Wasp-waisted Barbie, she of the anatomically impossible contours, is irreverently lampooned in Rebecca Hughes' "Plastica Fantastica" at the Actors' Gang El Centro. (In the play, the pouty protagonist's name is 'B***ie'--the asterisks evidently intended to forestall legal action from M***el).
Let's not ponder too closely the point that, whereas little boys have action figures, little girls have . . . well, Barbie. Whatever your opinion of her, Barbie is as much a social icon as she is a toy, a point that Hughes hammers home repeatedly in her short, surrealistic sendup, the teeny-tiny plot of which is about as big around as its subject's waist.
Despite a cool car, plenty of drugs and the occasional three-way with Kenn (Kirk Ward) and G.I. Joey (Gary Kelley), B***ie (Molly Bryant) is getting fed up with her stiff-limbed life in Aisle 14B of the toy department. She wants to be adopted by a real little girl--not so that she can experience unconditional love, but so she will have more scope for her materialistic appetites.
Michael Sargent's direction emphasizes the outre in this kinky existential parody, a sort of "Velveteen Rabbit" for the nihilist set. The costumes by Ann Closs Farley and Gina Ahn are a riot, but Hughes' lame naughtiness resists Bryant's heroically energetic efforts to spice things up. In the final analysis, Hughes' B***ie is, satirically speaking, shopworn--however you spell her name.
* "Plastica Fantastica," Actors' Gang El Centro, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Ends July 31. $10. (213) 466-1767. Running time: 55 minutes.