attempt to discover or create "the truth."

Chris Fields directs with a light hand and his talented cast gives layered, intelligent performances as basically good people caught up in a high-stakes game.

* "Bedfellows," Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 and 7 p.m. Ends Nov. 24. $12.50-$15. (213) 466-1767. Running time: 2 hours.

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