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Theater Review

`The Only Game in Town' Plays With Little Conviction

November 22, 2001|JANA J. MONJI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

AVegas dancer with a heart of gold and a charming musician with a gambling problem find love and laughter in Frank D. Gilroy's "The Only Game in Town." But in this Gregory Bach Production at the Court Theatre, no sparks fly. The flash is supplied by Thomas A. Brown's set design and Jim Moody's lighting.

Lights outline large letters in the background of a comfy apartment. Choreographers Christopher Quiban and Marcel Wilson take advantage of Mandie Taketa's lithe form and authoritative moves. In the preamble, her head snaps on cue. She dresses for a night out.

On this night, Fran (Taketa) meets a musician, Joe (Wayne Brady). She brings him back to her place and they do the horizontal mambo with no real chemistry. It does take two to tango and though Joseph R. McKee (as Fran's married lover) and Taketa do it well, Taketa is less expressive delivering her dialogue. As lovers onstage, she and Brady aren't convincing.

Under Bach's direction, Taketa never finds the tragedy of a woman who loves losers.

The lighting glows a bit too brightly at the end, but not brightly enough to blind one to this production's essential faults.

"The Only Game in Town," Court Theatre, 722 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Ends Dec. 16. $25-$35. (213) 480-3232. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

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