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Review: 'Pedestrian' takes walk on comical side of marriage

May 02, 2012|By F. Kathleen Foley
  • Kristyn Chalker, Olga O'Farrell, David Collier, Daniel Ball in "Pedestrian" at Lounge Theatre.
Kristyn Chalker, Olga O'Farrell, David Collier, Daniel Ball in "Pedestrian"… (Neil Kanal )

Rita O'Farrell's “Pedestrian,” now at the Lounge Theatre, initially debuted at the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival.  There's still something palpably “fringey” about the play, which is certainly not of the stick-to-your-ribs school of theater. But, although O'Farrell doesn't quite manage to say anything particularly novel about the state of human relationships, her roughly hour-long play largely succeeds as a comical divertissement.

The plot revolves around Dennis (Daniel Ball) and Sherry (Olga O'Farrell, actually the playwright, who uses a different name when acting), a financially strapped young couple with serious communication issues. A wannabe attorney, Dennis is a video-game obsessed Peter Pan who can't manage to pass the bar. Conversely, Sherry is a fanatically organized law student who wants every corner of her domestic life meticulously ordered.  When Sherry encounters a flasher on the subway, the incident knocks her marriage out of its familiar rut into full-blown crisis mode.

That dynamic – irresponsible guy clashes with obsessively rigid mate – has become a depressingly familiar default in contemporary comedy, and O'Farrell never quite makes us believe that these disparate individuals have ever been a viable couple.

Yet director Marjo-Riikka Makela manages to inject a fair amount of emotional sincerity into O'Farrell's somewhat slapdash motivations. The cast includes Kristyn Chalker as Dennis' eccentric sister, David Collier as her slack-jawed boyfriend, Gary McKee II as the flasher, and hilarious Luis Sosa as Sherry's gay best pal, whose desultory chat-fest with Sherry may not do much to impel the action but nevertheless yields the biggest laughs of the show.

O'Farrell shows serious limitations as a playwright, but as an actor she fares quite well.  Her portrayal of a young wife already sadly inured to disillusionment and compromise is compelling.

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“Pedestrian,” Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.  8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends May 27. $20.  (509) 389-8405. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/237242. Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

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