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THEATER BEAT

'Sweet Hostage' Takes Satire for a Stretch

December 06, 1996|F. KATHLEEN FOLEY

The massage becomes the medium and the message in Michael Sargent's "Sweet Hostage" at the Evidence Room.

A prurient peep behind the scenes of the porn industry, this show could well have been subtitled "Naughty Bits on Parade," featuring as it does a superabundance of simulated sex and graphic nudity. Sargent, who also directs, has neatly typecast the convincingly vapid former porn performer Kathleen Mazzotta (a.k.a. "Leena") as Ivory Snow, a blue movie star extraordinaire who is "on her third set of implants" and counting.

Ivory Snow's drug-fueled revels with her husband/mentor Chuck (Sargent) and his best buddy J.R. (Jason Reed) are rudely interrupted when porn-queen-turned-radical-feminist Linda Loveless (Shannon Holt) barges in with a big gun and an even bigger grudge.

Although initially so over-the-top that it's surrealistically amusing, Sargent's strident, outrageous satire becomes hopelessly confusing in tone, especially after the introduction of such pornography industry issues as psychological coercion, sexual exploitation, drug addiction, disease and rape. A stitched-together mess of misogyny, quasi-feminism and pure voyeurism, "Hostage" proves badly in need of a stylistic airbrushing.

* "Sweet Hostage," Evidence Room, 3542 Hayden Ave., Culver City. Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 and 10 p.m. Ends Dec. 21. $15. (310) 841-2799. Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

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